Shopping, wrapping and stress. This is the first Christmas I have worked full day since my first child made her way into our lives, and it was challenging. Christmas is my favourite time of the year, the tree, unwrapping my carefully packaged tree decorations, arranging them where the lights will be most effective on the decorations that need it. Baking biscuits shaped as trees, candy canes and angels; covering them in sticky white icing, shiny balls and festive sprinkles. Shopping, poking around and finding the present that I think is JUST right. Wrapping the goodies, lots of different paper, bows and mini decorations used as part of the packaging, a little trinket for next years tree.....and this year a void.
Yes I struggled, I did organise a lunch at our house and managed to ensure that we got a turkey and all the bits I needed for my part of the lunch but I have to confess I only did the bare essentials. Yet it all turned out fabulously in the end because Christmas is not about the gift, the wrapping, the trinkets, food or the tree, it is the people who are there to share the day.
So......Christmas Eve we made memories with Joe and Carla; Derrick Rose and Emily and our family. Carla made a sumptuous feast of lamb, pork, chicken, roast potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and (okay so it is a bit about the food!!!) the most amazing ginger pudding I have EVER eaten. Rose bought her famous chocolate mousse and we all ate until we could no longer sit comfortably and had to sprawl across the couch making little grunting noises of satisfaction. It was a very relaxing evening and I was sure it would be a total contrast to the Christmas Day lunch that I would be putting together in a few hours.
As usual it started off with the kids despairing over the fact that the man in the house is a slow poke, but as Kirstin said "Christmas is about traditions and that is a tradition in our house." I heated up croissants and pain au chocolates, no mince pies as I am the only one in our house who eats them! We all gathered around the tree and present sharing began with all of us getting sufficiently spoilt. Jess and Kirstin really missed their cousins and said that Christmas is not the same without them (made me feel very sad, but then I also thought that they are lucky enough to have such great memories of past Christmas's). I got on with preparing turkey (as described in an earlier post) and at 14h30 Joe &Carla, Mark & Debi, Len & Lisa (kids -Cody and Luke), Lennie and Warren & Tracy (kids - Kiarra and Skyla) arrived and the fun began. Much wine was consumed and food was eaten and conversation flowed and at 02h00 we all decided that perhaps it was time to part company! Of course as we stood outside saying goodbye to our friends our neighbours came home from their evening out and so we invited them in for a night cap and enjoyed an hour of their company before succumbing to the comfort of our bed.
On Boxing Day we were lucky enough to get a house guest, Donovan flew across the Irish sea to spend a couple of day with us which was fabulous. We also popped over to Derrick and Rose for pancakes and conversation which was a fun way to spend a couple of hours....before we had to dash home so that Don and Malcolm could watch Arsenal DRAW against Aston Villa....oops.
We spent the evening at home playing Buzz on Play Station with the girls and eating toasted turkey mayo sandwiches.
On Saturday I got up at 09h00 and met a friend for breakfast so that we could have a catch up session, she has been to India and I have not seen her for a couple of months. After that it was back home and into hockey gear for the summer hockey Christmas match. I went up to Three Rock and was very excited to see everyone, I knew my friend Melissa would be there (the one who moved to Manchester in the summer) and was really looking forward to seeing her again. We played hockey.....for almost TWO hours! I assisted in 4 goals and hit the post once, yep I amazed myself - thought I would be a bit rusty as I have had a stupid chest cold for about 3 weeks. After the game we all went up to the pub for a drink and a catch up before heading home. On Saturday night we took Don into town. We started off at Foley's - a typical Irish pub with live music every night before heading off for a super pub - Café on Sienné for some dancing. We had a good time there and finally hopped into a cab at about 03h00 - exhausted. Of course Malcolm and Donovan got home and HAD to watch the S.A vs Australia cricket match...until 06h30 in the morning - but it was history in the making and very exciting for them.
Sunday...started off at Dundrum early for a couple of things before heading off to meet the guys for breakfast at Howards Way. A relaxing LAZY day at home followed, the early morning had taken it out of the lads so much sitting around on the couch was done. At 17h30 Malcolm took Don to the airport and I made a chicken vegetable soup - much needed after the extraordinary amount of food consumption that has taken place lately.
Next trick up our sleeves you ask? Adrian, Nicky and Rick arrive on the ferry tomorrow and New Year's Eve party commences at our abode at 20h00 on Wednesday....the usual suspects (i.e the Christmas crowd) plus a few more. Bring a platter of snacks and a cocktail concoction or a shooter mix...the more the merrier.