This is Audrey, reporting to you live from Holiday Break 2k18. On Dec 20, I woke up to 12 blissful days off. And I freaking needed it. Yeah, I realise that’s a big statement for someone who took 5 weeks off in October. But November and December have been a little tough. We both worked for like, ever, and had some un-fun changes in the never ending work. I also went through a rough patch for a few weeks where just getting out of bed was a struggle, so I just leaned into the skid. And the last three days before the break were filled with difficult people and difficult, need this done at the 11th hour, super last minute tasks. So by the 19th, I was more than ready to put my out of office on and sleep for 12 days. Continue reading “Christmas! v 2018”→
Ohhh, Christmas holiday. It didn’t get here one second soon enough. With Joel working long hours and me working long hours ALL FREAKIN MONTH, we’ve both been counting down to getting a few days of sanity back. Continue reading “Christmas! v. 2017”→
On Thursday, Joel and I had our traditional Tree Party, officially kicking off Christmas 2016.
Tree Party started when Joel was visiting me in the States in 2013, and we’ve had a version of it every year since. It’s basically us and some tasty beverages putting the tree together while eating Pigs in Blankets and watching a movie. It’s fun, it’s adorable, and I’m not even ashamed to admit that this year I started to get excited for it in September.
This year, I found a tall-ish fake tree for $12, tree lights for $8, and jewel toned baubles for $10. I think it’s the most Christmassy our tree has ever looked, and I’m really jazzed for it.
I’m a little obsessed with it. I’ve been tinkering with ornament placement since Thursday, but every day I look at it and it makes me smile. I’m happy I went with multi-coloured baubles instead of red and green. It’s definitely making me think “Fun Summer” Christmas, not “holy fuck it’s hot and why isn’t it snowing” Christmas, which is awesome.
I keep hearing from my friends who have toddlers that parents only have a handful of magical Christmas seasons with their kids. At first I thought it was a bit bullshit- Christmas is awesome no matter how old you are. I always looked forward to Christmas, because it was the one of the few times my family were together laughing, eating, watching movies and having a good time – amidst the occasional drama flair up from visiting family members or my over-worked parents. With the exception of Christmas 2001 when the whole year was kinda shit and my dad was overseas for Christmas and each of us were going through some form of depression so we just said “no fucks given” and left the tree in the garage and decorated a $5 fern plant with household nicknacks on Christmas Eve (which sounds really sad, but it ended up being a fun time and thinking about it always makes me happy), my parents always made a big, big effort to make Christmas a big, big deal. We always had a huge tree with all the trimmings, presents, a giant breakfast, and lots of hang times. So the season has always been magical and happy for me.
But then I thought a bit more, and I realised that I can’t remember the last time decorating the tree as a family was a thing. And that bums me out a little. I always loved that my parents decorated for the holidays, but I never invested in the experience. And at some point I stopped participating. I mean, I helped my dad a few times by handing him tools when he hang the lights outside, but mostly I just reaped the coziness that came from their efforts.
So maybe you do only get a brief time where the magic is real and your kids want to be a part of it all – when decorating the tree is serious bizness, when waking up to open your advent calendar, or in my case – move the candy cane from the snowman calendar to the tree, when hunting for hidden presents is a top priority, and leaving treats for Santa is non-negotiable. But it seems to come back in full force when they start their own families, and their own little traditions.
The weekend started off right: last minute gift errands, cronuts and coffee, then baking a cake, gift wrapping, and heading to Joel’s dad’s house for dinner.
Christmas was a day of spoils – of presents, fantastic food, and good times with Joel’s family at the Christmas Barbeque.
I don’t know if it was the slightly cooler temperatures, or what, but this year felt about 800% more Christmassy than it did last year. There were heaps of love and fun and good feelings all around, and everyone seemed to have a better time celebrating this year. I still missed my family like whoa, but I didn’t feel like they were too far away.
Joel was gone by 7:30 this morning for work for massive Boxing Day Sales, which sucked. And I’ve done nothing more than talk to my mom on the phone, build a 3D dinosaur, play with my Christmas toys, and eat cake for breakfast:
It’s 3 PM and I’m still in pajamas, watching trash TV. Annnd it’ll stay that way.
Somewhere toward the end of November, our TV died. I’d like to explain that my absence here has been due to a TV-less Revolution that occurred as a result. That we picked up books and played outside and went on more after work adventures. In real life, though, we’re both so tired at the end of the workday that we just collapse into a Netflix hole while we’re huddled around my laptop. And since I hate using the Word Press app on my phone and my computer has been otherwise occupied, I haven’t felt the urge to write.
Losing our TV was sad, and we mourned its loss for many days. Mostly though, we just miss being able to hear movies at a decent volume (seriously, why is the volume so low Netflix and Amazon? Do you know I fall asleep to you often so you’re just being polite?). But, all was not lost. Joel got a great deal on a new TV through his job, and yesterday he brought it home. And it’s beyond fantastic.
Santa sent another something in the mail yesterday. I ambled over to the post office and picked up a HUGE box filled with Christmas cheer sent from my parents.
I knew they were sending us a few things, but not a high chair box filled with stockings, wrapped gifts, and American tasty treats. I was overwhelmed with the gesture. I seriously have the best parents ever ( the best parents ever who have lived overseas before and who know how good it feels to get presents, haha) and I immediately felt bad that I couldn’t get a box out to them in time. That whole being unemployed for a month really kicked my Christmas budget in the butthole. I managed to get a couple things sent over in time, but they’ll at least have an awesome President’s Day box to open. I am nothing if not observant of all fine US holidays.
I knew this would be a weird/hard Christmas, as it’s the first one that I’ve ever spent away from my family, and it’s the first one I’ve experienced in summer. Because it’s been hot and sunny all December, and Joel has been working crazy hours, and I’m still new to the country, I tried to manufacture as much Christmas spirit as I could. I decorated my desk at work, and I participated in a couple of charity drives and Secret Santa (which, as a temp who knows no one, was just as awkward as it could be). Joel bought me a Christmas theme table cloth and every once in a while he breaks out into Mariah Carey. We had our tree party, and a couple presents stashed under there. It felt like Christmas, and it was pretty great.
But it still felt so strange to be away from everyone. I knew I would really miss the Christmas traditions with my family–just as much as I’m going to miss my family. But, as all of my siblings grew up, got married, and started their own families, they started doing their own thing. We all make contact on the day, but it’s been about 10 years since all 6 of us have been under the same roof on Christmas morning. What’s remained constant is me spending the day with my parents. I cared less about the presents and more about the fatty fat breakfast skillets my mom makes, the endless coffee and mimosa refills, and spending the day hanging out in my pajamas watching movies and taking naps. (ok, I know that’s what I do every weekend, but it’s different on Christmas. Christmas makes it magical.)
But now, it’s time to do my own Christmas thing, and that’s awesome. This year is crazy special, because it’s the first Christmas Joel and I get to spend together. We have our pimped out little tree, and we’re going to eat dinosaur shaped pancakes and open presents in the morning before we spend the day with his mum and her family. I get to wear a paper crown. And I’ll be able to Skype with my parents as we open Dad’s traditional Duct Tape wrapped present and presents wrapped in Hanukkah paper (long story short, I used to get mistaken for Jewish, and it’s a thing in my family now). So I might not be with my family, but I’ll be with my family. My Joel family.
And when I manage to get my box shipped off, I’ll have awesome President’s Day presents with my family.
Or Valentines Day. /punctual
With that, I’m off to bake a pie and finish some errands. Merry Christmas, everyone!