Christmas is all but over for WM and I. All that's left to show for it is a tree that was still growing in a paddock last Friday, a fridge full of left-overs, a tray of untouched lollies, about a kilogram of cashew-nuts, half a tray of glacé fruit, most of a large Christmas pudding, about ten mince pies…
And a very bad cold (and infected sinuses) which has knocked me right out of action -- an unexpected and unwanted present from my grandsons!
For the first time in thirty-six years of married life, WM and I will spend Christmas Day without family.
For the first nine years we had Christmas lunch with my family and spent Christmas evening with his -- I am very blessed to have in-laws who didn't expect us for Christmas morning and lunch!
Then along came DD; and my family came to us for Christmas. That lasted until my sister started having children, then we alternated who was hosting.
After her second divorce, my sister moved away, closer to our parents, but we continued the alternating years until WM started working shift work and we couldn't get away. Then began many Christmases with just the three of us. Mum and dad would join on 27th December and stay until 2nd January.
Now DD and family have moved away and we had to find new ways to be together. WM had to work today (Christmas Eve) and be back at work on Friday so we can't travel to them for Christmas.
Instead, we've had three family celebrations where DD and the family have been present.
The weekend before last we went away to Ebor, in northern NSW, about two-and-a-half hours from where DD now lives and a 1600km (1000 miles) round trip for us. We went there to share Christmas with my sister, her children, her sons-in-law, her 8-month-old grand-daughter, and my mum. What a great weekend we had. My sister booked accommodation for all fourteen of us and we had a wonderful time.
|L to R: Sister, OG, N2H2S, SIL, DD, YG, Boyfriend #2, Niece #2, WM, great-Niece, Niece #1, Boyfriend #1, Mum, Nephew
On Tuesday, DD and family arrived here. Mum arrived on Thursday. On Saturday, WM and I hosted Christmas (ham and turkey with salad followed by a choice of Christmas pudding or fruit salad) here with my brother and his family, mum, mum-in-law, DD and family. Hence the fridge full of leftovers mentioned in the first paragraph. The photo shows my youngest niece (mum’s youngest grand-daughter, aged one month younger than my Older Grandson) opening the first present of the day.
Yesterday WM and I took mum to Strathfield station to make the trip home, went to church then went to WM's extended family get-together. He's the eldest of six and his mum has seventeen grandchildren (all but one with partners or spouses) and thirteen great-grandchildren. Unfortunately, a lot of them weren't able to make it. It was extremely hot and incredibly noisy. The cold my grandsons shared with me had hit with a vengeance (colds in summer seem worse than those in winter) so we only stayed about four hours. I hope I didn't share too many germs, I tried to stay away from as many people as possible!
|a sweaty boy reads a new book
|one of the best places to be when the temperature is 40°C (104°F)
|four of my mother-in-law's six great-grandsons; she also has seven great-grand-daughters
DD and the family left at 10:30 yesterday morning. There were so many things that I should have been doing and so many things I could have been doing but what did I do? Went to bed and slept for another two and a half hours!
It's bizarre sitting here looking at the tree. I'm still waiting for Christmas feelings to arrive but they seem to have gotten lost even more so than usual! I haven't felt at all like Christmas, despite all the hoop-la we've been through! It's also bizarre seeing ads for Christmas on television because, in my head, Christmas is already over!
So how will we celebrate the day itself?
We were going into the city to see the Christmas lights but I’m not feeling well enough to brave the crowds. WM is secretly pleased, after all the excitement of the last couple of weeks he’s looking forward to a couple of quiet days! Tomorrow morning we will go to a low socio-economic suburb not too far from here where we've volunteered to help serve lunch to homeless people. After that, we've been invited to afternoon tea at our friends' house.
Boxing Day will be spent quietly at home before WM heads off to work on Friday and "normal life" resumes for us.
January is summer vacation time in Australia but WM won't have his annual leave until next October. With all my classes and most of my other activities (quilting group, Bible study) closed until February, I guess I'll have plenty of time for my own crafting activities!
Whatever you're doing, and whoever you're spending it with, I wish you a peaceful and joyous Christmas. There’s only one reason why we’re having this holiday (holy day): “peace on earth and good will toward men”.