Nosey Parker in the Neighbourhood – Christmas Edition…

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    Welcome to our 2nd Nosey Parker in the Neighbourhood Linky Party! 

    Wooo hooo – time to be legitimately nosey again right 😉
    If you are new to Nosey Parker in the Neighbourhood then allow me to give you a little background…

    Nosey Parker in the Neighbourhood is basically a monthly linky party giving us a legitimate excuse to peer through our bloggy “neighbours’ ” windows and get to know each other a little more.
    Each month I issue a theme and questions a few weeks/month before the party starts (although I haven’t for Christmas and chosen to leave it pretty open) so you can pre prepare your post if you like and schedule it.
    Then we hop around and have a peruse of new found friends 🙂

    You can find our first party (the getting to know around your home edition) here…
    I have also opened it back up if anyone wants to link up to that party a little late. We’d still love to have you – better late than never I always say 😉

    Then from next month it will be all about sewing/crafting for a few months. I for one can’t wait for those ones!

    So join us if you can, and lets talk Christmas my neighbours :)…

    ***

    I left this theme pretty open in regards to content, but I’ll put the questions that I answered in bold at the beginning of my paragraphs, so feel free to use those as a base for your post as well, if you wish 🙂

    What does Christmas mean to me…
    To me Christmas is an awesome time of year. Traditionally as a child it of course meant presents, lots of yummy food, fun with family and the start school h.o.l.i.d.a.y.s! Now as an adult I like to as well soak in the reason for the season.
    It is also a time for sitting back & reflecting on what I’m so lucky to have. My great family, home, food, children, and spend time with those I most love.

    What is my pre-Christmas schedule traditionally like…
    The beginning of December usually starts off our Christmas schedule. We put up our Christmas tree & advent calendar on the 1st and the countdown starts from there.

    It continues with Christmas themed break ups to all of our term-time activities. This year it started with the Playgroup end of year Christmas party…

    Followed by the term break up of our mothers group, and Toddler Jam…

    Phew… break up parties over – must be getting close to the big day 🙂

    Some Christmas traditions that we have as a family are:

    1) We always take the kids to Christmas in the Park concert/Carols by candlelight.
    Usually up until then I’m not really feeling the Christmas Spirit alive in me. But those always work wonders….

    We take our picnic blanket, deck chairs and picnic down to the park, starting late afternoon, and listen to the Christmas concert into the evening. This year we only went to one, run by our own church, because the other that we usually go to happened to be on the same night this year. It was a really awesome and relaxed afternoon/evening, spent with good friends/church family…

    Abbie & her friend in matching outfits I made hehehe…

    Say “cheese”

    Our cool & clever church band

    2) After sunset one night in December (or several as the case may be) we always take the kids out to look at the Christmas lights…

    Goodnight sun…
    Hello Christmas lights!

    The rest of the time I try and hibernate away from the (mad) zoo shops as much as possible (not that easy when you have a PO box!) and stay relaxed.

    We always visit church on Christmas Eve and that ends our pre-Christmas schedule.

    How we celebrated Christmas this year…
    Christmas Eve: 
    8.00pm – get home from a lovely church service, put kids to bed.
                 – run around like 2 looneys getting the house ready for the next day, putting out presents etc… and setting the table ready for the next day

    Christmas Day:
    12.00am – flop exhausted into bed and go to sleep
    3.am – get up to unsettled baby (suspected teething)
    3.30am – resign self that baby is not going back to sleep in her own bed and if I want any sleep will have to suck it up and put her in bed with me – GAH!
    3.30am onwards – sleep like rubbish as baby wiggles to change position every 2 minutes
    5.30am – daughter # 1 comes in all excited shrieking “the sun is up! The sun is up! Santa must have been! Santa must have been!
    Me: “Are you sure? You know he only comes to good little girls and boys don’t you?”
    Hannah: with a very worried face… “Yeeees”

    I know… I’m very mean. But to be fair I’d had a roungh night!

    So I went and got the camera and snuck into the lounge then called to Neil that I was ready so he could bring in the troops…
    This is what greeted them…

    An empty Christmas tree – mostly with presents addressed to other people….

    Hang on Santa – What? Where are all the presents!!??

    Oh wait, hang on – this is why the Christmas tree was empty…
    Because “Santa” had brought a HUGE new play kitchen…

    3 full “pokes” (English tradition from Daddy’s side instead of stockings)…

    And a Dolls House Mansion (which almost rivals our home for size!)

    Generous Santa!!
    …I suspect Santa might have moved to internet shopping and didn’t think through the physical size of these very carefully when he ordered them this year. 😉

    Once the girls had got over their awe at the toys which are bigger than them!!, we all opened our pokes…

    These are special pokes – the contents were all post marked Norfolk, England. I think that must be where a base of Santa’s elves work out of these days because our poke contents have been post marked Norfolk, England since we got married…
    Come to think of it – they must live really close to where Neil’s mum live – I wonder if she’s ever spotted them! 😉

    Contents of Abbie’s poke:

    My poke:

    Santa knows me well – blue fabric & the most beautiful hand made (in Russia) Russian dolls!
    And some cool novelty socks – Santa always sends socks in our pokes, it’s tradition 🙂

     Neil’s Poke:

    That’s a Norfolk dialect tea towel… bahaha!

    Hannah’s Poke:

    That doll is a knitting doll. Wonder if that’s more a present for Mummy or Hannah 😉

    One thing that I should probably mention about our “poke” tradition is that Neil & I only have 1 poke between us and Santa finds it very funny to not name our presents for who they are to – so it’s pot luck as to who gets to open what.
    This year we did pretty well – Neil opened all of his (I had had a feel and figured out who’s were probably who’s) but while I wasn’t looking he opened my leapard skin socks. HAHAHA!

    On our first Christmas as a married couple he also opened my socks – that time they were rainbow toe socks. I’ll never forget his confused & horrified look as to why Santa would send him such things!! He relaxed slightly after I then opened socks with “Neil” on them and he figured out that he’d opened my socks. History shows that our “Santa” really does have a sense of humour! LOL…

    Anyway onto the main presents…

    I’m SO happy to report that my girls both gave the most excited response to any present when they opened their quilts. I think I have 2 budding quilters fabricaholics in the making because I can’t believe that they both gave more squeals of excitement about those than any other present!

    In fact it was the only present that once she saw what it was Abbie opened all the way by herself. The others we had to help her open…
    Would you just look at her face – oh my heart!!

    Way to make my heart sing!!
    I love that my girls love & appreciate what I made them so much!!

    Neil got a new kindle & I got a new small TV for my bedroom to watch DVDs on.
    Nice score!!

    7am and it was time for breakfast…
    It’s traditional in our house to have a cooked breakfast:

    Blackberries & Cream on pancakes. Yum!
    (and yes, I made the pancakes from scratch Susan. Something that I can bake without a recipe – shock horror! ;))

    8.55am – leave the house in a screaming hurry for church, which starts at 9am and is a 15-20min drive… oops…
    9.12am – rock up to church
    9.40am – finish the shortest service I’ve ever been to at our church and head off to visit some friends
    9.45am – Hang out with close friends & exchange presents
    11am – arrive home and start running around like a looney to prepare lunch…

    Since we live overseas from both sets of our parents and most of our siblings, Christmas for us now changes dramatically every year. Growing up I used to celebrate Christmas in the same fashion every year – with my (quite large) extended family – there were often up to 50 of us, just including grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins! So going from that to a small selection of family at best numbers is quite an adjustment I have to say!

    This year we hosted and celebrated Christmas lunch at our house with 2 of my brothers, my sister-in-law and my Uncle, with a visit after lunch from my cousin and his partner. So not exactly 50 people, but an amazingly good turn out of family considering the circumstances!

    Since Christmas Day can get extremely hot here (last year it nudged 40 degrees) we tend to go for a cold, light, fresh lunch…
    So lunch was prepared (again from scratch) (- that was for Susan again) by me and looked like this…

    **  marinated & roasted lamb
    **  cold ham
    **  roasted veges (baby carrot, beetroot, capsicum, mushrooms, zuccini, parsnip, red onion, asparagus) served with a citrus vinegarette
    **  a steamed aubergine salad (aubergine/eggplant with red onion, flat leafed parsley, feta, vine grown tomoatoes, walnuts, and a dressing), and 
    **  an orange & fennel salad (orange, carrot, fennel, sweet sugarsnap peas, and sprouts with a lemon, honey & oil dressing)
    If anyone would like recipes for any of these dishes then do say, because even if I do say so myself they were totally and utterly scrummy! There were no leftovers despite what I’d planned, and compliments all around, so I guess that speaks volumes. I even made all the dressings myself.
    So.unlike.me!
    We served it buffet style & all ate outside under the patio in the fresh air…

    In the rather pleasant 30 degree heat – the coolest day we’ve had for Christmas in ages!!
    And thank goodness the flies weren’t around to annoy us – wonders will never cease. That was one of my favourite Christmas presents I think!…

    I forgot to take a photo of our lovely desserts (prepared by my Sister-in-law) but for dessert we had the option of lemon meringue pie, carrot cake, peach crumble & custard, fruit salad and ice cream.

    Or if you are a total pig like me you will choose all of the above like I did for my “lunch” the next day…

    Yes, I am officially a pig.
    But do you blame me?

    2pm: After lunch we veged in the living room & exchanged yet more presents…
    And (sleepily) talked the afternoon away until one by one various family members departed and just the four of us were left for dinner.

    Somehow the girls still had enough energy after this to bounce on the trampoline (the only picture I managed to snap of my girls in their Christmas outfits – oops!!)

    But I don’t know where they got that energy from because I sure as heck had none!

    6pm Christmas evening….
    it was at this point in the day that I officially became beyond useful and started to melt down.

    – Not much of a surprise considering that all week I had survived on a maximum of 5 hours per night of (interrupted) sleep, finished 8 quilts including a king size, and run around like a headless chook preparing for Christmas Day.

    So at 7pm I put myself to bed in a heap of exhausted tears where I remained for the best part of Boxing Day. I was, and am, completely fine – the sleep deprivation and crazy amount of work just got to me and it was time to rest, that’s all.

    Not the best end to a fantastic day I admit – but at least I was pleased that I’d held off until the end of the festivities to crash and burn in a messy heap!
    Still, it’s something to be mindful of next year so I don’t get a repeat…
    Note to self: Do not push self so hard next December! (hmmmm – yeah right…)

    So that was our Australian Christmas.
    A totally wonderful day!

    Look forward to reading about yours! If you’ve done a Christmas post already then feel free to just link up that. It doesn’t have to follow my questions this time to count.
    But I do just ask that you use the button & link back to this post somewhere in your post.

    4 COMMENTS

    1. I’m tired just reading that post! Great looking Christmas though – and the food too. You never said you couldn’t cook, only that you hated doing it. Glad that everything came together so well for you and that even Abbie showed suitable love for her quilt. That photo will be loved forever!

    2. Oh so sorry Kat I seem to have missed this – did take photos of our Christmas but still haven’t written the post yet. Life just sort of overtook events!

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