I guess I am a Christmas kind of person

Well, I've wrapped all the presents. The family presents are under the tree in a tottery pile and another pillowcase of gifts from the fat man is lurking in my wardrobe. Tomorrow night we're having Christmas eve drinks here. This was initially an idea of Gerard's after I said no to having Christmas lunch at our place (kitchen too small to eat and prepare food in plus only one day off work before Christmas day equals recipe for me being a stresshead) and then he abandoned it, thinking no one would be interested. But somehow we invited one set of neighbours and then another. So it's starting to look like a party after all. No cooking though, just nibbles and drinks. And crazy, excited children.
Last weekend, I had a conversation with a friend about Christmas and they're not doing Christmas this year, not even in an alternative way.Although I can see her point of view and it's such a personal thing that I wouldn't even dream of trying to convince her to change her mind, I'm surprised at how confronting I found the whole idea of opting out of Christmas altogether. It's been running through my mind all week at work, superimposed with the photos here. (Christmas 1972, I would have been eight. We lived in Ringwood in a street that I'm not sure exists anymore. I love that photo of Betty and me under the tree in our new nighties. And how cool was my mum?).  Of course like many people, I skipped a couple of years as a young adult but now that I'm a parent, I find myself wanting to recreate the Christmases that I had as a child. Christmases that I loved and found terribly exciting and now I'm getting to relive that. We were very lucky to have parents that made Christmas fun without being too overwhelming and there was always a big (in my child's mind) pile of presents that we would rip into. Some were practical things like towels and nighties or new dresses made by my mum. I loved those new dresses and there are many photos of Christmases past where Betty and I are wearing our new dresses.  
Then there were the big Christmas lunches. With the sense of ritual and dare I say, obligation. Perhaps also a side serve of tension at times. Especially as we got older and definitely around the time my parents separated. There was one truly awful Christmas that year and I think I refused to see them together for a few years, but it's all good now. I loved those lunches as a child and I still do now. Especially towards the end when the presents have all been handed out and I relax into it all. And this year I've enjoyed the preparation more than I have for the last couple of years. I'm less tense, more settled into this house. And yeah, I'm starting to accept/understand my role in this family as far as Christmas goes. Sometimes I think we get too worried that we'll overdo it, but I think that hasn't happened so far. In fact I'm quite looking forward to being there when Grace opens her presents and having lunch at Mum's. Tomorrow I just have some food shopping and prep to do and then it's relaxo all the way. Yay.
So anyway, that's me for a couple of days. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who read here! See you on the other side.


Frogdancer said...

Whoa! That second photo could almost be my family. I had a quick mind spin back to the 70'S for a second!
Merry Christmas!

Bird Bath said...

You've summed it up so well! I find my Christmas mojo can vary from year to year but the sense of creating something special for the children always drives us forward.
Have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

kate said...

I decided to opt out of New Years Eve once when I was younger, probably about 22. For some reason various people found it incredibly confronting that I planned to drink a couple of beers and watch videos at home alone. They all rang me up at midnight, worried that maybe I was horribly depressed. I was fine and having a lovely time, and was proud of myself for having the night I was in the mood for rather than going with the crowd. Of course, now we all have kids none of us do anything much for New Year, although my kid sleeps so badly we may as well plan on staying up.
Have a lovely day Janet.

no blog norma said...

A blast from the past ,the 2nd photo,only we wore the scary paper hats from the bonbons! Mery Ho Ho Ho to you and hope all your celebrations go just great for you.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I love the matching bunches . And the Christmas lunch photo is perfect .
I've only had one slightly alternative Christmas , in a tent , somewhere between Coff's Harbour and Surfer's and treasure the memory , bacon sandwiches and all .
But being at home with family and a rapidly-vanishing turkey is perfect now .
A Merry Christmas to you all and a prosperous and happy New Year !!

h&b said...

Merry Christmas Janet :)

mim said...

have a lovely Christmas x x x

suse said...

Hope it was a lovely day!
Is that your mum in the red dress and The Beautiful Hairdo? Wow.

Bianca said...

(belated) Merry Christmas!