Yes, it's beginning to look alot like Christmas around here.
We put the tree up (the kids do the tree by themselves now!!) and all the decorations at the beginning of December in time for our annual Christmas party, usually in the first week. It's the best thing we ever did, as not only do we clean THE ENTIRE HOUSE, it gives us a deadline for all the things we've been meaning to plant/fix/get rid of... and have our home looking its best, even for just one day as we make merry with all of our nearest and dearest friends and family.
As our kids and their friends get older, we were concerned that they're getting too old for the obligatory chill session where late in the day they squeeze together on the sofa for a movie. After talking it over we decided to give over to the screen thing and make their bedroom a den with cushions and lots of rugs and comfy spaces to sit and play on hand held games, with optmistic hopes of cards and board games thrown into the mix. This worked beautifully at times throughout the day, but we were surprised and delighted to find them all crammed on to the sofa around the same time as in years gone by, watching kids movies - enjoying it as much as they ever did!
Some things change, some stay the same.
Our Christmas Party sets the scene for us to embark on the ridiculousness of Christmas - paves the way for the shopping, the cooking, the wrapping, the visiting, the end of year parties, concerts and presentations. It's crazy, isn't it??
What I do love doing is singing carols at my sister's Christmas party that follows later in the month. Our family is not one of tuneful singers, to say the least, but in recent years we have derived much joy from warbling up the back of her lounge room, crowded with neighbours and friends, some clutching instruments, some humming shyly, some belting out Good King Wenceslas for all they're worth. It gives such a feeling of joy and release to be singing - no matter how many times and how many elevator renditions we have heard by now, nor it seems, how bad we sound!
I love it really - it's exhausting but great - a constant, progressive party if you like - whereas my husband is not so fond! Having said that, Mr Bah Humbug insists we sit and watch Christmas movies early on the morning of his first day of holidays - usually "It's a Wonderful Life" with James Stewart, and/or "A Christmas Carol" with Alastair Sim.
They are such lovely movies and really come back to the spirit of Christmas and the goodwill it brings - a real chance to mend breaks, boost relationship investment and take stock of all that is good in our lives.
Our motivation is renewed for the last push to get through the final stages of packing and cooking and wrapping before we set off to the weekender where the whole extended family gathers for Christmas Day.
Emails are sent, menus are organised, beds are allocated and the boat is fuelled up for the many trips it makes from cars to house with all the trimmings and trappings needed.
However, it's only when he's up the hill, on the deck, bags unpacked, presents under the tree and food in the fridge Mr will relax entirely, as do we all.
What are your plans for Christmas and the holidays? I hope it's a merry time for you too.