We spent last Christmas in Bali. Away from family, away from Australia, away from everything. It was the strangest Christmas we had ever had, and in many ways one of the best.
It was also necessary. I’d been retrenched a couple of days before we flew out- in fact the main reason we booked Christmas in Bali was because I knew that was coming up and I knew that I’d need to put a fullstop under one part of life before reinventing myself.
It was the perfect plan.
We took one present each to open on Christmas morning, and set about making the day as relaxing and different as possible to what we usually do. Instead of turkey we had Balinese spiced duck. Instead of bubbly, we had Bintang beer. Instead of running around, we had lazy floats in the pool. Bliss.
This year seems more normal. There’s the usual family stress over where Christmas will be held, who’s bringing what and when. There’s the traffic, the parking, the presents, the how many kilos of prawns do we need for Christmas night and who’s going to queue up at Costis for them.
I was planning on being organised this year. I was planning on taking the whole year off from partition work. I was planning on being the domestic diva who had cards out the door by the 1st week of December, home-baked gifts ready and all presents wrapped. Then I went back to work and decided to write the first draft of a new manuscript in less than 2 months. Hmmmm.
There’s a lot I love about Christmas, and a few things that I don’t really get…or am running behind on. Here are 5 of them:
I haven’t sent them. Yet. I’ve done the newsletter and emailed it around, but as for cards? I’ll be popping a New Year message on them and sending only to family not on email.
My mother tells me that is disgusting, and email is so impersonal, but you know what? It’s life.
I haven’t done any. Except for last year, I usually do.
A couple of months ago I was planning a series of Christmas cakes, mince pies, shortbread, rum balls and more. I’ve done none. And I’m away this weekend and working Christmas Eve, so I guess that I won’t be doing any. Maybe I’ll do that after Christmas too…
I haven’t done the Christmas grocery shop either. Or bought the Christmas ham that traditionally we cut for sandwiches on Boxing Day.
It amazes me how the shops are shut for one day and it seems as though all of Sydney is stocking up against, I don’t know what. It’s not as if we’re going to be snowed in.
Having said that, some basics are required- bread for the ham sammies, lettuce for the prawns, smoked salmon for the smoked salmon thingies we have Christmas morning, and the makings for the trifle Mr T makes to take to my parents Christmas lunch. Oh, and champagne.
Christmas get togethers
Why does everyone need to get together before Christmas? People that you haven’t seen all year now suddenly have to book a lunch. Sure it’s nice, but boy does the liver suffer! Any mosquito biting me at present will need to check into de-tox.
I’ve got Christmas get togethers booked for next week- after Christmas. The traffic will be more civilised, there is the possibility of being able to get a taxi at night, and the nightmare that is Christmas shopping will be done.
Why does everything have to be finished by Christmas?
It’s as if Christmas is this imaginary line in the sand that everything gets to and stops at. Take building projects for example. No matter when they’re started, they must be finished at Christmas.
Now, I get it if the project is one that will attract huge interest or holding costs for 4 weeks while the rest of the world is on holidays, but otherwise?
The partition job has been a nightmare this week- because everything has to be done by Christmas. And we’re not closing for anything other than the public holidays.
I’d targeted the 1st draft of my new manuscript to be completed by- you guessed it- Christmas. I started on November 1. And yes, I finished last night- all 75,000 words of it.
Here’s a newsflash. There is life after Christmas- always assuming we make it through the end of the world which is, of course, scheduled for today.