Chucking the gifts in the bin

Wishing people a ‘Merry Christmas’ is a bit fraught these days.

It presumes that everyone celebrates Christmas when not everyone does.

It’s also not necessarily a happy time for people who are grieving or lonely.

But I’ve enjoyed having friends and strangers wish me ‘Merry Christmas’ on my morning walks.

It’s knocked some of the Grinch out of me, though not enough to change my mind about putting the tree up. That sucker stayed in the garage.

If you celebrated Christmas, I hope it was a merry one.

My family kicked off with our traditional Christmas Eve fish and chips gathering at Balmoral Beach, which only lasted five minutes because it started gouting with rain, so we turned straight around and headed to my sister’s place instead.

We toasted the season with champers and laughter, then I decidheaded off for some me time with the kids.

There hasn’t been much of it over the past few weeks, as they’ve become highly social creatures who spend most of their time hanging with their friends rather than their mum. We grabbed some Chinese food and settled in front of the tellie to watch Die Hard.

The youngest insisted Christmas Santa sacks still needed to be positioned at the foot of each bed, but I said bugger off, I’m not waiting for you to go to sleep at some ungodly hour. My compromise was to put them outside their closed bedroom doors.

It was a bit tricky to do it quietly because I’d come up with the genius idea of making the eldest’s “Santa sack” a wheelie bin. I bought a proper outdoor one from Bunnings, together with some bin liners, with the idea of installing it in the bedroom to cut down on the gawd-awful mess that’s in there. It looks like an episode of Hoarders. So all the eldest’s Christmas pressies went in the bin and were wheeled down the hallway.

I invited my ex over for the ceremonial present/bin opening, which took place waaaaay later than in previous years. No sparrow’s fart awakenings these days for anyone but the 51-year-old. The kids reluctantly agreed to get up at 9am.

I’ve decided it’s the last year I’m buying my ex’s gifts from our lazy kids – they’ll get money to do it themselves next Christmas because it’s getting kinda weird shopping for him. I try and be really thoughtful and always give him a special photo album – this year’s effort was a skipping album – plus I got him a wetsuit top and boardies and goggles so he can go blue groper hunting with the eldest at Clovelly.

The youngest asked what I wanted for Christmas and I requested a clothing steamer – I hate ironing – and my ex finally got around to purchasing it at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

My gift is always bought at the last minute, which bugs me for some reason. But I am VERY excited to have a steamer.

To ensure there was a bit of feeling in the parental gifts, I told the kids they needed to make a Christmas card for each parent, containing a few sentences of heartfelt words.

They were probably the favourite Christmas gifts I received all day, despite the youngest’s including these words: “I am always teaching you how to hug, but you never learn.”

But mostly they were filled with messages of love and appreciation, which lifted my heart.

It was a really laid back, happy morning for the four of us. I think it’s quite lovely and incredibly fortunate that we can be together as a family for Christmas. I remain a big advocate of putting aside – or to one side – your anger and disappointment with your ex when it comes to co-parenting, there are so many  more benefits than drawbacks.

We even gave each other our annual awkward Christmas hug.

After my ex left, I packed the car with more champers, far too much cheese, a bowl of potato salad and gifts and headed over to my sister’s house again.

She created the most delicious spread of food – roast lamb, glazed ham, prawns, oysters, balmain bugs, various salads and an ice cream cake for dessert.

I put on at least another 5kg, but it was a very delicious way to do it.

Then we played a family favourite game – Perudo – and took a few photos that led all the women folk to complain about how terrible they looked. But I’m going to suck up how dodgy I looked and share one of me and my dad …

Then we headed home for my second Love Actually viewing in less than a fortnight. I love Bill Nighy, he’s so awesome.

And that was Christmas over for another year.

My ex arrived to collect the kids just before 9am yesterday to drive to Melbourne for their second Christmas celebration with his side of the family. So it’s just me and the two dogs and the three rats until the new year.

Yep, I’ve graciously/grudgingly agreed to rat sit.

The things you do for love.

The house is very quiet without the kids …. aside from the scribble scrabbling of the rats. I spent Boxing Day alternately dozing and reading Kitty Flanagan’s 488 rules book. She even has rules for blogging in it, including one about always having a topic for your blog posts. If I followed that one you wouldn’t hear from me very much. I’m more from the Seinfeld school of blogging, which is often described as being “a show about nothing”, as many of its episodes are about the minutiae of daily life.

Seinfeld has become filthy rich from riffing about the minutiae, so there must be something to be said for it.

Anyways, prepare for plenty more blogging about nothing in the year ahead.

And I’d love to hear about your Christmas if you can spare a sec.

Song of the day: Dire Straits “Money for Nothing”













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