Counting down to Christmas

A week or so to go:
Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming… and I’ve done very little.
Edinburgh is bloated with pre-Christmas activities. I think perhaps the intention is to distract us from the gloomy weather setting in – so the locals feel cold and are indoctrinated to think ‘ah Christmas is coming’ rather than ‘ah, must immigrate.’ Even though, once the Christmas lights, Christmas market, Christmas jumpers, ice skating, Santa and fire works have all been packed away comes the long dark of January, February and March.
Being Australian the Christmas Jumper thing is possibly the hardest tradition to fathom. There is something deeply uncomfortable for (this) antipodean about Christmas jumpers. You see, I had always assumed that the Christmas jumper moment in Bridget Jones’s Diary was pointing out the freakishness of the gift giver in question, but in fact I now realise this is a popular phenomenon- grown men walk the streets with elf jumpers on, and no one bats an eyelid.
Sunday 18thDecember– an actual week to go!
If I am sounding grinchy I think it is because of all the added pressures of having a three year old in the house. Now is the time that traditions mean something, that memories are made – only I am adrift myself. I grew up with big noisy family Christmases in Australia. We often had to drive from place to place, over committing ourselves, over spending and overeating. There were aunties and uncles and cousins and bubbles and kids and general chaos. My adult traditions around Christmas are about sunshine and king prawns and oysters and my gang of female cousins and gossiping. I am trying to recall my childhood recollections of Christmas – helping to decorate the tree, the anticipation, running into mum and dads room to unwrap presents.
This year we are just… us, our little nuclear family here in Scotland. I am working Christmas Eve and I am working Boxing Day and we have had builders in all month and mummies book distracting her and interrupted sleep patterns to deal with. Very little focus has thus far landed on Christmas.
Monday 19thDecember– Christmas is Sunday. What’s that you say? Christmas is on Sunday! This realisation was followed by much yelling and the slamming of doors.
Once the caffeine settles down I remind myself that we have been ‘participating’ in the build up. Jon was Santa again this year at the playgroup Christmas Fayre, – so there have been conversations around Santa, and attempts to persuade him that daddy is not Santa … ‘Daddy is Santa.’  I’ve hung up the cards we’ve received, and found the Christmas stockings. Rafa was in a Nativity play at his nursery and Finn has come home covered in glitter more than once. We are reading our Christmas book, and we have cleaned up most of the building debris and made some space for a tree. Last night I wrote two cards,  Today I WILL post them.
Finn – exhausted by Christmas. Edinburgh 2016
I’m trying to focus on how to best marry the needs of the two wee ones v’s how to ‘create’ a memorable Christmas day. I have learnt in the past that novelty is not always best when it comes to the babies.
I keep reminding myself that a day just for our little family is probably the best gift we could give the boys. Day to day we more often than not resort to split shift parenting – we are rarely all together all day- so if we can achieve that, plus some presents and some tasty food, talking to the relatives on the phone, that will be enough – won’t it?
Tuesday 20th December
I rallied today. Christmas love abounds. Jon cut some branches from the gigantic conifers out the back and put the children’s nursery made decorations on them. In the chaos of moving things around to accommodate the builders my collection of nice decorations has been lost. And Jon’s ugly baubles are lost also. Pity.
Jon, Finn and I walked up the hill to Bruntsfield to do a local shop- something I made time to do last year- so we would have a nice local ‘hamper’ for when my brother and his girlfriend arrived from Australia. Today we came home with locally made coco chocolate, sea salt from the isle of Lewis, olives – for me from 181delicatessen, black pudding – for Jon, some stocking fillers from the gullivers toys and a few other tasty treats here and there.
I got home, found one extra bauble for the tree and I put Norah Jones on in the background. Baby Finn pottered about briefly and I looked over the progress of this blog – only to realise that somewhere along the way my wee family has gathered a couple of its own traditions – my biggest one seems to be Jon as Santa – because actually he has dressed up as Santa for the last three years to the mingled delight and confusion of children from regional Victoria to Edinburgh. Another tradition I now see is doing a local shop for special tasty Christmas treats.
‘Daddy is Santa.’ Edinburgh – 2016
Some years we might travel down the road, others we might fly vast distances or someone special might fly to see us – living the life I live now – inevitably someone will be far from me. Lots will change and more traditions will emerge – but if we continue to be as blessed as we are now – I will try to keep the grinch at bay.


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