Monday, 24 December 2007
Our Kind Of Christmas
I'm not a Christmassy sort of person. The whole fuss just leaves me disgusted, especially when Christmas stuff appears in stores in September.
A colleague asked, well, what DO you do for Christmas? Do you celebrate it at all?
Given a choice, I would just lie on a beach somewhere and ignore the whole thing.
But, yes, my extended family does have a get-together. My mum lives near Hobart, so every year we have to travel (I hate that). For a couple of years, I rebelled, and we travelled, but in an opposite direction! Once overseas, and the next year interstate.
I don't think we've been forgiven yet.
We have a buffet Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, my mum being European; it's their tradition. Each family group brings food - my sis makes to-die-for pavlovas, my sis-in-law makes pate and curried eggs and brings fresh raspberries, we bring the ham and chickens, and mum makes a lovely trifle. The ham is served both hot and cold, some of it being baked and some carved off before.
There's also salads, potato salad, pasta salad, lots of gourmet cheeses, several kinds of salami, smoked oysters, strawberries, asparagus, avocado, cherries, and more, much more!
There's wine and beer, and champagne, and Baileys Irish Cream.
It's certainly not the traditional turkey-and-plum-pudding kind of Christmas dinner, but we like it, and it works for us.
There's always heaps of left-overs, and it's become a favourite tradition (vice???) for me to have trifle for breakfast on Christmas morning.
We usually exchange gifts before dessert.
Some time ago I let it be known that I didn't really want any more "stuff". That's been ignored, of course. I must confess to not really minding the gift vouchers.
And for my part, I have instigated something a bit different for the gifts I give. I have set up a book lucky-dip. During the year, I buy up books when I see them, in trade paperback size. My family has similar enough tastes that this usually works quite well. It's a mix of SF/fantasy, detective and crime, thrillers, historical, humerous (eg Jasper fford) and so on. They are all wrapped the same and each person gets to pick one.
The rules are:
if they don't like the book, they can see if someone else wishes to swap. It must be mutual - no coersion! (it's quite amusing to watch how "persuasive" some family members can be!)
if they can't find anyone willing to swap, they can do ONE swap with the spares in the kitty (there's always several spares). They then have to accept the swapped book. No second swaps with the kitty.
The spares have also proved useful for unexpected brought-along guests, who also get a turn.
It's gone down very well each year - everyone seems to really enjoy it!
But surprisingly, the person I thought would be most flexible, my brother-in-law, is the one who has done the most swaps, and the one who I thought would be fussiest, my sis-in-law, has said "It's not what I would ever have picked off a shelf to read, but I'll give it a go." That's the spirit!
After gift-giving, we have dessert and play a game like Scattergories or Pictionary or similar. This is usually a riot! The kids are now all over 21, and we just have a ball.
Christmas Day is usually spent with the other branches of our respective families.
So, not your traditional or conventional Christmas, but it's ours.
I hope yours is everything you hope it will be.