Another Christmas is finished.
It’s finished, but not over. The tree is still up, the decorations are in the lounge room, and gifts are sprawled over beds and stacked in piles on the floor. Even though the shadow of Christmas remains, there will be no more Christmas. Not until we begin to see the end of 2013 looming, then we all stare at each other and say “How can it be Christmas again? Another year gone”.
This year, this Christmas, showed me something. Something about the magic of Christmas. That the magic of Christmas is not in the magic of Christmas. Or something like that.
Our family Christmas celebrations are big. They probably always were, but on 2001, they took a leap straight into another dimension. At 1am on Christmas Day in 2001, our son Tyben, arrived, despite my defiance on Christmas Eve that I was NOT having a baby. But apparently, I was. The first Christmas Day baby for the Sunshine Coast, in fact.
Ever since, every Christmas celebration with family has always included a birthday celebration for Tyben. I’m so blessed that everyone in the family makes sure that Tyben still gets a “birthday”. No combined gifts. Always a separation of the celebrations within a mega celebration!
There is our little family, my family and Dean’s family to celebrate with. Years ago, we worked out with our respective parents that we would alternate years. So one year is a Wakefield Christmas Day, the next year is a Hodges Christmas Day. Whoever doesn’t get Christmas Day gets Boxing Day. And on it goes.
Which works while it works. Unfortunately not everyone has the flexibility that we, the self employed have, and so our system is a little imperfect. This year, my brother-in-law needed to leave the Wakefield Boxing Day Christmas a little early to get to work, and we didn’t see Dean’s sister and her family at all because their commitments meant they couldn’t be here for a Hodges Christmas Day.
The end result of all of that juggling meant that our little family were at home, on our own, for Christmas Day lunch. A couple of days out from the big day, we sat down as a family to work out what to have for lunch. It didn’t need to be big, after all we were having bacon & eggs at the beach for breakfast and then turkey and salad for dinner, with Dean’s parents. We talked about how we didn’t need much, but maybe if everyone made a suggestion, we could have a little “party” for lunch.
To my horror, the first suggestion I heard was “Party Pies”. Which was followed up by “oh yeah, I love party pies”. Times 5. I was the only one who was seemed to stunned by the suggestion of party pies. As part of Christmas lunch. I started to talk about making it a bit special, “why don’t I at least make my home made sausage rolls”. I heard someone say “don’t our votes count? Are we only allowed to like what you want”.
Ouch. Caught that. Right between the eyes.
So, I bought frozen party pies. For Christmas lunch. I couldn’t look at the lady serving me at the IGA as I bought them. Surely she would know that I was a terrible parent who wasn’t lovingly preparing wonderful food for her family for Christmas. That I was buying a cardboard box of cardboard food, to put in the oven for 12 minutes.
Fortunately, Christmas began before lunch time. Long before lunch time. At 4.07am, in fact. The morning was great. We had fun at home, opening our presents, before meeting Dean’s parents at Mudjimba beach for bacon & eggs, followed by a walk on a beach and a play in the water. Truly an awesome way to begin a family celebration. Then we headed on home.
After a little while, I started to organise lunch. Christmas lunch. With party pies. Coby was in the garage playing a Wii game. Dean and the 2 older boys were watching The Dark Knight Rises in the lounge, and Sabrina was playing babies in her room. And I was putting party pies in the oven.
I was so ashamed. Why didn’t my family want something “better”? Why didn’t they ask for something that only I could make for their most special family day? Instead, they asked for a slab of frozen party pies in the oven, a quick home made cream cheese and salsa dip, and some lollies. Those were the things that made the vote.
Of course, as mother nature would have it, I was being slammed by my lady hormones, right on Christmas Day. Clearly mother nature likes pushing my Christmas Day buttons. See 2001 edition. Somehow, suddenly, there was yelling (by me) about some nonsense that I can’t even remember now. I’m sure there would have been a reference to “Christmas lunch” and “parties pies” and “tomato sauce”.
And so I sat, staring at our lunch, swirling in my hormones, so upset. When suddenly, I noticed. Everyone else was OK. In fact, more than OK. Everyone (except me) was happy, coming and going and picking from food they were comfortable with.
And then the next day, we shared a lovely lunch, for Christmas on Boxing Day with my family.
So, maybe the magic has nothing to do with the magic. Parties pies were just fine.