I’m not really sure why, but I always feel a deep sadness on Christmas Day. Perhaps it’s knowing that it will soon be over for another year, or having unrealistic expectations of what Christmas should be like, or maybe it’s just the general stress of the holiday season and the amplification of family dysfunction getting the better of me.
Whatever it is, I was not looking forward to running the gauntlet of Four Christmases (sounds something like a cheesy Hollywood film, doesn’t it…) this year on Christmas Day.
I woke early so that I could get a swim in before the festivities started. An early morning Christmas swim has become somewhat of a tradition for me – the solitude of the pool and the repetitive meditative nature of the strokes through the water calms my mind, and I feel less guilt over all the calories that I know I am about to imbibe.
The exchange of gifts between Mr Posy, the furkids and I was left until quite late this Christmas morning – there was beetroot to be roasted, chorizo to be fried and broad beans to be shelled for salads, and presents for Mr Posy’s folks to be wrapped.
As a small child, I would poke holes in the wrapping paper of my gifts under the tree, too excited and impatient to wait until Christmas. Now that I’m older, I never want to unwrap my gifts. It means Christmas will soon be over. I try to delay the unwrapping as long as possible (in fact, I still have one gift left to unwrap…). PosyDog does not feel the same, and let us know as such throughout the morning. When she was finally allowed to open her gift, she ripped into it, eager to play with her new toy.
Soon after presents, and a video-call with my brother who is holidaying interstate with his girlfriend, it was on to our first stop of the day: lunch with Mr Posy’s family.
Niece Posy has grown so much since last year. “Merry Christmas!” she would shout over and over, while pointing at the presents under the tree. “I won!” she would yell, as she cracked bonbons with Mr Posy, her Papou, her Yiayia.
I wanted to squish her little cheeks when she unwrapped the books that we bought for her, refusing to open other gifts, instead wanting to read.
The poor kid was over it all after a couple of hours. My favourite part of this Christmas was Niece Posy curling up in my lap, because she was tired and wanted a cuddle. Nephew Posy had no idea about what was going on around him, and kept himself amused in a pile of discarded wrapping paper and ribbon.
Next stop: a half hour drive out to visit my dad and his partner in their new house. Too full from lunch, we exchanged gifts over cold beverages and took a tour of their property. An hour flew by pretty quickly, and then it was time to get back on the road and on to our third stop: Mum’s house.
The plan for Christmas with Mum was afternoon tea, but it was too hot and humid, so we skipped the coffee and gorged on chocolate brownies instead.
Mum and Dad only split a few years ago – this was the first year that we saw them separately for Christmas, and I have to say, it was a bit of an adjustment. It was pretty weird. And kind of awkward, made more so because Mum didn’t want to celebrate Christmas. I’d like to think that it is something that will get easier with time, but right now the thought of spending future Christmases out of the country is very appealing…
Our fourth and final stop was back with Mr Posy’s family – his sister-in-law’s family were up from Melbourne, so we spent dinner with them. Niece and Nephew Posy had each had a three hour nap, and were back in fine form entertaining the extended family with their antics, and having a splash in the pool. Mr Posy and I later sat outside with his brother, our feet in the pool, watching the boats in the marina.
By the time we arrived home late that evening, I was exhausted. The overwhelming sense of sadness had mostly dissipated (as it often does by the time I’m back home all tucked up in my bed), and I was ready for our annual screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (the ultimate in family dysfunction); another Christmas tradition.
And so Christmas is well and truly over for another year. The post-Christmas ennui hit hard on Wednesday, soon after I left the madness known as the Boxing Day Sales, and even harder yesterday when it was time to return to work.
Perhaps by the time 2013 rolls around PosyKitty might have forgiven me for making her wear a polyester shirt.