Thursday, December 22, 2011
And so it is Christmas....
Last night we had our Christmas party with extended family. My Mum was one of 6, and we've always been surrounded by her side of the family. So much of my childhood is wrapped up with memories of these people.
Eating pikelets and scones around Grandmas kitchen table while drinking tea every Sunday afternoon, playing madly with my cousins every school holidays, sleepovers, lunches, BBQ's.... and of course, Christmas.
I've never been able to wrap my head around the concept of a quiet Christmas. Because in my family, Christmas has always been a big, crazy mess of people, noise and excitement. Every year, without fail, as many of us as possible would get together at Grandma's house to celebrate. We would open presents together, play and laugh and then eat.... and eat and eat.
Over the years, things have changed, people have moved, gone, new people have been welcomed to the family, the house became ours (my parents bought it from my Grandma), and then it became my sister's (they bought it from Mum and Dad).... we take the whole concept of 'keeping it in the family' to a whole new level huh? It's a little like 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' without the Greek.
These days, we've settled down a little. Sunday afternoon tea still happens, but not on such a grand scale.... it's quieter without Grandma. We don't actually get together for a huge shebang on Christmas Day now, we've broken off into our own little empires with my Aunties and Uncles now the new Grandparents. But at some point before Christmas as many of us a possible still get together.
We're starting new traditions now. My family for instance, will start Christmas Day with a big breakfast. We'll all go to church, then go back to the family home to open presents. Later on, we have a big elaborate lunch. Then in the afternoon we sleep off the elaborate lunch, and sometimes we might get together again to play games and moan about how we couldn't possibly eat another thing. It will be big and noisy and fun. (This is assuming, of course, that I'm not in hospital for Christmas) With four daughters and their families my parents have signed themselves up for a lifetime of company. But I don't think they would trade it for anything.
Last night, I was watching Georgie with all her Great-Aunties and Great-Uncles, her cousins and Grandparents and Aunties and Uncles.... and I just love it. She has people. Don't get me wrong, we are far from perfect. But there's just something so great about the belonging. This is our tribe. We may not be anything special or extraordinary. No different to any other of the millions of families celebrating Christmas this year. But I do love the fact that we belong together. I'm very grateful for my family. They are one of the reasons we live where we do. And it's just good.
What will your Christmas look like this year?