For the first 27 years of my life, Christmas each year was largely the same. Christmas Eve was 5pm dinner at Nanny & Grandpa’s (Dad’s parents) house, as being Eastern European, they celebrated on Christmas Eve. Then Christmas Day was a relaxed morning, then 2pm onwards we’d have my Mum’s side of the family Christmas. Mum and her siblings would take turns each year hosting, and us nine cousins would have a blast together.
Over the years as the cousins partnered up, we would share Christmases with our new families, and because Frith and I lived away from Brisbane for a decade, we shared ourselves around between both of our families. And after Nanny and Grandpa passed away in 2011, Christmas Eve has always been different.
This is my third Christmas in Brisbane since Frith died, and each one has been a little bit different, but spending the afternoon with my cousins and families is something that has stayed constant. It’s my favourite part of Christmas.
This year for Christmas Eve, my friend Kate and I decided to start a new tradition of her and her family coming over, as well as our dear friends Beth and Adam. Easy dinner of hot dogs and burgers, a very rigged present swapping game, the kids had a blast and it was a roaring success!
A new Christmas Eve tradition has begun.
Christmas morning this year and last has been the same and has been great. I hide a gift the night before for the kids to unwrap in the morning, and then they are allowed to come and wake me up at 7am. Then I give them their gifts from me. I usually try to adhere to something they want, something they need, something to wear (which they got the night before) and something to read. Another new tradition.
Mum and Dad turned up a bit after 9am with croissants for brekky and more presents. Chance had picked out this bag for me, and created and added his own touch to it… oh my heart….
We then headed over to a family friend’s house around 11am for a couple of hours.
I had kept the gifts from my brother and sister-in-law to give to the kids when we got there. Lego Lego Lego!
It kept them mostly occupied, and I even got to have some adult conversations which is always a welcome change. Then it was time to hit Aunty Donna’s house, and straight into the pool for some Bluey-inspired classic catches!!
I had so. much. fun. Lots of laughing with the kids and they loved me getting in with them. I had made the decision a week or so ago that I would get in too, and we all had a blast. Then it was time for some serious cousin catch ups.
Followed by our traditional present swapping game and the present I picked was an absolute cracker. No way was I swapping this one – it’s like it was made for me! I’ve already hung it up with my Family Scrabble board. Can you pick who is who??
The kids had another swim, we tucked into the world’s best trifle for dessert, then we drove home. We got home after 8:30pm and after getting the kids into bed and hanging out the togs and towels, I was faced with this mess. But I didn’t care one bit. I sat amongst it with a cold glass of bubbly and finally had some time to answer the messages I had been getting throughout the day. The perfect end to a wonderful day.
It’s easy to be sad.
It’s getting easier to be happy.
With family like mine, friends who always have my back, and my gorgeous kids who are a wonderful daily reminder of Frith, my happy moments are starting to outweigh the hard ones. I absolutely could not have gotten here on my own.
Thank you all, and Merry Christmas 2020 xx