It’s Christmas morning here in New Zealand. And as I sit here enjoying my morning coffee, having done a few chores and taken the dog for a walk .. I find myself pondering “Peace on earth” and all the other sayings trotted out at this time of year.
I think really, it isn’t peace on earth we should all strive for. It’s peace within. If we attain that – we’re winning.
A short time ago I was reading overnight texts, emails & facebook updates. Everyone is posting gorgeous pics of kids and trees and gifts and the like. I have no tree, no xmas decos, nothing to say it’s Xmas here in the way of decorations. There’s other history behind why Xmas is of little joy to me, not appropriate for this blog.
However, I have to admit for the first time in a few years: I feel at peace this Christmas.
And it’s nice.
Happy Christmas to you. Where-ever you are and however you celebrate this date: I hope it is safe, relaxing and enjoyable.
PS Why the title? A fave kiwi saying is “she’ll be right, mate” It seemed apt to Xmas-it-up a bit!
This is inspired by the dearth of recent blog entries on WordPress with the theme of “what Xmas means to me”..
For me, Xmas means: Bedlam in shops, traffic jams, harried people, broke people, crying kids, godawful music, tinsel, dead trees, turkeys and pigs. THEN there is the fact you can’t go shopping on the day, tough shit if you need milk. We’re shut. Deal with it. Selfish, huh! 😉
Of course, Xmas also means: Summer holidays, swimming at the beach, BBQs, strawberries, cherries, champagne, parties and pavlova. Of course these are my adult Xmas “feelings” about this time of year.
When I think back to my childhood, Christmas meant excitement, gifts, people smiling, laughter, good food and being allowed to stay up a bit later than normal. Plus a whole host of other things that were usually positive .. but not always ..
In my childhood we didn’t open any gifts until 5pm on Xmas day. Not so positive, tis fair to say. We did get to eat strawberries, fruit cake and drink (watered down) sherry for breakfast. Not all bad. We got to stay up late so we could actually see the lights on everyone’s trees .. because it’s daylight savings here in Dec, so it isn’t dark til after 9pm!
My family did the “clan gathering” thing every single year and, as far as it goes for a kid, nothing could be more fun! However for the wimmen-folk I’m gonna guess it meant cooking for 12 days solid in 30+ degree temperatures, because everyone always said “yes” to the question: “Shall we stick to traditional Xmas fare?”
I wonder how much my Grandmother, Mother and aunts wished just once we’d all say “let’s just chuck a snag and some shreemp on the Barbee” – but we were never asked.. traditional was de rigour!
It’s Christmastime after all!
And so it was that at lunchtime we would sit down to a large table groaning with a giant glazed ham, there was always roast lamb or beef and of course all the trimmings. Jugs brimmed with dark meaty gravy, apple sauce, mint sauce, mustards and naturally there would be tureens filled with every vegetable known to man – many of them roasted, to ensure the kitchen temp never dropped below a balmy 45 degs C (some 113F, I think) ..
And since Dec is the height of Summer, there was never any breeze, except for when we kids would whizz by on a mission to grab some tasty treat when we hoped Motherly eyes were distracted.
Those red faced, wooden spoon weilding women were generally on to us tho .. It took a lot of careful planning to nab a biscuit tin without being caught. But Oh the spoils when we succeeded, because Grandma’s pantry was positively brimming with tins that contained a cornucopia of sweet treats: Sugar crystal topped shortbread, fruit tarts, sultana and / or date loaves, pikelets, gingerbread, Belgium biscuits, Afghans – you name it, she had them.
But I digress..
Lunchtime was our main meal and we knew that – along with the aforementioned gorgeous food, we’d also have to save a little room for pavlovas with whipped cream, strawberries and cream, trifle, and the piece de resistance: Gran’s flaming christmas pudding with runny, brandy laced custard (How I loved finding the little coins inside!) and of course: fruit tarts and fruit cake with cheeses and then chocolates to finish.
As kids, this all just magically appeared not unlike an Hogwart’s feast. How those house-elves had to slave to ensure a successful dinner was had by all..
Nowadays, nothing on this planet can convince me to attend a family Xmas. Everyone is still there incl lots more kids and just as much food and presents as ever, but .. and maybe my tolerance levels are lower than they were .. now I just think the whole thing is silly. And I really dislike seeing the worn out faces of the women, as the day progresses.
I wish we could all just ignore the fact it’s xmas and sit around with some crackers, some cheese and some wine .. AND relax.
And you know what?
My Grandma says she wishes the same! Usually around the same time each year she calls me to say “you’re not coming again this year, are you dear?” I swear, I hear envy in her tone but nothing more! lol
Ah yes, Christmas. A time of peace and joy. Or of stress and of exhaustion.. ?
Ultimately the choice is yours once you are no longer a child who has to attend along with the rest of your family and I choose to do mine either alone or with friends, in a relaxed and pleasant way.
So, what does Xmas mean to you .. And how do you and yours celebrate this more than crazy tradition?
for another year. Always makes me laugh how everyone bangs on about how stressful Xmas is. Is that because the date changes each year that you’re so surprised and not ready for it? Hmm.. Anyway for your daily dose of cynicism, well let’s just say you’re in the right place!
I am nursing a less than pleasant blend of sunburn and headache after a fantastic day in the sunshine with an odd assortment of people. Turns out splashing oneself in champagne doesn’t save you from burning. I mean heck, who knew .. 😉
So this morning I’m sitting here sipping strong coffee (and swallowing drugs as fast as I can) and I check my emails to find one from the daughter of a friend of mine.
She wanted to share with me some pictures of her xmas pressie, from her boyfriend. They’re 15. It’s adorable in that eye-stabbing kind of way.
And as I flicked thru the pics I realised what a nasty piece of work I was, cos I muttered to myself “Yeah cos that’s gonna happen”..
You see, the dear boy (and he does seem sweet) had bought her a teddy bear and on the bear’s shirt was their names and the words: “together forever” .. Which is what bought about my cynical comment.. I know, like I said – nasty piece of work 😉
Speaking of work, I aint got none! For 2 glorious weeks! Which means one thing: NO need to get up early. Which means what else!?
You guessed it.. It’s party season! And in 3 hours I am off to the first of many Summer BBQ’s .. Funny to think we’re on the day after Xmas while you’re all half way through yours..
I trust that everyone is having a “wonderful Xmas time”, as the song goes 🙂
PS Yeah, sorry about Santa being late…
But I’ve always had a thing for a man in a suit..
If, by some quirk of circumstance, I was given the chance to go back in time and give myself some advice I think maybe I’d start by saying “it’s OK to make mistakes”. I was raised to believe that mistakes were failures.. When in fact I now know that they are simply a chance to learn something .. I spent my teens and 20’s worrying every time I screwed something up (which was reasonably often cos duh it’s what we do best at that age!) and that was not time or energy well spent.
1. Regret less. That would be something I’d say to my younger self.
2. Go with your gut. Tune it finely, then listen to it!
3. Love. Love wisely, love deeply. And love often.
4. Friends come and friends go. Enjoy them while they’re friends, let them go when they are not. There was a number of times I fretted over a friendship that faded for reasons I couldn’t identify.. I know now it sometimes just happens.
5. Dark chocolate and red wine are health food. Enjoy!
6. Surround yourself with beauty.
7. Swim naked whenever presented with the chance. It’s a wonderful feeling. Not after the company xmas party though.. Decorum suggests at least keeping your sox on.
8. Don’t live your life trying to impress others. Turns out they either don’t care or they like you just the way you are.
9. Plan for the worst – but don’t welcome or invite it into your life.
10. Make different mistakes. Refer earlier “they’re lessons” statement 😉
11. Save money – but don’t be so worried about saving anything else. Sleep in the best linen you can afford. Eat jam sandwiches off that exquisite dinner set your Mother kept in the cupboard ’til she died. That last drop of beautiful perfume is best applied to the nape of your neck before you go out on a date than it is going sour in the bottle at the back of the cupboard.
The saddest task I did after my Mum died was to dispose of all the things she felt she had to save.
There’s probably more, like the fact I think laying back cloud watching is something everyone should make time to do. Or the obvious ones like “be kind”. But I think those 11 are my top tips to a younger me.
And now, it’s time to go and sit in the sun and drink some ice cold champagne, eat some gorgeously ripe strawberries and send Christmassy texts to all my friends.
Merry Christmas to me .. And to you 🙂
It’s Xmas eve here in my part of the world, the sun is blazing as I toddle around my apartment in shorts & singlet (the doors & windows are open to try and keep the place at a nice temperature)
I’ve got rock music blaring. I’ve got champagne chilling. I’ve got gorgeous food in the fridge. Friends threatening to drop by all through the day tomorrow (and / or this evening) Oh yeah and I’ve got scotch fillet ready for my cats.
I’m ready Christmas – bring it 🙂
Whatever you are doing this Xmas, wherever you are – I wish for you a safe and enjoyable day.
With shit loads of presents, food and wine 😉
PS the random tree pics are the official Christmas tree in New Zealand flowering just in time for December – I love them!
I had a lovely experience today and want to share it with you! I was out shopping and realised that I was standing outside an old workplace, from some time back.. so on a whim I decided to go in and see if I recognised anyone still.
Bad start – the receptionist had changed!
I smiled as I backed away into the lift and headed off to one of the floors I used to work on. Peeking thru the locked glass doors, I spied a friendly face and was promptly dragged onto the floor – hugs and cuddles all round!
Within a matter of minutes, people from other floors had turned up and a full blown party atmosphere had erupted. It was hilarious. There were, of course, a whole heap of people who had no bloody idea who I was. And they were surreptitiously peeking over their cubicle barriers wondering wtf all the noise was about as I chattered and caught up with my old colleagues.
It was only an hour, but it was fantastic!
As I left the building with cries of “come back again soon, we miss you” and promises of catching up over the holiday period ringing in my ears I had to smile – it was hard not to after such a lovely visit.
As I walked along I started thinking about how different I am now, to when I was young a long, long time ago.
You see, I was raised in a traditional, very conservative family. And I was a frightfully well-behaved and quiet child. With an overly strong parental influence applied to my upbringing and young adult years, I was never the life or soul of any party – I was usually found at home studying or spending time with my family.
To be honest, I didn’t care .. I didn’t know any better, I guess. Life was good, for all I was a little unsure how to handle my peers because they had more relaxed upbringings and were into the more normal ‘stuff’ of teens and young adults.
I’ve long since left home, moved towns and jobs a lot and learned that life outside of my originally cloistered world can be kinda fun for all it can also be a bit scary at times 😉
I love to try new things (why just the other day I had a fajita for the first time.. ghastly though it was!) I love to meet new people. Partly due to nature of my work, but also perhaps my personality type, I can rock up to anyone and engage them in conversation.
What I was lacking as a young adult and child was a confidence that people actually wanted me to be around. Well didn’t that sentence just make you all go awww .. lol By that I mean I wasn’t confident “entering” a social setting and didn’t find it easy to mingle or blend in with a group of people.
No more though!
Whilst I do actually enjoy being alone, I also love being amidst a crowd of people. Preferably ones I like tho! Put me in a crowded mall and I have to fight the urge to punch people. But if it’s a party setting or bar with friends, colleagues and / or family (if they have to be there!) I’m happier than a pig in muck.
Isn’t it curious how we can change throughout our lives? If someone had asked me 30 years ago if I thought I’d ever be begged to attend social gatherings, or have a large and fabulous social life I’d have stammered, blushed and just shaken my head. Inconceivable.
I have no idea quite where I’m going with this so perhaps I’ll hit post and well, actually I’m heading to my new favourite bar with some friends lol
If nothing else it makes people think you got laid? I love misguided people and gosh let’s face it, the planet is simply groaning with them but why (whyyyyy!?) do they all seem to congregate around me?
What the $#@! is she on about? Well, I dunno really. Bear with me and we’ll see where this goes cos it’s 6am and I’m still half asleep. I guess I’m kind of responding to a very sweet email someone sent me after reading my last blog entry.
You see, apparently I am giving off the wrong energy to the universe 😉
SO this is to replace that post with something less “tragic” in tone to a) ensure people do not think I’m about to top myself and to b) remind the universe that I’m a liddle bit crazy but not completely there .. yet 😉
Hmm what to say, what to say .. There’s a reason I don’t tend to blog during the week – I don’t write well under time constraints, clearly!
OK I’ve got it – did you know that I’m that woman? (At 42 I suspect I am too old to call myself a girl) But I digress .. as usual..
I’m that woman.
The one the crazy people on public transport just KNOW to sit next to cos I will talk to you if you engage with me. The one the homeless people on the streets smile at and wave. Preferably from up-wind.. Annoyingly, I’m the one kids gravitate towards too. They can smell my fear?
But that’s nothin’!
Yesterday I was walking along and some gang members (from a very nasty gang) were sauntering along. I didn’t notice them til I was almost in their personal space (which as a rule should be kept very LARGE) I looked up and smiled without really thinking and said “excuse me” and I got the sweetest smile back from this big black bad ass.
He looked as shocked as me, as we side stepped each other and kept on going – it made me smile to think I can even make gang members (who’d beat their own Mother up for a few dollars) smile! Maybe he’ll be nicer to his girlfriend for a few days, who knows!
I kinda like the idea of random things like that. We have a few character homeless people in the city I live and they all know me cos I sneak them drinks (coffee or energy – not bourbon! lol) or sandwiches every now and then. And they are just so surprised each time. OK so they’re coked out of their tiny minds and don’t recognise me: That’s why they’re surprised? 😉
Without wanting to sound Pollyanna-ish, I do love the notion of smiling at the world. Of course, some days when the world has taken a dump on you from a great height, this aint easy to achieve but most days, I find it’s a nice way to be.
Yesterday was a dump-day no two ways about it .. Today I’m gonna rock on out there and see what happens (got my hard hat and brolley just in case) 😉 Happy daze everyone, it’s time to go to work!
WHAT – and I think I genuinely want to try and understand this – gives someone the right to think they can ask someone who’s single “Soo .. (get the tone right k, pity meets patronising is crucial here) what are you going to do about it then, dear?”
Like one might to someone who’s bought the wrong fucking flavoured ice cream for their dinner party ie just pop down to the local store and grab the one I need, thanks.
A girl could go off this time of year, after fielding yet another annual phone call from yet another idiot relative (woman) in my family. In this case we have a woman who’s lived a completely insular life and has NO friggen clue about the world now (she’s in her late 50’s, never worked other than to have a baby and be married since age 20) nor – perhaps more annoying – does she even remotely understand ME.
Cos you know what, people?
I’ve got no fucking idea what I am going to do about it but for all that? I’m not exactly sitting on my fat arse doing nothing.
I support myself in a very nice lifestyle. Sure, I work 60+ hours a week but I LIKE it and I party anytime anyone asks me to, within the work constraint. I am sociable, I am friendly .. I don’t make small children cry when I venture out in public. Unless they annoy me and I am mean to them 😉
The thing is I wonder if people would rock up to a recovering alcoholic who’s gone to their first AA meeting (after realising they’re ripe for change) and go “hey, about the whole drinking thing” .. NO they wouldn’t. In the same way people do not approach overweight people and go “dude, take it easy with the pies k”.
Cos ya know what? (Deja vu lol)
WE FUCKING KNOW WE’RE MIXED UP!
We know we’ve got issues.
We know we need to change.
We know we can do better.
WE KNOW YOU WORRY ABOUT US.
But ya know what? (Jackass)
We aint exactly having a laugh a minute time where we’re at, either be it at AA, Weightwatchers, the gym or immersed in the love life scene. And your inane and misguided comments DO NOT HELP our cause so hows about you fuck the hell off and go back to your sorry little existence and leave me the hell alone.
I did warn it’d be a category 4, yes?
Sorry. Lots of foul language. Lots of anger. Lots of hurt actually cos really .. and I’m struggling not to cry as I type this – I so do not need YOUR shitty views, I can do the soul searching and questioning fine all by myself..
Merry Fucking Christmas.
Christmas is a fantastic time of year when it comes to social events .. I love it! The rest I can take or leave but the parties, I adore. My regular readers may have picked up on the absence of posts this last couple of weeks – this is largely due to that fact that I’m either going out, planning on going out .. Or recovering from going out 😉
Right now I’m in recovery mode, following the company xmas shingdig that totally went off last evening!
Dressed appropriately .. (It is Christmas after all..)
I made my way to a regular haunt for lunch with a friend. “Wait on a minute!” I can hear you saying .. this is a post about the company xmas party – why are you talking about going out to lunch?
Well a gal’s gotta eat! Keep up will you .. geez!
Now the plan was to go have a nice ladies lunch, then head back to work til the party started at 5.30pm. How does the saying go? Oh yeah “the best laid plans”. Indeed..
You see, it was sunny and warm at lunchtime. We sat outside in the sun and drank a lovely bottle of wine whilst eating our gorgeous lunch. It was very relaxing and a nice way to set the scene for the evening ahead…
As happens in a small town, a few other people turned up over an hour or two and of course – joined us but yeah well, all that means is that all of a sudden it was 7pm and I’d been drinking solidly since 12.30. Mm, I know..
Not to be deterred (more to the point I’d received more than a few abusive texts from colleagues demanding to know where I was!) I finally parted company with my lunch friends and made my way to the party around 7.30pm.
By made, I mean staggered ..
FYI staggering upstairs is no mean feat but that’s not the point .. suffice to say, I got there .. I walked in and promptly rocked up to the bar. Awright, open and free bar … my idea of heaven.
I said I was getting drinks for a group and stumbled away with 4 glasses of champagne (shhh it hurts when I laugh damnit) had a guzzle, then went in search of my pals.
Sadly, they had not been drinking since 12 o’clock, like I had. So I suspect they knew I was 3 sheets to the wind but mercifully they’re polite types and said nothing. Which left the floor open for me to say all kinds of shit and as you all know – I am totally good for that! *sigh*
Without going into gory details, I have this vague memory of blathering away to a high ranking govt official. I think I could see fear in his eyes, but hey maybe he was just thirsty? I am also pretty sure I invited myself to move to Mexico with a very hot chick from finance. Dear god let her be straight and hungover today or I’m in SO much trouble.
As with the best parties I got up this morning and did the whole “hmm what happened..?” musing. Generally this involves checking my iPhone to see who had been the (lucky, of course .. snort) recipient of my drunken texts, going thru my wallet and checking out my receipts and then (always last) checking the camera folder on my phone (ugh) ..
Tis fair to say I was ever so slightly surprised to find my clothes on the floor of the bedroom were soaking wet. I like to think it was something to do with the rain we had overnight and not the fact this party was on the waterfront *grimace* I then walked into my kitchen and found a knife on the floor.. A pile of dishes on the bench .. And some egg shells on the couch. WTF?
Yeah well refer to earlier statement: A gal’s gotta eat! I vaguely recall being ravenously hungry when I got home and deciding to make myself some eggs and toast around 3am. Whoever said “don’t drink and drive” has NO idea .. the real risk is gas cooking under the influence of 1856 glasses of bubbles 😉
Ah well, it can always be worse .. least I woke up at home, in my own bed as opposed to this:
And I don’t mean the one where you “recommend” that they perhaps go to their Doctor, for all I am sure that would be immensely awkward.. I mean talking about things that may or may not spook the other person during the conversation, i.e: “So, what are you doing at Xmas?”
Cos I plan on having that conversation this evening with DTR – that’s “drunken text recipient” and the guy I’ve been on some 10 dates with, ever since I sent him a very unambiguous text (under the influence of one too many martinis one evening) about why I felt he should take me out on a date some time.
This comes back to my post where I say I like to plan things .. cos I wanna know what I am doing on Xmas day or more to the point – what I won’t be doing, so that I can plan something else should I feel inclined.
Do you think it’s OK to ask? We are just 20 days from D-Day after all.. It’s totally normal for people to start planning Xmas things in bloody September or October so me asking 3 weeks out can’t really be bad, surely? But we’re also only 10 dates in .. for all it’s been a fast 10, lol
Unghhh decisions.. Think I will just try to “orchestrate” generic Xmas conversations, to get us on the right theme and see what happens..
I dislike the hype, the expense, the crowds in shops and the music. Oh god I hate the music. My definition of hell would be to go shopping on Xmas eve. I can only imagine how bad that has gotta be.
No one can possibly mean “Merry Yuletide to all and sundry” when they’re probably thinking “my feet ache, I’ve been at work since 8am serving customers and wishing them merry everything more times than I can count, the sound system is now playing Hells (jingle) Bells for the 175,769th time this week and I wish you %$#@!’s would let me go home to MY family so I can start to celebrate Xmas too.”
Of course, as a child I thought Xmas was bloody marvellous. Loads of good food, relaxed friends & family, Summer holidays and gifts. What’s not to like!?
More recently and yes – it’s tied in with losing both my parents (I didn’t even need a shrink to know that lol) I’ve just spent it moping around feeling sorry for myself. Pity parties can be fun, in nice weather one can take one’s picnic pity party and hit the beach where you have people relaxing and enjoying themselves around you. It’s kinda hard not to smile as you see kids tearing around with their new toys, happy in the sunshine..
This year, I am torn between going away somewhere or staying put. I’m in a new town. I don’t know my neighbours (not that this worries me overly). I’m pretty sure I’m not seeing DTR because he has kids who will spend some of the day with him and we’re just not in that place of Xmas time together, I’d guess.
I’m a little scared of staying home alone, because I do feel a bit mentally-messy .. how tragic would a blog post on Xmas day be? Geez ..
But anyway, how do you celebrate the 25th December each year? Maybe I can get some ideas from you all!
Bottle of 18yr old single malt and a deck chair on the roof so far holds most appeal..
I’m drinking (only 2 ..fk.. 3 backspaces so far .. woooh @ me .. that now should read 6 .. crap) and blogging.. And I’m cranky. I don’t PMS, surgery has removed that option so when I am a grumpy bitch I OWN it 100% *grin*
But I am grumpy. I’ve been dirnking oh fuck drinking (dinking? hahah shit) all atferbio.. jhesus. AFTERFUCKINGNOON. (This is gonna be hard work, who knew) \\
Why am I grujmpy?
I, am thnking about XMas. mmm Ho ho happy blah blah. So, what ar yo doing for Xmas?
Me, I think zi Will be home aolone.
Bar humbug <– hahah get it?