It’s nearly Christmas! Yuletide; the time of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men and all that. Here on the Homestead the tree is up, the supplies bought in, a chronological list collated, and the garden primed to produce. The Christmas Crazies of last week have been conquered; We’re pretty much good to go.
Conversation over this week’s morning coffee (always Switch Espresso’s Brighton Up blend) on the deck (weather permitting, of course) has helped us get our collective heads straight regarding the Silly Season.
We reckon it all comes down to perfection; more specifically the expectation that this one day a year must be one big, glowing, fizzing oasis of it: the perfect words, feelings, thoughts, behaviour, gifts, food, weather, timings,and moods. Why do we do this to ourselves? And what exactly is Perfect? Certainly the shiny skinned, freshly pressed, homogenised family around the colour coordinated tree with the tastefully wrapped gift moat so beloved by the advertising world doesn’t cut it with us. Firstly, gifts at the Homestead are opened first thing (as Santa intended, if you ask us); there ain’t nothing shiny or freshly pressed about us lot first thing in the morning. Then there’s our tree adornments, this year found to be liberally sprinkled with rusting roofing iron from the garage in which they are stored. Much prized though they are, they’re also true testimony to the cliche Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder. Nope, for us perfect is unobtainable; just too much hard work.
This week is a classic example of just how badly we rate on the perfection scale.
Despite liberal dosing with “real” worm treatments, Clank and the Tinkerbells continue to refuse to lay. In themselves they are chicken happiness personified: busy, bossy, red combed, shiny feathered poultry in motion (even that pun needs a sign post). At least it means we don’t end up chucking eggs out daily due to the treatment’s withholding period, but it would be nice to feel that the chemical cocktail was all worth while.
In the garden, all the lettuce has decided to bolt overnight. Despite progressive sowing, studious watering, and general vigilance, towering seed heads are currently waving mockingly from the backyard. A Christmas barbecue without a salad? Back to the drawing board for us, time for creative menu planning.
Then there was the Bean Counter’s Court visit, the outcome of us witnessing a break in at the dairy across the road. The bus stop outside the Homestead also hosted a very drunk and sad gentleman for the better part of Friday night prompting in a frenzy of soul searching among us all. We’re still not wholly comfortable with heeding police advise and leaving well alone. A timely reminder that Christmas falls a lifetime short of perfect for some.
So, what will you be doing to mark this day that means so many different things to different people?
Here, we’ll be starting on Christmas Eve, gathering with one side of our extended family and honouring a tradition started with one family’s arrival in a new country as part of New Zealand’s assisted immigration scheme . Father Christmas always sneaks the presents in when the ladies are busy putting together the supper and the men and children taking a pre dinner stroll. Farm Girl is still annoyed she looked away at the precise moment Pop saw the man himself, complete with reindeer and sleigh, swoop out of the Lyttelton Road Tunnel, two minutes down the road from Oma and Pop’s house.
Christmas Day will be spent on the Homestead. In that odd hodge podge of merged traditions, there’s stockings at the end of the bed and more gifts under the tree before a leisurely day of open invitation barbecue gathering, no holds barred conversing and general festivities. Homesteaders gifts are generally modest and for the collective enjoyment. Last year we found an in-home sound system under our tree.
Boxing Day is spent with the other side of our extended family: a gathering more reflective of the British origins of roast dinner, steamed pudding and snoozing in the afternoon.
However you celebrate, or don’t, do yourselves a favour and ditch the chase for perfection. We’ve decided the best we can aim for is pleasant. We wish you the compliments of the season, a time of kindness, tolerance and fun.
So next time we meet Christmas will have been and gone and we’ll be staring down the barrel of a brand new year. Resolutions anyone?
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