The lead up to Christmas is stressful enough and it's a natural question for friends to ask ‘what are you doing for Christmas’, hey I do it! But what to say when the response is not what you were expecting - we expect people to be with family and freinds. We expect them to be rushed off their feet with social engagements, shopping, cooking, or preparing for travel.
When the response is not expected, it's hard to disguise the look surprise unless of course, you are in a position to counter offer the unexpected.
Because it was expected that (a) we were going back to Sydney, (b) we'd be having visitors when the response was no to both (a) and (b) but it's just the 3 of us, friends stopped and took a quick breath and said ‘Oh that’s lovely – what I’d give to have just us and the kids on Christmas Day’ was the most popular response.
The grass is always greener, eh?
In the expat world, more often than not, the response would be 'please come join us'. Friends in Sydney used to host an 'orphans Christmas' with all their overseas friends who were without family - always thought that a great idea.
I guess if you are ‘home’ and you ‘choose’ to have a day to yourselves it’s fine, but when it’s not by choice, but by circumstance, it’s very different. We decorated the house, put up the tree full of ornaments that remind us of people and places, and set the table.
We did have a lovely day together. It was quiet, but enjoyable. Not OTT, certainly not one to repeat, but enjoyable nonetheless.
We Skyped with the inlaws (Sydney) while MissM opened their gifts. She then started building the Lego they gave her while they looked on from afar.
It was very funny to watch 5 adults on screen just looking, taking amongst themselves while MissM built Lego. We left them to it, and had a coffee, came back and they were still watching while she was still building.
Skyping family and doing normal every day stuff in front of them has become our norm.
|Opening Xmas presents via Skype with her Grandma and Pa in Sydney|
We’d Skype’d my brother and his family Christmas Eve our time so we could watch the kids open their gifts, Christmas morning their time. And so another reason for a geography lesson to explain time zones took place.
MissM opened a few gifts from them with the usual oohhh’s and aaaah’s. We agreed to phone Christmas morning our time as Mum was going to be there and we could hear all about their day.
We watched Top of the Pops and the Queens Christmas Message on BBC, which is apparently ‘what you do’, or so colleagues told DH.
Due to the long interactive Skype sessions, we had brunch (too late for breakfast), which meant lunch became dinner as no one was hungry. It didn't matter as we were free to do what we wanted, when it suited (one benefit I guess from having a family centric day)
DH and I have decided we are much better catering for larger numbers as our times were off for most of the meal. If it wasn’t so funny it would have been pathetic. Dry, shrunken veggies, slightly dry turkey and a store bought Xmas pud that was not very tasty. Thank goodness my roulade worked!
So, with a rather forgettable Christmas behind us, here’s to enjoying the next few days while DH has time off work, and NYE.