Sweet gallery! I love how most cats look thoroughly unimpressed about being stuffed into decorative hats etc for a photo. I should try the Little Cat Prince and see if he’s interested in dressing up … Ha ha!
Tag Archives: Christmas
Yeah, I know, cats can be a total pill about Christmas trees. We had a Blue Somali who climbed our tree each year. We’ve had other cats who simply redecorated whichever branches they disapproved of.
Our new cat, the Little Cat Prince, simply sits on presents and messes up the paper. I’ve had to re-wrap several gifts already. OTOH, we don’t have a Christmas tree worthy of his attention. We bought a little conifer and it’s sitting on the balcony ready to be re-potted in a much bigger pot.
I was going to re-pot the tree last night but after fixing up the herbs (sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon thyme, sage) in new pots, my shoulder and arm couldn’t take any more work. Maybe tonight.
Maybe I’ll post a photo of our growing balcony soon.
Even as I look at this picture, I can hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “We Three Kings”. It’s amazing how strong musical memories can be, and how early one can be influenced by what one hears as a child.
My family owned an LP (this was pre-CD days, children, and long before iPods and digital downloads) which had a wonderful selection of Christmas carols. “We Three Kings” was one of the carols on it. We were banned from listening to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” because Mum couldn’t stand that song – nor, for the matter, can I nowadays since it seems neverending and rather pointless. We also didn’t listen to “What Child is This” because my parents couldn’t stand the male singer’s voice. It’s going to drive me nuts, wondering who that singer was.
One of my favourites from that album was “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson. Here’s the Boston Pops’ version.
I find that I avoid shopping malls this time of year because the endless looping of Christmas carols drives me nuts. I like singing some Christmas carols, but only up to and including 25th December. Yes, I should be cheerfully singing Epiphany carols at church but by then I’ve had a surfeit. Even now, I’ve given up going to most Advent carol services. (Shock! Horror!)
Partly that’s because DD wriggles; partly because my back hurts sitting on hard chairs or pews; partly because I’m sick of hearing carols.
OTOH, I am happily wrapping up presents that I bought online, or at shopping malls or local shops during the year. I’ve learnt the only way to keep my sanity is for me to keep out of shops in December.
There’s a strange feel about the Christmas season for me. I get all excited looking toward the birth of Jesus, and then by 26th December, I really don’t want to sing Christmas carols in a church service. That’s it, turning from 25th to 26th December. This year felt a bit odd since there was a Sunday service after the Saturday Christmas service. We had things to do so I didn’t get to church on the Sunday and strangely, I didn’t mind one bit.
I went to St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne for the first Sunday of the new year, and the Christmas carols had abated somewhat. The visit of the magi was the focus of the sermon. Quite a change over the years from “Yay! Kings visited!” to “Hey, these were magi and don’t get fooled by that carol about we three kings”.
This post by Nadia Bolz-Weber made me think more about this season, including how we may have read a story but we do not necessarily *know* it.
We are familiar with the big star shining above the top of the manger scene. But know that this light, this star which led these magi to the Christ, is a light that shines for you too. This light which points to God shines for all of humanity: Samaritans, magi, tax collectors, high priests, Herod, and the people who put Santa and swine in creche scenes.
We had a lovely time on Christmas Day with my mother, brothers and their in-laws. Very busy, lots of delicious food, far too many presents for DD, and we were all tired by the evening. Basically how it should be!
We had some success with DD and managed to get her into some thicker, stronger fabric leggings and pants given how she is such an active kid and tries to climb and clamber over everything. For a kid who wasn’t a climber in the house when she was a toddler, she has turned into an adventurous little thing. I’m thinking of taking her to the indoor rock climbing place over the holidays. I’m sure she’ll have a good time.
Love the article titled Real men don’t do early Christmas shopping. Not entirely true and I bet there are a few women who leave everything until Christmas Eve.
But I’m one of those strange creatures who can get the shopping done by November. Partly that’s because I see things in the mid-year sales and pick them up then, partly it’s because I see things in the Avon catalogue that are just perfect (and the roll-on soaps in Christmas packaging for children are perfect stocking stuffers and non-lolly presents for DD’s little mates at preschool), and I loathe shopping in the December rush.
Having said that, I can’t say that the shops in Civic appeared particularly stuffed full when I ventured in last week. I still had to buy a gift card and some books. No huge queues at checkouts (maybe that will be on Christmas Eve), items being discounted further, and accompanying tinny muzak that hurt my ears.
I was determined to avoid buying more plastic to bring into the house. I think I managed to do that! Yay! I might buy some tinsel after Christmas for next year, though given the beating that was handed out to the Christmas decorations while they were in the shed (think cat pee on the box for starters), I’m re-thinking that idea.
Here’s some of Lisa Wilkinson’s smart ideas to help blokes with last-minute shopping from the article I mentioned above. Way to go, Lisa!
Things you shouldn’t buy
1 Lingerie that is a size or more too big. No prizes for guessing why
2 A vacuum cleaner. No prizes on this one either
3 A slab of beer (because we’re wise to you….we know that’s not for us)
4 Any product that contains any combination of the words “anti” and “cellulite” in the title
If in doubt, buy good champagne or Chanel No. 5, I reckon.
DD was in the mood for Christmas carols tonight. She listened to the tinny, high-pitched electronica coming from her little Christmas tree, then I suggested that I could play some on the piano and she could have a bit of a practice before we sing on Christmas Day at church. She agreed (a miracle in itself considering that she has wailed mightily for years every time I try to play the piano) and she dragged a chair beside me.
While we went through The First Nowell and other well-known carols, she was particularly taken with Love Came Down at Christmas, the Christina Rossetti poem set to the tune of “Hermitage”. She la-la-la’ed along to the music, tinkled away on the highest notes of the piano, and demanded 3 encores. Here’s hoping that someone puts this on the list at one of the church services we attend.
I would faint at the closeness of Christmas and how it seems to have come at an alarming speed this year, except, well, something seems to have happened.
I simply don’t give a stuff.
I have bought presents for my immediate family and my in-laws. One gift certificate to buy (either today or tomorrow). I have some presents for my darling daughter. I’m not sure how I’ll get round to buying anything else. Chronic conditions have returned thanks to stress and I am honestly not up to fighting crowds in the mall, and it’s a bit late for internet ordering. I figure, as long as I’ve covered the important bases, that’s it.
I’ve given up on Christmas cards. I’ve sent out the most important ones. I feel too exhausted to sit down and write more.
I realise that the reason why I feel that way is because I’ve had weeks of writing thank you notes after DH’s funeral. I lost count of the number of notes I wrote after I had written 50. I now see why people put an ad in the paper under the heading of “Return Thanks”. Not my sort of thing and I honestly can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s logic – not all those who assisted at that difficult time are all from this same city. Maybe it’s the manners that were drummed into me – always send a handwritten note, even if it is only a few words to express your appreciation for kindness.
Today DD gave her Christmas card and a box of chocolates to the staff at her childcare centre. She had great pleasure in signing the card with her name and adding a couple of kisses to it. (My mum taught her that – fantastic, Mum!) I am very proud of her desire to write to people, even if it means I have to write down what she dictates.
I have cut down on the amount of television DD is allowed to watch. None at all on some evenings, maybe half an hour (Dora the Explorer or Sid the Science Kid are great favourites). It depends upon DD’s mood, how much I need to do without her under my feet, and what things we two are doing together. I can tell when I am having a ratty day: those are the days when DD gets over an hour of television and is a total pill to get to bed. She reacts like it’s a drug, honestly. So hard to get her tushy out of the chair and get her to clean her teeth, etc. It’s easier to avoid the television in the first place if at all possible. I’m not saying it’s always possible. I’m only human, I have limited time to get dinner made and I would rather we sit down to eat dinner together. No television at meal times. Think of it as an end of year resolution. Much easier than those made on New Year’s Eve.
Speaking of resolutions, you’ll be pleased to hear that I have managed to keep one of them. I am not watching repeats of TV programs that I had previously seen. I suspect I still watch too much TV (and exactly what is too much for adults?), and I have deliberately tried to read more books, though that’s easier said than done when there is a certain somebody who loves to interrupt her mum.
That’s the other term for Christmas letters.
Let’s be frank, I hate them. Here’s why:
- I never heard from that family for 12 months, they didn’t initiate any phone calls, they never e-mailed. Suddenly I end up with a letter from them explaining all the things that were more important than my family and me (purrllleasse – clipping dogs’ nails???). The good thing is that now I know why you never returned my phone calls or answered your e-mails – you were ankle-deep in toenail clippings.
- The bragging factor. I am glad that there’s something to talk about but I am not interested in the row of “A”s that your son or daughter got or how they are the most fabulous 5 year old violinist in the universe. Your two overseas holidays at expensive destinations. The expensive gifts your DH gave you. The promotions at work.
- The ‘sad’ note to one of the paragraphs about how they rather wish other people would write Christmas letters. How about they think about those of us who keep in touch with care and good wishes during the year, however briefly?
- Those who try to sell us something. Yeah, lovely that you’ve started your pyramid business, but I am so not interested in that and even less sweet on the idea of you advertising it in your Christmas letter.
- The Christmas letter that turns up in late January so that everybody knows exactly how busy you were. Give up. Just do happy new year cards on the computer. Or send out a mass e-mail.
Thinking about it, there are two main points that bug me about Christmas letters. I mean, I crap on about a heckuva lot but some of these things are trivial.
The first is that I feel kind of insulted that a family has dropped me from “keeping in touch in a neighbourly fashion” to “stranger who is communicated with once a year”. They’re not sufficiently interested in me or my family to telephone, even when there has been bad news, or to send an e-mail, or (this is a true Australian thing) a pre-printed greeting card that says the words you can’t find at the time.
The second is the bragging. I am a former classroom teacher and still work as a professional private music teacher. In some cases, I’ve seen your kids recently. You’re probably not going to convince me that your kid is the next Albert Einstein, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Yo-Yo Ma, or Sumi Jo. Good luck to him or her, all the same. Appreciate your DD and DS for who they are, not your aspirations heaped upon them.
I have another category which I’ll call 2a. This is the self-deprecation method, often seen in the January Christmas letters but also seen in those sent out late November/early December. It consists of a list of how busy they are, how they didn’t do X or Y because of busy-ness, how they feel like a bit of a failure in some cases, and then it just gets worse. I diligently read through those letters, hoping that there will be a note of redemption at the end, where I’ll be told that the coming year will bring organisation, relief and more to that family, but frankly, I’m not holding out much hope.
And that would be why I send out mass-produced, made in Australia, commercial message Christmas cards, with my own greeting and signature.
It’s not a case of sour grapes because I don’t have any great achievements to write about. Seriously, this year, what on earth could I say that wouldn’t put a dampener on the proceedings? This year, I feel fully justified to continue my Christmas card process and keep the peace.