Christmas morning is greeted with eagerness and a dancing heart. Especially that of my youngest!
Although now in her early 20’s, my daughter reminds me so much of me. She finds joy in the simple thing of seeing smiles on the faces of those around her. Her enthusiasm to have everyone get up early, sit around the fireplace (that is not lit because it is Summertime here) and share gifts, hugs, smiles and love is exactly what I'm like on Christmas Day!
Ever since I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait to get everyone up and let the fun begin! So much so that I had my parents, brothers and sisters up in the middle of the night on more than one occasion!
Anyway, Christmas Day in recent years usually begins with my daughter coming in to my bedroom and, just like a little kid, she jumps up and down on my bed and, with the biggest smile on her face, yells something like, “It’s Christmas! Time to get up!!!”
Knowing how she feels, I quickly oblige but my husband usually complains, albeit half-heartedly, and tells us to go back to bed because it’s too early or that he wants to sleep. You see, it is tradition in our house for my husband to don a Santa hat and give out all the presents. He becomes Santa and so getting him out of bed is a priority!
The presents from us to kids, from kids to us, have been building in height under the Christmas tree in the lounge room for the few weeks before Christmas. Often-time my intentions to have a colour theme for the wrapping goes by the wayside and instead there are wrappings and ribbons of many bright and varied colours!
The Christmas tree is adorned with some homemade baubles baring the names of each family member – as well as the dog! There are lights and many other ornaments too.
The hearth is adorned with lights, Christmas cards and stockings; and on the mantelpiece and sideboard are Christmas trinkets.
As my daughter rounds up the troops to come down to the lounge room, I get the camera ready, make a cup of tea for ‘Santa’ and myself, and start readying platters of fresh fruits and croissants.
We now have newcomers who spend Christmas Day with us; the partners of my eldest son and my daughter; and most importantly, a little grandson. Christmas now heavily revolves around this beautiful, little boy. What a joy and great blessing it is to have a child in the house again for Christmas!
And so, as my three sons finally arrive with their manly doses of restraint, they are greeted with a kiss from me and each takes their place in the lounge room. Christmas Day has begun!
‘Santa’ likes to tease everyone and looks for his gifts first. And when he's found all of his, he looks for the dog's gift next! Arggh!! A real tease is this Santa! And then we’re underway! Presents are handed out; there are the sounds of paper tearing; boxes being eagerly opened; the oohs and aahs; thank you’s and kisses; the flash of cameras and then, before we know it, there is a small mountain of discarded paper and ribbon on the living room floor!
A quick survey of who got what and then I’m off to the kitchen to begin preparing breakfast. “Santa’ attends to cooking eggs and slices of ham on the BBQ. Customarily, we will all gather around the huge, wooden table on the front patio which has been covered with an emerald green tablecloth and a vase of red poinsettias (but, alas, they are not real). The table is then spread with ham and eggs; the platters of fresh fruit and croissants; orange juice and tea.
But no sooner is breakfast over and we've cleared up, I start the preparation for Christmas lunch. In my family we make lunch the main meal of our Christmas Day.
We’re not very big on turkey and most Aussies I think have chicken if they’re having a hot meal at Christmas. A BBQ lunch is also very popular here; as is a buffet-style meal consisting of seafood and salad.
So relaxation time has gone by the wayside for a little while for me while I busy preparing and cooking chickens; stuffing; vegetables; and, pudding and custard. Christmas music, jazz or instrumentals play in the background; the oven heats up the kitchen; the air conditioner is on full blast in the lounge room; and others come and go as they take a dip in the pool; play with newly-found gifts; and, generally relax and enjoy themselves.
Because there are now too many to fit around our dining table we get our round table from the sunroom and sit it alongside the dining table. It can be a lot of fun trying to seat everyone when we have other family members joining us for Christmas lunch too. Though, more often than not these days, we get together as an extended family on Boxing Day.
I decorate the table as nicely as possible with tablecloth and decorations in rich red and greens; candlelight; Christmas crackers and crystal glasses. The food is laid out on the sideboard and we each have a little fun with breaking open Christmas crackers and putting paper hats on our heads. What goofs (my new favourite word, courtesy of a friend!) we are! I like this part of the day … gathered around the table ... sharing, relaxing, chatting ... just family.
For all the effort that goes into it, lunch seems over way too quickly! The table is cleared and in place of the feast there now sits small bowls of chocolate covered nuts; salted nuts; Christmas lollies; cherries; plums; and any assortment of goodies ready to tempt the weak and add more unwanted inches to our waistlines!
The afternoon rolls on speckled with chit chat, phone calls to other family members, quiet reflection, perhaps a dip in the pool, and, for some, the well-earned indulgence of a little nap.
The evening draws in but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who wants to eat another bite!
And so this is Christmas ....
* * *
Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...
~ Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976 ~
May love and happiness surround you and peace find your heart this Christmas and may they be your blessing forever more.
~ Kate Little ~
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!