The Ghost of Christmas Usher

I do love Christmas the songs, the food, oh my goodness the food! Rocky Road, Christmas Cake, Roast Pork, Seafood, YoYo’s (like Melting moments but better), berries and stone fruit, the list goes on but I think you get it. I even just love the all round happiness the season seems to bring, I guess that’s the Christmas Spirit. Living in the Southern Hemisphere means Christmas is HOT, I look to my friends in the North during this time of year with complete envy, oh to see it snow on Christmas Day! Oh to eat a hot baked meal and not sweat! There’s only a couple of things about Christmas I don’t like, those who seem to boo the season, Bah Humbug to you. And those ridiculous Reindeer Antlers on cars, WHY! If you have antlers on your car, you need to remove them NOW, they’re not cute nor funny, they detract from Christmas and only add bad taste!

By far my favourite Christmas movie is Scrooged (yep the dodgy Bill Murray version), it’s cheesy and predictable but leaves you with a sense that Christmas is definitely a magical time. Before we had Children we would watch this movie every year. It doesn’t seem that appropriate with a five year old in the house now, so this tradition is temporarily on hold, along with everything else pre kids…

Christmas Past
unnamed (1)It’s no secret I did come from a somewhat volatile household growing up, but thankfully for the most part everyone behaved at Christmas which enabled me as a child to love all that Christmas offered! By far my most memorable moment as a child was the first Christmas we spent in Australia I was 6 and we’d arrived only 3 months prior from NZ. Money was scarce to say the least there were five in my family yet we only had a three seater couch in our lounge. I owned 2 dolls, a Womble (Oranoco for
those in the know), a toy pram and what I thought at the time was a huge container of Lego. I didn’t require a play room like the kids of today… I remember in the lead up to Christmas watching my mum cut and stitch a Santa Stocking from a netting bag that Oranges came in. Here began the anticipation of what would be in that humble stocking after Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve. I awoke on Christmas morning to find this preloved Orange bag overflowing with Gifts. As I began to unwrap each present I was elated with what I found; packets of Chewing Gum and Lifesavers all my favourite lollies and more, miniature presents that wouldn’t have cost more than 20c each. The price never occurred to me at the time as it seemed to take forever to unwrap all those fiddly parcels, I thought I had the most anyone would ever get! As the years went on the stockings became more elaborate, the presents more expensive and probably my attitude more demanding. I don’t recall the presents on other years, I’m sure they were unique in their own way, but nothing is etched in my memory more than the Orange Netted Stocking filled with 20c gifts. The stocking tradition lives on for my kids, they are home-made and made out of scrap calico and denim, the presents are modest and anything but over the top. They usually contain; something crafty (this year a how to draw book), something pool or water play related, something fun – a frivolous toy, something yummy, a book, some undies and a couple of minor things from the Santa letter (just to keep the dream alive). It all sounds sensible and it is, our kids believe in Santa, have the fun that comes with that, but he’s not the be all and end all of Christmas, just part of it. Ok, ok my motives are probably not completely pure, you see there is no way a man in a red suit is getting the glory for the cool stuff… I’m not stupid, just sayin!

Christmas Future
I wish I knew what the future held, in some ways I could stop worrying about how it all turns out, or maybe I wouldn’t, maybe I’d stress more? If you’re new to this blog our second born Eden was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after birth (you can read her Birth Story HERE) I’d be lying if I said her future doesn’t consume my thoughts at times… but maybe that’s for another post. I pray that our Christmases are filled with fun times, kitchen traditions of making YoYo’s and Rocky Road (if you can’t eat sugar at Christmas when can you) and of course over eating exceptional food. Watching cheesy feel good movies and seeing yet another Jamie Oliver Christmas Cooking special. Spending time with family and friends and maybe seeing a few that we normally don’t get to see. Long days at the beach and gathering on Christmas Eve to watch the Melbourne Carols while packing stockings and assembling toys for children and grandchildren. It’s about tradition and for me prioritising what really matters.

Christmas Present
cover170x170Christmas for us has never been a one day thing, it’s really like a month long festivity! This year we’ve already spent a weekend in Victoria celebrating Christmas with my family, a day in Queensland celebrating with my husbands family. We’ve done 3 carols events as Col has a Christmas cd so it goes with the territory, you can check it out HERE, he’s pretty flipping talented. (One of these Carols events should be renamed ‘The Col Usher Variety Hour’ he stole the show, it staggers me that one man has that much personality). One school nativity and a Christmas Partay with friends. None of this was exhausting they weren’t events I ticked off a list. Like I said I love all that Christmas offers, I enjoy the lead up, making homemade gifts for family and friends (generally jam and this years special is Strawberry). I’ve chosen not to bake this year, as normally I do mix myself into a frenzy, we’re in a non air conditioned house and frankly it’s just too hot. Rocky Road will be made, but if for some reason it doesn’t happen till the stillness of Christmas afternoon, so be it. This year I made a choice to take the stress out of Christmas and so far it’s worked. As we’ve celebrated so much already this December our day is going to be more modest than past years, the food will be great that’s a given, but we probably won’t be eating it for the following 2 weeks… Less is more! I know it’s not the perfection my kids will remember but the traditions of year in year out, the family time, a few extra sneaky sweet things, the great food (if their taste buds and appreciation of flavour ever kick in…) the stockings, the laughing with friends, the carols events and basically a whole lot of fun. THIS IS CHRISTMAS.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you remember what matters most, this is the celebration of when a King was born, when Jesus graced the earth with his presence, its when ‘Three Weird Men’ turned up after someone gave birth (truth) don’t tell me you’ve never thought that was a little weird that three guys turn up out of nowhere! In all seriousness it’s not something I take lightly, He is the reason we are. Don’t get caught up in the stress of perfection, don’t go over the top, it’s not what anyone expects. Just breath, acknowledge God and enjoy your family, cos at the end of the day nothing else really counts.

From us to you, MERRY CHRISTMAS



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