Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas in the Sun!

It is Christmas Eve.  We have now been in New Zealand for 6 months.  6 whole months!

I cant quite get my head around it.  We live in New Zealand.  And it's Christmas.  And its Summer. And it's the end of the school year.  And we live in New Zealand.  I wonder how long its going to take for me to get used to it?!?

Christmas has taken me by surprise a little this year.  I don't think I'd realised how much of the 'Christmas feeling' was associated with the cold and the dark.  I'm usually ready for Christmas by the beginning of November.  As soon as it starts to get cold and the first lights go up in the shops (September!) I usually start my shopping.  In NZ Christmas doesn't start until December 1st. There is no sign that Christmas is coming until then, and even then it's nothing like the UK.  There are very few lights as it gets dark so late it hardly seems worth it.  There is a lot less Christmas music playing and only a handful of brass bands and carols.  So much of what I think of as 'Christmas' is missing.  For the last 2 weeks I've been reminding myself that it's Christmas.  I have felt so totally unprepared for it!

At home, the Sunday before Christmas was always our Santa Party.  The day when the village Father Christmas would come to the houses with presents for the kids.  We would have a little party with another family and wait for him to come.  The kids would get louder and more excited as the time went on and the adults would have mulled wine and mince pies and try to cope with the noise and energy levels of the 5 kids.  Then we'd all get our coats and boots on and stand outside in the freezing cold as he came down the street and then eventually he was there.  Presents delivered. Happy Children. Exhausted adults.  This year we thought we'd carry on at least one of our traditions and have our usually santa party, but with a different family, obviously! As we now don't have a village santa to drop round, we just had the sleigh bells.  It was amazing to see the children's faces when they heard the bells.  It was such a surprise to them.  Magical! It was so nice to be able to do something that we would normally have done.  I was doing it for the children, but actually they don't seem to mind that everything is upside down and back to front.  I think we needed it more than the kids.  I honestly don't think they are finding it any different to normal.  They just take everything in their stride and carry on regardless!  I on the other hand have had mulled wine every night this week, made a hundred mince pies and had the Christmas candle burning, just to remind myself that it's Christmas.  Kids are so adaptable, but it would seem that you CANT teach on old dog new tricks!

We were planning to have a BBQ for lunch tomorrow, but this morning I changed my mind.  I need my roast. I need to set the table with the crackers and do something traditional.  Hubby has just been sent out to get the red wine for the gravy. I'm not doing a turkey, they are just so ridiculously over priced, beef it is! With Yorkshires! That's good enough for me. 

And thanks to Mary Berry the roast will be followed by Tunis Cake. 

It is going to be a totally different kind of Christmas this year.  I'm looking forward to having a family day with lots of fun and games and laughing. It doesn't really matter what happens on Christmas day, or what the weather is like, or how many fairy lights there are.  At the end of the day the aim of the day is to celebrate the birth of Jesus and we can do that anywhere in the world, no matter what our traditions.  The ladybug likes to sing happy birthday to Jesus, so we'll do that with the Tunis cake!