Challenge – Zen Christmas!

Two of my favourite blogging friends and I (and anyone else who wished to join in) have challenged ourselves to a Zen Christmas. So far I think April from Finding Beauty in Spite of Myself and Me – Who am I? are doing quite well. I’m not sure that I’m doing as well. The weekend just past has been constant. I have visited, wrapped, shopped, baked and sewed (except for Saturday afternoon that was far too hot to do anything except lay on the couch under the fan). Last night I found myself beginning to get teary. It’s like I’m putting pressure on myself for everything to be perfect. I baked the fruit cake last night. The fruit has been soaking in rum for the past week and I figured I had better get it baked or there would be no cake this year. Last year, I tried a new recipe and received so many compliments on it, I decided that I would use the same recipe this year. I got to the spooning in the tin stage and realised I’d forgotten the walnuts. *sigh* Oh well. We can live without nuts. Then my oven decided it would bake the cake faster than I’m sure its meant to be baked. Even though I pulled it out far earlier than the recommended baking time, I think it may be a little dry. Why am I worrying? My family will eat it. I know they will. But I wanted it to be perfect. Then there is the cushion for my MIL. I have unpicked that thing twice but finally got it right last night. I finished up only to find that the binding hadn’t caught properly underneath. Rather than unpick it all to do it again, I am going to finish it off with hand sewing. The tears threatened at that point. They really did. I didn’t get the apricot balls and rum balls made. The Tween made the apricot balls. Now I’m concerned we won’t have enough so I am going to send the GG and the Tween out to get more ingredients today so that I can make more tonight. Tonight I have to ice the cake, make the Yule log for work and make the rum balls. I feel guilty because I haven’t had the opportunity to do much of the housework yet. The GG told me not to worry. That he and the Tween will get it all done for me but I worry that I should have done it myself. I know I need to cut myself a break. I do.

So I am saying to myself…. breathe…..breathe…..breathe…..

Love in the room

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Remember how I mentioned that we only open one present at a time at Christmas? This photo is from last year. I love it so much because it shows the joy and anticipation on everyone’s face whilst the recipient is unwrapping. And after the gift has been unwrapped there are thankyou kisses and hugs all over the room. 🙂

Christmas is all about love. 🙂

An Aussie Night Before Christmas

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In the next two days, I am going to focus my posts on Christmas. I so hope you don’t mind. 🙂 As I mentioned in my post on traditions, we read the story of A Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve. In this post I want to share the Aussie version with you. It was adapted by Yvonne Morrison and in the book I have the illustrations were done by Kilmeny Niland.

An Aussie Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas;

there wasn’t a sound.

Not a possum was stirring;

no-one was around.

We’d left on the table

some tucker and beer

Hoping that Santa Claus

soon would be here;

We children were snuggled up safe in our bed,

While dreams of pavlova danced round in our heads;

And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,

Had just settled down to watch TV sports,

When outside the house

a mad ruckus arose:

Loud squeaking and bangning

woke us from our doze.

We ran to the screen door,

peeked cautiously out,

Snuck onto the deck,

then let out a shout.

Guess what had woken us up

from our snooze,

But a rusty old ute

pulled by eight mighty ‘roos.

The cheerful man driving

was giggling with glee,

And we both knew at once

who this plump bloke must be.

Now, I’m telling the truth – it’s all dinki-di,

Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky.

Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reind,

And encouraged the ‘roos, by calling their names.

‘Now, Kylie! Now, Kirsty!

Now, Shazza and Shane!

On, Kipper! On, Skipper!

On, Bazza and Wayne!

Park up on that water tank,

Grab a quick drink,

I’ll scoot down the gum tree,

Be back in a wink!’

So up to the tank

those eight kangaroos flew,

With the ute full of toy,

and Santa Claus too.

He slid down the gum tree

and jumped to the ground,

Then in through the windo

he sprang with a bound.

He had bright sunburned cheeks

and a milky white beard.

A jolly old joker

was how he appeared.

He wore red stubby shorts

and old thongs on his feet,

And a hat of deep crimson

as shade from the heat.

His eyes – bright as opals –

Oh! how they twinkled!

And, like a goanna,

his skin was quite wrinkled!

His shirt was stretched over

a round bulging belly

Which shook when he moved,

like a plate full of jelly.

A fat sack of prezzies

he flung from his back,

And he looked like a swaggie

unfastening his pack.

He spoke not a word,

but bent down on one knee,

To position our goodies

beneath the Yule tree.

Surfboard and footy-ball shapes

for us two.

And for Dad, tongs to use

on the new barbeque.

A mysterious package

he left for our mum,

Then he turned and he winked

and he held up his thumb;

He strolled out on deck and his ‘roos came on cue’

Flung his sack in the back

and prepared to shoot through.

He bellowed out loud

as they swooped past the gates –

‘Merry Christmas to all,

and goodonya mates!’

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Christmas Traditions

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In my home, we began the tradition of the youngest child putting the angel on the tree. I grew up with a star on our tree. If my memory serves me correctly it was a silver tinsel star. When I left home, I began some of my own traditions. One of those was putting an angel on the tree. When the First Born was a baby, I sold Avon. One year, they had an angel in their catalogue so I purchased it for myself. I still have that angel and it is still put on the tree every year. We have tried a few stars over the year, but they just didn’t feel right and were taken down so the angel could be re-instated.

Another tradition that I began when the Tween was a baby was baking with her every year. We are hoping to get some of that done tomorrow. Over the years, she has taken more and more responsibility for making things and it lessens the burden on me.

Christmas Eve has seen the family coming to us in recent years. We have a cold dinner and pass out gifts afterwards. Since we’ve moved to this estate, Santa pays us a visit just on dusk. The first year we heard sirens in the street we were worried until we realised that Santa had hitched a ride in the local fire truck. The grandchildren love this and stand out on the footpath as Santa calls out to them. They can approach the truck and he gives them lollies in a little bag. It adds to the magic of the evening.

Another tradition that I have continued on from when I was a child is the reading of the story “The Night Before Christmas” before everyone leaves to go their separate ways on Christmas Eve. Mum had this beautifully illustrated book. It was red as I recall. We’ve changed it a little slightly here and we have the “Aussie Night Before Christmas”. I’ll share it with you in another post. The lights are all put out and the story is read by candlelight. These days, the children have some of those little battery operated candles but it is still nice. In times gone by I replaced my mother as the reader of the story and now the Tween reads to the grandchildren.

First thing Christmas morning, the Tween (she still tells us she believes) sneaks out to check her Santa sack and then comes in to wake us and show us what she has. We get up at a reasonable hour (the children learned that if the sun wasn’t up, neither were we) and gather around the Christmas Tree. The Garden Gnome dons the santa hat. Nothing gets handed out until Mum (me) has a cup of tea in her hand though. This is made by the children. (Although I have a photo of one Christmas where the GG, the middle child and my baby brother were all in the kitchen making my cup of tea). Presents are handed out one at a time and we all watch and wait for the recipient to open it before the next one is handed out. It takes time but it is so worth it.

Breakfast on Christmas Morning is the same for us every year. We have ham off the bone with cheese on croissants, fried eggs, hash browns, fried tomato & onion and a glass of champagne (or apple juice for the younger ones). The champagne is served in the good flutes.

After breakfast, we usually rest a little and play with our Christmas presents until it is time to go visiting. This year, everyone is coming to us so the morning will be much more relaxed. I’m looking forward to this very much.

So, there you have some of our traditions. I’d love to hear some of yours. 🙂

Christmas is Coming

Welcome to my corner of the world where I’m doing my best to get into the spirit of the season. I’ve decorated the inside of the house and the Garden Gnome has done the outside. I still have to take photos of the lights (both inside and out). Last night we attended the Kindy Graduation and Christmas concert of one of our grandchildren. It is always heartwarming to see the unbridled joy of those who are young. We smiled and clapped as they sang their Christmas songs and laughed when they just kept singing the chorus of Jingle Bells over and over throughout the whole song, completely forgetting the verses. As you can see from the photo of our tree, the Diva enjoys our Christmas tree. She has been very good this year with only a few of the decorations finding their way onto the floor so she can play with them. I think the train scares her. This might have something to do with the story I heard about the First Born attempting to run her over with the train the other day.

Tonight we need to do our food shop for Christmas. I have discovered some very nice lollies (candy) at Aldi that I need to go back and buy for Christmas. I’m afraid that opening the packet to test them might not have been the best idea. Now I need to get some more for the grandchildren 😉 I have chopped the fruit for our Christmas cake and it has been soaking in rum for the past few days. The cake needs to be baked this weekend. I am making a Choc Ripple Yule Log for the work Christmas lunch so I need to purchase the ingredients for that. The Tween is champing at the bit to make the Rum Balls and Apricot Balls. I’m not sure if she wants to do gingerbread again this year. I’ll have to discuss that with her. We bake every year. I should do a blog post about that as well.

Tomorrow we are meeting up with friends of ours and going for a drive to a country pub for lunch. We haven’t taken our old cars out for a drive for a little while. He has an old Ford and we have a HZ Holden Premier. Last time we went to this pub for a lunch before Christmas, one of the locals had dressed as Santa and was out on the verandah waving to everyone going past. We may spot him again this year 😉

I have almost finished my quilt. The tracks are crooked but it adds to the charm of the crazy quilt I think. At least that is what I am telling myself. I just need to add the binding now and then I will show you all. I’m pleased with it.

Well I am a little behind in my blogging and commenting right now but I promise to catch up.

Have a blessed day all 🙂