So, how was your Christmas?

Mine was excellent, thank you.

Our daughters woke at 5.50am, but didn’t start opening presents until 6am, bless them. A couple of years ago, we found that there were no atheists in foxholes on Christmas Eve, but by this year, they had given up even strategic belief in Santa. However, by negotiation we agreed that we would leave some presents at the ends of their beds to open at 6am (no earlier!), and they would get the rest when everyone (read, all the adults) were awake. That worked very well for everyone.

My brother and his son came over for breakfast, which we finished around midday. Then my brother took his son over to his mother’s place, and headed back to his own home for a few quiet hours before coming back to my parents’ place for dinner with his partner and their other children. We had ham and kumara and new potatoes from Mum’s garden and asparagus, followed by raspberry semifreddo and pannacotta and panforte and berries and black doris plum spoom and Christmas mince tarts and limoncello icecream and chocolate macaroons. All home made, of course. My mother outdid herself in the matter of desserts. We finished off with Christmas cake, made by my mum using her mother’s recipe, and iced by me, as has become our custom in the last twenty years or so (for the Christmasses when we are at my parents’ place). For pictures of a beautifully iced Christmas cake, see Christmas Eve cake post at Still Life with Cat.

I so enjoyed spending the day with my family, ‘though I missed the two brothers and their families who were not there this time.

As for my haul of presents, I got Jane Austen DVDs as requested, books and chocolates. I was particularly pleased to be given Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, The Lacuna, which I have been coveting. There was a quiet discussion between my mother and my partner as to who should give it to me (my mother did), which mirrored the conversation between my father and me as to who should give it to Mum (my father did). So we each clutched our copies of The Lacuna and chuckled with delight.

If you celebrate it, how was your Christmas?

Other Christmas reports: Holidays to date at Fuck Politeness, A very good day at Elsewoman, Xmas Day open thread at Hoyden about Town, Christmas 2009 at Blue Milk

16 responses to “So, how was your Christmas?

  1. Glad to hear you had such a nice day! I read and read and read. It was fantastic. :D

  2. The sheer luxury of curling up with a book (or two or three) for a whole day is wonderful. I’m glad you enjoyed your day.

  3. I scored very well with books and book vouchers which double the pleasure ’cause I get to choose after much deliberation!
    It has only taken 55 years for my family to realise books, any books do for me
    Now off to pick fresh raspberries from the garden for frozen summer delight

  4. I am trying not to dwell on the negatives. On the plus side I got some help with the kids which meant I could just sit for a bit. Also I didn’t have to do much housework and NO cooking at my brothers house – thanks to my sister-in-law. I have been able to read a bit and work in the garden as my partner has been home too.

  5. I got over myself and had a great time. My Kiwi SIL is a fantastic cook and baked a ham, a chicken, more roast vegies than we could fit, her Dad’s favourite salad and more. Fantastic. I then took the three year old back to where we were staying for a couple of hours just as a circuit breaker, neither of us slept but a few episodes of Shaun the Sheep did the trick. Then back to my SIL for dessert and a couple more bits of ham, even though we’d sworn we weren’t going to eat dinner. We really loved Howick (outlying suburb of Auckland) and would move there in a flash if we could get equivalent jobs (which unfortunately we can’t).

  6. We had a guest from Laos – I do recommend inviting an “outsider” or someone who would otherwise be on their own. Not only do they enjoy a family Christmas, but their presence does wonders for civilising any problem family members!

    So often in the past I have spent part of Christmas Day at Elsewoman’s gathering – I always brought the meringues. It is an unexpected disjunction to now be reading about her day on her blog, for reasons of distance and other obligations. But our separation is not forever, I hope.

    And Deborah, like your family, ours is always partial to a wide selection of home-made desserts.

  7. We had salad for Christmas lunch. I know it’s the done thing in Queensland but I still missed the roast…. Al refused to wear his indecently short dressing gown whilst playing Santa because he’s gotten it into his head that he looks like Alvin Purple. I got a lovely handbag from Country Road!

  8. I think we may well both have been in NZ at the same time, and maybe even both in Auckland at the same time. Missed opportunities and all that.

    Howick. Outlying. Hmm…. I’m not sure that I’ve ever thought of it that way. We’ve been in Onehunga, ‘though spending most of our time down at Mission Bay, where my partner’s dad lives.

  9. Books is good! A few years back, when I resigned from a job, my colleagues gave me a book vouchers as a farewell gift. I had a lovely day at Borders spending them all.

    I’m feeling just a little envious of the fresh raspberries.

    Thank you for continuing to come by and comments, rayinnz. Sometimes it astonishes me that a somewhat out there NZ feminist living in Australia is talking with a NZ farmer living in Otago (is that right?). This is one of the great gifts of the internet, putting people like us in touch with each other.

  10. Oh dear. I know the feeling of looking for and totting up the positives, rather than just knowing that something is good, and it’s not a good thing. I’m glad you got the reading and gardening time, hopefully a bit refreshing in amongst all the stresses of Christmas.

  11. I enjoyed reading about Elsewoman’s Christmasses past, and her Christmas present. I admire her enormously; she is the sort of person I want to be, along with wanting to be like my mother, and to be like myself.

    Many thanks for your comments here this year, Daleaway. I love hearing your voice, and your wisdom.

  12. I agree, Donna. Salad is wrong. Give me pohutukawa and roast ham any Christmas Day.

  13. I have on New Years Day only just finished celebrating Christmas.

    It started on Christmas Day where Child of the House didn’t wake until after 8! Then my whanau came around for brekkie where I got a brand new kitchenaid mixer. Then out to Piha for Christmas lunch. A few days hiatus and then down to New plymouth for opening of Christmas presents at The Suit’s parents place on New Years eve followed by a Christmas dinner. Then today we had The Suit’s Grandparents around for lunch.

    *Phew*

  14. Unfortunately we spent the day, and a couple of days either side, with a fussy 88-yr-old so the food was, well, traditional (not in a good way!) and bland. Today we have a friend over for a late celebration dinner with roast pork and all the trimmings, fruit salad, etc etc. Better late than never, eh!

  15. And ditto on Elsewoman. I have been a fan of Ann since I heard her speak at Victoria University many years about about ‘unmarried mothers and married unmothers’ – probably about 1988 I think – and read her book on the subject of adoption in NZ. I was delighted to find her blog through your link earlier this year.

  16. I did think about you being in NZ while we were there, but once we got into relaxed mode it all seemed a bit too hard, and hubby isn’t a blogger so it’s difficult to explain why you need to meet someone that you converse with on the internet on occasion. But still, one day.