24 December – Christmas Eve


Get up, open the last door on the Advent calendar, wolf down some toast and head off to the greengrocer! Be early to avoid the crowds (and to find the best cherries) and bear in mind that there are two attitudes you can take to this:

  • you can be grumpy that the shops are crowded and you can’t find the sugar snap peas and you’ve still got so much to do
  • you can enjoy the excitement in the kids and the tingle of anticipation in the adults around you and you can think of this preparation as a fun part of the feast.

You probably have quite a few things to cook today but you have good running sheets so, again, enjoy the preparation – and the flavours and the aromas. (My house smells like red wine and spices right now, because I’ve just been mulling the fruit for breakfast tomorrow.)

24 dec 2016
Throw open all the doors!

Matthew and Don and Jack came over early with the trailer and have been pushing tables around on the deck. They tried one long rectangle but it didn’t fit so now they’re toying with a U-shape, which they don’t have enough tablecloths for, and I’ve just heard Jack mention white sheets (!) and he said he’ll get some from home if Don will take the trailer back to pick up his magic apparatus. And you know what? I think they’re thoroughly enjoying themselves. (I hope it’s not me that ends up sitting on one of those folding picnic chairs though.)

Jeremy and Danni volunteered for the last-minute present shopping so I sent them off to the mall with my purse[1] and they came home with fancy candles! But I’ve never even met the boat people and for all I know they might like candles. Now the love birds are wrapping the gift wax in the lounge room – in birthday paper because I used up the last of the Christmas paper on Caitlin’s present. (I hope the boat people like dinosaurs in party hats because that’s the wrapping they’re getting.)

Then Ben and Cassidy came around with some of the stuff Wendy has cooked for tomorrow (I do not know why she thought it would fit in my fridge!) and, after Cassidy astonished me by telling me that she was looking forward to a slice of Wendy’s lemon meringue pie,[2] they decided to decorate the deck (which has plenty of fairy lights on it but they won’t be any good at midday). They used all the decorations I excluded from my decoration plan (mostly because I don’t like them – like the ceramic elf with the evil squint) and are now making paper chains from Christmas catalogues. Some would say the result is looking very gaudy but I’m willing to go with “festive”.

Auntie Gwen and Susan, who arrived at ten and are staying tonight and tomorrow night, are peeling potatoes for the potato salad (I was planning a German potato salad but Auntie Gwen is doing her own thing and I have no idea what it will be except that I think she said something about anchovies), and Gemma is folding napkins (they’re paper but I admit they’re looking very good) and has her husband Paul polishing glasses and cutlery ready for tomorrow.

Everyone’s getting in each other’s way but they don’t seem to mind. In fact, I absolutely think the word for today is “merry”.

[1] “We usually do our Christmas shopping in the Boxing Day sales,” said Danni. “There are a lot of advantages to being Serbian.”

[2] “Moderation is important,” she said earnestly. “Really?” I replied, trying very hard not to be sarcastic. “Oh yes. I’ve learned that a little bit of sugar can be a good thing.”

“I’ll bear that in mind,” I said.

30 November

A KO for KK

If you don’t want to have an office Kris Kringle (because it’s a wanton waste of the world’s resources and your money to buy someone a stupid, cheap present they don’t want and won’t use)[1] mention it now before anyone gets stuck into the planning. Things to think about:

  • If everyone else loves it, accept the majority verdict with good grace.[2]
  • But you could suggest White Elephant (see 27 September), which, while not as good as Reducing, is at least Reusing.[3]
  • Would buying presents for a charity and putting them under your office Christmas tree be a reasonable alternative?[4]

And remember to put up your Advent calendar![5]

A universal KK present?

I asked Jeremy what he was doing for his seven-month anniversary today and he just said, “Seven is no big deal. Maybe we’ll go to the movies.”

Sometimes I find it difficult to keep up!

[1] You’d think this argument would persuade everyone, but it doesn’t.

[2] My friend Fiona’s brother-in-law Tim tried to sabotage his office’s Kris Kringle by giving his Kris-ee a particularly horrible present, but that didn’t work either. (And the deliberately awful present he chose wasn’t even the worst in the room.)

[3] And not quite as offensive as the Reusing approach an ex-colleague of mine took: he opened his present, looked at it with disdain, reached for his tape dispenser, rewrapped it immediately in the same paper, wrote the next year’s date on the gift tag, and put it straight back under the tree.

[4] The answer to this question is “No” because far more people than you could reasonably expect, expect to find something good when they unwrap their KK gift.

[5] My son Jeremy was angling for an Advent calendar that has a different craft beer every day but when I said he’d have to fund it himself, he was willing to stick with the picture Advent calendar I’d chosen (but not before checking if there were any chocolate pretzel Advent calendars on the market. (There aren’t.))