Sunday, December 17, 2006

Goodwill to all

The other day I was reading the office weekly e-zine (yes, I obviously was bored), and came across a letter from some poor sad soul, bemoaning the onset of the Christmas season. He whined on about how awful it all is, having to endure time with relatives you don't even like, spend outrageous amounts of cash on gifts for said unpleasant relatives, eating too much and misery, doom, blah-de-blah-blah.

I read this letter and my first thought was: "how sad". Honestly, who thinks like that? And then I thought about the grim faces on shoppers everywhere this week, the car park road-rage I keep witnessing, and I started to wonder whether I'm the know, loving the decorating, the gift-buying, the food and yes, even my family. I can't ever remember dreading Christmas, it's always all happy-happy, joy-joy for me, notwithstanding the odd present that made me go what the hell were they THINKING?!

Luckily my family have always made a big deal of celebrating the season - when I was a kid, our home was always open to anyone who needed somewhere to go. There were always various relatives, the occasional friend, and Dad often brought home some guy from work who had no family in Melbourne, to share in our celebrations. Mum always made sure there was something wrapped up under the tree for any 'extras' that arrived and there was always more than enough food to go around. Lunch was a big family celebration, and at dinner time many of our friends and neighbours would arrive to swell the numbers. We kids loved it, there was always a knee to sit on, cousins to play with, great food and lots of fun.

The day has never lost that appeal for me, and I've always aimed to make it just as special for my kids as it was for me.

So....the 28 for lunch...that's mostly my sisters, their partners and offspring, but also Bike Boy's sister and her family, my mother (who will arrive with a car boot full of gifts and enough prawns to feed a small army battalion), and my elder sister's stepchildren with partners and their kids. All up, I think there will be 12 kids - although the eldest two, being 19, don't really count. The rest range in age from 3 to 16.

I can guarantee there will be lots of noise, plenty of laughter and more food and drink than you can poke a stick at. The kids will be hopping from one foot to the other with excitement, waiting for the official handing out of the presents, which will only take place once everyone arrives. Someone will cry, someone's gift will break the minute they open it, someone will get really, really drunk (hopefully, not me!) most of the adults will eat too much and at least two of the men will take a traditional post-Christmas-lunch nap.

It will be total chaos, far from perfect, and it will be wonderful. I can't wait!


Jadey said...

The cousins are married off now and are going to their respoective partners families homes this year for Christmas. This is one of the VERY FEW times in my LIFE our family (extended) hasn't done anything together for Christmas. I am cut to shreds!

It doesn't feel like Christmas to me if the whole family isn't together celebrating Christmas and enjoying each others company, which only happens that one time a year bar any weddings or God Forbid funerals.

I'm with you - although the crowds do get annoying when you have a crowd phobia.

Debstar said...

I'm a little jealous, I wish I could see Xmas the way you do. When I grew up it was just mum,dad & us 3 girls. My parents families lived interstate & o'seas. My husbands family have huge Xmas days & it freaks me out. Everything you said in the last paragraph happens at their gatherings and it gets overwhelming for me, and
I'm having Xmas at my place this year.
My kids love it so I will not complain

And I would add that you are not alone when it comes to colour co-ordinated Xmas trees. Mine is green,red & gold and most of the presents are red & gold in a room that is of almost the same colours.

Anonymous said...

We are excited too about the near comming Christmas but so sad that commerialism (is that a word) is taking the meaning over, same here shops are croooowded! People ar pushy and rude!
Whow, 28 people for Christmas, crickey woman ... that sounds great LOL
My mum was the baby of 12 kids so I grew up that way, big Chrissie on the farm and we washed it all off in the farm dam after wards.
btw: I looove the tree and pressie colour scheme, all nice!

SeLiNa said...

Can I come?!?!

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