They don’t call it the silly season for nothing. I went to Hawaii on holi and what did I buy? I silly self-inflating reindeer from Walmart. It makes me smile though…
As an agnostic, I’m side-stepping the what you believe thing with Christmas, and focussing instead on the traditional festivities side of things, as I muse on the sillier facts and fiction of a few key elements (as well as some suggestions that have served me well over the years).
Fact: the average Brit apparently consumes 7000 calories on Christmas day alone (that’s about 3 times ‘usual’) and gains 6 pound in the week between Christmas and New Year.
Fiction: Cooking for a large group can be stressful. Nah, only if you let it be. Preparing food with and for friends and family is enjoyable when everyone brings something and then pitches in to prep and tidy. Plus, do lots the day before. Turn the Christmas carols up and enjoy.
How about? Finding an old favourite family recipe and recreating it with a new generation. This year I’ve made my late mum’s Christmas pud. Won’t be the same as hers I think, and certainly our first Christmas without her is not the same full stop – but I have enjoyed seeing her writing in the recipe book, and learnt some new cooking skills.
Fact: Well, it’s not a fact, but Christmas Day seems to make it acceptable to have a glass of bubbles before midday. Helps one with the cooking prep and the pressie opening.
Fiction: The more alcohol you drink, the better looking the company gets. Too much alcohol in fact can make for ugly, unguarded behaviour all round and ruined reputations. Pace yourself.
How about? If you’ve got spare capacity with non – cooking sorts, get them onto the drinks. Get the younger crowd into some cocktail/ mocktail making to keep them occupied!
Fact: New Zealanders are spenders at Christmas time. We spent a total of $2.64 billion in the first 14 days of December, up 6.1 % on last year.
Fiction: I need to buy a present for everyone. That’s a nonsense. There’s no joy in running around trying to buy presents for way too many people with not enough money to do so, creating a lose / lose situation. You spend money you don’t have on gifts people probably don’t want.
How about? Making a family draw where you collectively come up with an agreed dollar value, you pick a name out of the hat, then everyone suggests what they might like for a pressie to the whole group. The result is put anonymously under the tree. Less cost to the buyer as only one decent gift to buy, not lots of smaller ones, and a better pressie for the recipient, that they actually want.
Fact: Santa’s sleigh needs to move at 650 miles per second or 3,000 times the speed of sound, with no stops.
Fiction: Santa is real. Yes, he is fiction, but we all seem to buy into it with the little ones and love seeing their excitement. It’s the undoing of the fiction as they realise it’s simply not logical that presents some potential challenges.
How about? Going for it while they believe. In our household, we did the leaving out of the note and something to eat and drink for Santa (duly replied to and food and drink consumed) …but we also ventured outside. For years we’ve had reindeer poo (c/o the local pony club) alongside sleigh marks on the lawn, with carrots half eaten and water bowls tipped over. Last year I convinced my children to do this on the grass verge for the little children on the street, who all came to wonder on it in their PJs. Sweet, so sweet.
Right, off to find reindeer poo now. I’m all enthused! Merry Christmas to you and yours. Be kind to the people you love, and even those you don’t. A bit of kindness goes a long way in the world to making things right I reckon. Catch you in 2017.