Christmas 2009 was a fresh and different Christmas for us. We live 1-2 hours away from our extended families and so usually we drive up and spend a few days with them. The thought of driving with the children, and having such long days where the children would be unable to have their sleeps (on top of all the excitement) just wasn’t appealing to us this year so we stayed put and instead family came to see us.
It was a very ‘non-traditional’ Christmas gathering! Not a Christmas cracker or a paper hat in sight! We gathered very early (7am) at a new lagoon recently made on the Broadwater at the Gold Coast, under some shady trees … and apart from one rogue (and very determined) rain cloud the weather was just perfect. We spread out our picnic blankets, made a circle of chairs, broke out the portable bbqs and cooked up oat cakes (with cream cheese, blueberries and maple syrup), sausages, and fruit salad. Cups of tea and juice. No mess, no fuss, good company. The water was amazing. It was so relaxing.
And then home in time for a midday snooze, late lunch and leisurely opening of gifts in the afternoon. How nice just to take one gift at a time and enjoy that one for a while before reaching for the next. It did seem to be an endless parade of gifts towards the end, and just when we thought we were done, there was always another one under the tree, or under a pile of paper.
I did try very hard this year to handmade my gifts, and to not use wrapping paper. Instead I wrapped our gifts in decorative boxes, handmade bags or tea towels, tied up with real ribbons. The plus to this is that these christmas bags can be kept to wrap new gifts in next time, and no wrapping paper need be used at all. I hate the rubbish that accumulates at christmas, between the wrapping and the packaging that comes with most gifts.
Although we had gathered early at the beach, our morning DID start much earlier than that. At 10 minutes to 5 actually when a sleepy little boy came in and said “Father Christmas didn’t come!”. I told him to check the end of his bed and see if his stocking was full. A shout of delight told me he’d found it. He came in to our room several times, showing us one gift at time and when his stocking was empty he said , “I don’t need any more presents.”
If I had been fully awake I would have squeezed and kissed him all over upon hearing that.
Of course there were lots more wonderful gifts waiting to be opened: puzzles, clothes, books, handmade treasures, lego, lego, lego, lego ….Kaelan has graduated from Duplo at last! And what a treat to see the gifts lovingly hand made are acutally appreciated: Kaelan has worn his ‘work’ shirt with interchangeable badges (police, ambulance, fire, pirate) for three days and two nights now, and Rosella has been happily wheeling her little bubba doll around in her new stroller and sleeping in the crib that Grandad and Grandma made together.
And of course there was the family Rum Ball competition … well .. after all that we didn’t get our entries in so we were not even really in the running for the competition, but all other entries were consumed with due respect and appreciation and marks given on the family website.
And so now there is nothing left to do except sit back, read the book I received for christmas … and keep eating that ham until it is gone!