Christmas Eve. All felt oddly sublime. Even on Christmas Eve EVE everyone I saw was chilled out, like they knew a lovely day was going to happen. Small Brother had arrived (somewhat belatedly after 'some difficulty with my flights' – meaning, he missed his plane) and my Smalls were fizzing with excitement about Santa coming. Small DB was only 27 months old last year, this time – a bold and wonderful three year old – she was totally into the whole thing, egged on by her sister…
A completely different vibe abounded. And not just domestically – everywhere seemed quite calm and joyous. Maybe people were looking to have a lovely time together after the trials of the past year. Just a theory. M and I stayed up doing a rapathon:
“Yo yo, a ribbon or a bow?
Tape it right down and tweak it just so. YO!
Bling it and sing it and tinsel up tight
From dude with the 'tude and the beard – Tonight!”
…sorry, sorry – a WRAPATHON. The one that starts with me telling M to get out all the presents I'd hidden in the laundry basket (because who besides me every looks in there? Exactly.) and continues with him verbally ejaculating about HOW MUCH STUFF I had got the Smalls, and how ALL THEY NEEDED was a bit of string, an orange and a new pair of socks. OK. He didn't quite say that, but he almost did. Nevertheless, he wrapped most of it.
I duly cranked out a potato salad and a brown rice salad to take along to the house of the mother in the morning and we went to bed. The night, of course, was not uncomplicated. Demands for food at 4am from the smallest, who had gone to sleep in the car at 6.30pm. Retrospectively I realised that I fed her toasted mouldy bread with jam on it in the dark, but she appears to have survived.
Cookies were left for Santa. A carrot for the reindeer. Glitter mixed with oats were spread by Small Z on the front lawn as a main course after the carrot. And once we had fallen back to sleep at about 5.30am, we didn't wake for another three hours. The Smalls pawed through their stockings with cries of delight – there were mangoes, passionfruit, paints, rubber stamps, hankies, walnuts…
Out under the tree they really got stuck in. They had recieved gorgeous puzzles each, an interesting game, books – and I had bought Small DB a delectable pair of organic cotton PJs (on sale and muled over here by Small Brother). She opened them, took one look at their lustrous colours, and shrieked, “CLOTHES AREN'T PRESENTS!!” and moved on to the next thing as something inside me whimpered. Look at these pyjamas – LOOK AT THEM…
The whimper became internal sobs of despair (OK, I jest, but still….) when they opened presents from our neighbours – the ones we only really converse with at Christmas, and found two plastic little baby dolls, each with its own plastic pram and cradle. AAAAAAAAAAAARGH! All my organic cotton and wooden jigsaw interestingness was NOTHING in the face of this. Small Z was so beside herself that she ran next door in her pyjama's to thank them from the bottom of her poor deprived heart…
The drive to the Home of the Mother was fine. I had been warned via text that she had actually drawn up the seating arrangement. There would be no choose-your-own-adventure seating plan, goddamnit. I chose to overlook this, because for the most part the whole day was entirely laid back. Christmas lunch was buffet style, my mother resisted her inner Salad Nazi and SWWNBB's sort of father-in-law busted out some tunes on his accordian – there was dancing and pudding and cheer 🙂
I have neglected to mention the sublime weather. Thus we went over the road in the late afternoon and finished it all off with a swim. Small Brother and I idled away another hour there together while everyone else returned to the house and dealt with my offspring. It was good to do a bit of catching up – he was only here for six days.
Hope everyone had a similarly happy Christmas. This was the best in recent memory. Payoff for a difficult year. 10/10!