This year was the first year that I said no to the crazy antics and whims of my family, and announced that I was staying at home. I am sick of house hopping, eating too much and then moving onto yet another venue where you give more pressies (at which time you are usually over it!) and then proceed to eat more. So, after much stress I (tearfully and very forcefully) announced that my priority was my family, and that we were staying at home.
It was more difficult to do than I had imagined, because everyone has different ideas in their head about what the perfect Christmas entails. Some people want a big cooked lunch, with roast chicken, gravy, warm sides, pudding and ice cream, followed by eggnog and carols. Some people want to drink themselves into a stupor and lay about in the pool all day with friends. Some people want to give gifts to every single person they know, from the postman to the guy that serves them in the tool shop. And some people just want a quiet, intimate day, uninterrupted by normal routines to reconnect and celebrate the bonds they share. You don't get three guesses to guess which one was mine.
People have such vivid and emotional connections to their own memories of Christmas that when things get in the way of the realisation of that vision, things can get ugly. People can become so wrapped up in what think should happen that they can forget the true spirit of the Christmas season.
Whatever your religious or spiritual convictions, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the Christian God. Whilst it doesn't always seem like it, especially when you are down to your last $50 and you still have 3 pressies and bonbons to buy, the holiday period is a celebration of hope. Hope that we can live in a better world. Hope that people can put aside their differences and love one another. Hope that the simple act of giving can remind someone that they are special, and loved and needed. Hope that this life doesn't amount to nothing when we are gone. Hope that one day we can agree to be different, and be okay with that.
At least that is what I believe, and what I celebrate every year.
So we had breakfast and lunch at our house. The girls woke up on Christmas morning and crawled into our bed, still not really understanding how this day was different to any other. Nanny and Granddad slept over, as well as Uncle Pear, and we were joined by Poppy to open presents. Breakfast was a full cooked English breakfast, lunch was cold meat and salad. After lunch, Ava headed off to her other home to enjoy the second half of Christmas with her Daddy, Auntie Toad who flew all the way from Los Angeles to be with her family and see her niece, Nanny and Pop. In hindsight, there couldn't have been a sweeter day; It was perfect.
|Ava and Poppy on Christmas Day|