We didn’t have Christmas when we were kids, I think my first Christmas was with a friend and her family in Yuna (like Ajana but slightly bigger) when I was about 17. It took a while for me to get into the Christmas spirit, other than it meaning anything other than a really MASSIVE night on Christmas Eve at the local night club where you’d bump into all kinds of people you knew from school or childhood, back in town for Christmas celebrations.
When I had my biggest girl, I started to realise that perhaps there was more to Christmas than I had given it credit for, but even then we hadn’t started to carve out our own family rituals. She always seemed surprised to get so many gifts all at once, and she couldn’t understand the fuss. Back then I think I just thought it was a lot of fuss – too many presents, too much food, too much tension when people got together and drank, too much driving about trying to fit everyone in, too much feeling like I was missing some Christmas spirit.
In fact, it probably took me until the last few years to put aside the pressure I had perceived about Christmas and to really appreciate the bits about Christmas that I love – the rituals (the tree, the lights, the green, red and white) the excitement, the opportunity to buy really cool things for the people you love, the kids faces when they see the presents under the tree, the festivity of December, the spirit of giving, the sense of community, baking yummy things, creating unique family rituals.
Because of our shared care of the children this year is our year to have no kids on Christmas Day (except my biggest girl, who actually is moving past the kid definition really fast!), so we’re having Christmas on the 27th. In the end, the date was trumped by the day, and all the other things that are precious. We are not a religious family, so we don’t celebrate it as Jesus’ birthday, but there are some things that are treasured, in the religion that defines our family.
- Waking up altogether
- The stockings are full of all things useful and decadent (knickers, socks, hair lackies, earrings, lip gloss, chocolate, candy canes)
- Presents under the tree and a communal unwrapping
- Yummy breakfast, yummy lunch, left over dinner and homemade ice-cream sundaes for dessert (with too much topping, sprinkles, ice magic, choc chips, nuts and ice-cream, so they all feel a bit sick and don’t eat it all once it starts melting!)
- Swimming in the pool/beach (depending on location)
- Cool drink (that one’s for you Dem!)
- Lying about on the couch, mattress, lilo in the pool. Just generally lying about.
- Games that involve new toys, and all the usual characters.
And when you put all that into something simpler?
Christmas is being together, having fun, feeling special, making memories and being a part of a day with your family – when your family (in whatever definition and combination) is the most precious thread that joins you together (and makes you whole)
May your heart be full and your Christmas magical and not a lot of fuss.