For years I have been looking for Xmas Perfect—the family Xmas portrayed in Enid Blyton storybooks, TV commercials, and American sitcoms. Knowing that I can’t find Xmas Perfect and will end up making my own Xmas hell is a reality I have to face. I wrote another post on the festive season a year or two ago; nothing has changed really.
I come from a family of three whose idea of Xmas was to put up a tree the day before, and pretend we were having a good time pulling crackers and eating turkey. Trouble was – no one could be bothered. And I’ve inherited this —even with a family of my own. The fuss, the tinsel, and carols give me a headache. The dreaded question: What are you doing for Xmas? My dream response is… ” I am married to a Hindu and we do not celebrate this festival.” Not quite true as my entire UK/Indian family all celebrate Xmas with gusto.
Maybe I have to learn to be a grownup and celebrate Christmas my way. Our Number One Xmas tree is drawn on the kitchen blackboard. Our other Xmas tree is a bright green wooden structure made from plasterboard offcuts by Daughter One. Daughter Two hated both trees and wanted to be like a normal family—with a fir tree. We compromised by having a real Xmas Tree every other year. We gave up sending cards long ago. But where it all falls down, given we are such scrooges and non-traditionalists, is that we still give presents. It is the one element of Xmas that we do well, indeed we probably do this to compensate the kids for being such terrible naysayers. Which if course makes no sense whatsoever, and we probably should go for counselling.
We give one another Christmas lists which usually starts with the most outrageous thing and works down to something more reasonable. I’ve saved a couple of my kid’s letters to Santa — always good to break out on Xmas Day when there’s a lull in the conversation. One year, I told the kids to go on my Pinterest page “Want” and select from that. They found some of the items beyond their means such as the vintage Camel Tshirt, the 1962 Chevrolet Corvette, and the much-coveted Vivienne Westwood Union Jack wall hanging.
Maybe, in our own funny way, we are creating our own Xmas perfect. Celebrating with close friends who don’t have family in Australia created one family tradition. As the children have grown it’s become less about the presents and more about food. I thank goodness for the Coles and Woolworths Xmas magazines which repeat the same recipes year after year. Some foods have become a tradition: Beef Wellington, and Ice Cream plum pudding; Nutty’s Nut Roast and gravy which was put on the menu when Daughter One was a vegan. Thank you Edgars Mission for that recipe! Now we all love the Nut Roast so much it’s permanently on the Xmas Day menu. Along with retro prawn cocktails, and a Mango trifle. And as the kids have grown up and we all want to have a drink starting the day with a Pimms cup, it is simpler to just stay put.
Staying put is a wonderful option. No need to worry about drink driving, small talk and surreptitious glances at the watch. Staying put also can mean not attending any Xmas parties, doing no shopping (except for food) and putting up minimal decorations- see above for Xmas tree. Staying put means avoiding hideous Christmas photos at the office party and trying to work out the earliest escape route from the function. Staying put is sitting around the lounge room making the family watch Meet Me in St Louis which usually gets turned off and is replaced by one of the Harry Potter films.
That’s my Xmas Perfect – how about yours?
And despite everything written above —have a Merry Xmas!
Please note: Xmas deliberately spelt that way. So there.