The young adults have opted to spend Christmas with their father as he’s due for major surgery early next year. Although I’ll miss them, I’m touched by their thoughtfulness towards him and have agreed to celebrate Christmas early. I’m headed off to the shops soon having written down my shopping list earlier this morning but thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect what Christmas means to me.
Unlike many others, cooking for family is a special Christmas joy for me. Unlike many others, shopping for presents, is not. When they were younger, I would insist my children write out a list of gifts, identifying shops, prices, and when the sale ended, as well. They would get something off that list but never knew what and looked forward to the surprise. I was relieved to spend less time browsing in crowded shops, parking in car parks filled with impatient people and would beat a hasty retreat home. As they have grown into young adults, their needs are even more simple than when children. They look forward to anything practical and useful. I wonder where that influence came from! I buy my family a small gift each to place under the tree. A symbol, if nothing else. I do give them a gift of $$ which they never ask for, but I know it helps them buy something indulgent, like a weekend away in Margaret River, that they would never otherwise spend on themselves.
The biggest gift for my family and me, is when we meet for the special meal. I’ll cook a buffet straight for two days. This year, they have broken tradition and asked if they can contribute a dish to the table. My daughter sent me a text yesterday saying she had bought all what she needed for her dish. I could sense her excitement. I believe good will and generosity is contagious. I have proof of that.
For twelve years after the divorce, the children’s father joined us and we ate as family on Christmas Day. It was our family tradition, including gifts under the tree to each other. I would cook up a storm, indulge in a few drinks (he doesn’t drink but would pour) and then curl up on the couch to watch my favourite movie and fall asleep exhausted. When I woke, he would have done the dishes and the kitchen would be sparkling new but always, yes always, with at least one glass or dish being broken! The thought of those years, makes me smile. I recall my son who was a very young saying to me, “I don’t remember you being dad’s wife, but you’re a good ex-wife!” Enuf said!
I have always been totally unrestrained with the menu. I buy the best. If you’ve seen the movie, ‘Babette’s Feast’, you’ll know what I mean! It is also the only time of year when I have more than one drink with a meal, so I try a new drink or two as well. We are having gin as our main drink, my daughter’s preference this year. Like his father, my son does not drink at all, so it will be iced teas and virgin mojito for him. My daughter’s partner is an ‘aussie bloke’, so it’s beer, although he does like craft beer, and this year I’ll get to try Sly Fox. My son’s fiancee loves bubbles, it fills the air with laughter, so we’ll have some of that too.
The young men devour meat. My daughter is a pescatarian. My son’s fiancee has been a strict vegetarian by choice since she was 14. All this makes cooking interesting. I cook for my future daughter-in-law first, clean the kitchen so not to ‘contaminate’ her food. Then comes the seafood. Clean kitchen again and lastly, the meat (fillet of beef, duck breasts, pork belly). We don’t eat the traditional turkey and ham meal. Apricot ice cream and pavlova or meringue roulade and fresh fruit and cheese for dessert. As for me, by the time I’m done, I can barely eat anything at all!
My Christmas in childhood was dissimilar but also very similar in many ways. The emphasis was being together and giving of ourselves to family. These memories I’ve left behind in a previous post … What Christmas means to me
The young adults will arrive later today to set up the Christmas tree with beautiful glass baubles I’ve collected over the years. The home will be filled with talk and laughter. I will slip into the role I love best with ease, mum.
Tomorrow Christmas Day will arrive early. And, when I go to bed tomorrow night, the brightest star will be shining over our home.
Until next time
a dawn bird