To me it means lots of things, the first being family. We all went “home” to the country for Christmas, all 6 of us which over time turned into 23 of us! It was always hot – very hot (yes I am an Aussie).
No air conditioning, not even a fan, a very small house, and most years an argument. We always blamed it on the heat! Who was arguing varied from year to year. There was usually a couple of people not talking when they arrived, but were always talking when they left. Sleeping 23 people in a small 4 bedroom house was interesting. Wall to wall mattresses. No assigned beds, just wherever you could find a space. Only the kitchen, bathroom and toilet were spared.
Christmas Eve was filled with excitement and traditions. Christmas craft with the kids was my favourite part of the night…every little one would create a decoration and it was always fun, but so very messy. Sometimes the decoration had to be left to decorate the table because too much glue was used. If only we had the Create Smart Craft DIY Craft Kits back then (www.createsmartcraft.com ) …. much less mess, easy to make and it comes with the bonus Free App to entertain them a little longer with fun animations and sound effects (mmm ok way back then there were no such thing as smart devices and Apps). I still still love crafting and even now I would be happy with one of these kits when I needed something calm to do on Boxing Day, especially when I was tired of refereeing the fighting over who was hogging the water from the sprinkler!
So what else does Christmas mean to me? Of course Christmas Day means chaos. It usually started about 5am or 5.30am, whenever my crazy sister decided to wake the whole house up. No time for breaky or a cuppa…..it was straight into presents. Tears because someone got something someone else wanted, cries of joy when a much wanted gift was received. Toys and Christmas paper and children ranging from babies to teenagers filled the lounge room floor.
After all the build-up leading up to Christmas, there was little time to reflect on the torture we went through making reindeer food with glitter and carrots and a bowl of water, making sure each child had exactly the same amount. One biscuit for each child to put out for Santa (no wonder he is fat and jolly) and one big glass of milk which each child poured a small amount into.
Christmas lunch was prepared by as many women who could fit in the very small kitchen. Nothing like a big hot meal on a boiling hot day in a small house with at least 23 bodies also adding to the heat. Bon Bons, bad jokes and paper hats will always be part of my Christmas. Then the dishes. Oh my goodness. Mum almost had to keep a book on who did the dishes each year because everyone always said they did it last year. This could lead to an argument or two! Hot kitchen, hot water, hot heads and a mountain of dishes. Somehow it always got done.
Family traditions live on from generation to generation. New ones are added as another person joins the family. Despite the heat and the chaos, I love every Christmas and I love my family.
Author: Jenni Jones, Aussie