Monday, December 13, 2010

The C-word

Yes, I'm talking about Christmas (what did you think I was gonna say? This is a family blog!) ;p

Since I 'growed up', I've never been really big on Christmas. I think it all started when I was 15...

As you know, retailers like to start their Christmas celebrations early. And department stores are the worst offenders. Think about how annoying it is to see Christmas decorations going up in September and hearing Christmas carols everywhere you go (OK, I realise this isn't annoying for everyone, so bear with me!). Now imagine what it's like for the poor staff of those department stores, who don't get to pass through for 45 minutes or so, instead they endure the carols (and the festive air) for whole shifts. Sometimes marathon 15 hour shifts...

This was my life for those couple of Christmases. By the time I moved on to other jobs, I was pretty much cured of the festive spirit. And as you well know, last Christmas was just about the worst time of my whole life, so we don't have a lot of good to go on.

Me Me Me!
It also doesn't help that my birthday's a little over a week before Christmas. However I say this, it will sound selfish and petulant, but sharing your birthday with the 'festive season' sucks! There are the 'here's your birthday/Christmas present in one' moments (which thankfully don't happen too often as I have a wonderful family); the fact that your birthday gets forgotten in the rush of end-of term/Christmas shopping/party season; and that you never get a full house at your birthday parties because of all the Christmas dinners and other events that go on at that time of the year.
I can't help it, I like birthdays, especially mine. I like to make a fuss of those kinds of events. It could be a Sagittarius thing (if you read the profile, you may well recognise some of my personality traits!). I do like the attention...

And when Anthony and I hooked up, we weren't all that keen either. Both of us are atheists and it always seemed a little hypocritical to celebrate the birth of Christ. After all, we do live in a society which incorporates many religious perspectives (don't we?).

Having said all that, we did make the decision early on that we wouldn't deprive our kids of Christmas. We didn't want them being the only one in the class who didn't get a present (a little less common when Sam was little); and I loved (love) buying them lots of presents.

And as the years have gone on, I've got a little better at getting into the spirit. I put lights up every year, and decorate the lounge room with the kids. I buy too many pressies for them and usually bake yummy shortbread for gifts. We put cookies and carrots out for santa and hang stockings up on Christmas Eve.

I don't do Christmas cards. I tried it a couple of times, but can either never get them out on time, don't send enough, or forget all together. Eventually I decided I wouldn't waste the paper (they just get chucked out anyway, don't they?) I do try to say a quick hello/happy Christmas to most people I know though.

The Tree
We've never been very traditional with our Christmas trees either. At first we had a little potted pine (like my parents have had for years), but we eventually grew out of them (or did they grow out of us?) We then moved to a potted grass tree that we dragged inside every Christmas and draped a very small amount of tinsel on. Our last one had lasted for a few years but died not long after Sam did...

So this year we've done something different. And I love it!
You all know about the Lego obsession that has taken hold in this house. I'm happy to report that Christmas has not escaped Lego's clutches. This is our Christmas tree this year (and probably from now on). I'm very proud of it (yes, I built most of it!).
We had a great time building it, and it really does look great. We're already making plans for next year's bigger and better on (we will happily accept all green brick donations!) , and we're planning on showing it off in Lego circles.

So take a deep breath...
Given the shaky start that Christmas and my adult life have had, I don't have high hopes for a season of careless abandon, but I will try, and I know everyone else will too. This one will be hard, almost as hard as the last one, and they will probably never get any easier, but we'll give it our best shot. Oliver deserves it. And I guess we probably do too.

Happy Festive Season, lovely readers.


  1. that is a fantastic tree Mel! And I thought my garden variety fake one was an effort to construct and decorate! On this Christmas, well, you've said it all really - it will be hard. I hope the three of you can find comfort in each other and your extended family and friends. you're always welcome here for a distraction and a beer!
    Lila is suffering poor nunbers of birthday party RSVPs - she shares your b'day. Poor duckie. Still, I'm definitely NOT combining presents, as even I, a 5 December baby, suffered that often, and did not enjoy it as a kid! Leah.

  2. I love your tree, it is Wonderful!(will keep an eye out for green lego for you) I always have prefered something made rather than brought.

    My sister Rachael suffers the same problem with Christmas and birthdays, her birthday being the 15th of December (not as bad as my aunt who was born on Christmas Eve but....). I have always tried to make the effort of doing something special for her for both days. Even when things are tough, I try to do something bigger for her birthday than Christmas.

    I know this year will be hard for you, we will all be thinking of you. I hope you have a good one and I hope Oliver has a good time. Esther

  3. Love you mel. We will be down on the 21st but leaving xmas morning. We dont do xmas but wanted to get a little something for ollie. Any ideas or suggestions on what he needs or wants?
    Wait intil you see our our little fatty walking around. Just starting to bend his knees now so he doesn't look as much of a sumo baby as he did :)

  4. Mel's Dad/Sam's GrandadDecember 14, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Dearest Girl,

    I hope nothing your Mother and I did as you were growing up turned you off Xmas!

    Trouble is, it's like religion, and is drummed into you from birth. I used to always get the "combined" present as a kid, and I guess I resented it because I couldn't understand why they had to do it. Now I do, as there just wasn't as much money available then as there seems to be now. Having said that, I have thought for a long time, that things have gotten out of hand, and far too much money is outlaid every year at this time, and more especially when people can't really afford it. The expectation is too high these days.

    By the way, we have probably kept every Xmas card for the last 25 odd years, but in it's own way it is an indication of changing times, in that there are so many people who are no longer with us.

    Still, the highlight of this week has to be our first Xmas card from Oliver, and we will definitely keep that one!

    We don't need a special "season" to love one another. That should be there all through the year.

    much love, Dad


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