CHAPTER EIGHTY-FIVE – HO HO HO…….OH NO

GREETINGS SANTAS AND MRS’ CLAUS AND ELVES,

Trust you all had a super time this last weekend with family and friends celebrating this crazy time of the year. Trust your dinners or lunches went off without any hitches and nothing was left in the oven not having made it to the table.

This year with our 3 little ones for the first time as a trio it was a little different. We had running commentary from JM; “its this many sleeps to Christmas and I want this and that for Christmas” and JM would then announce what CG would want for Christmas and poor TJ was a little oblivious to it all, much like both JM and CG last year.

It’s really crazy when one thinks how things change in a year. I mean JM really knew about Santa this year and what he does and how he does it, we as parents didn’t really discuss it and found it crazy how all of a sudden we had to start discussing all this stuff with a 3 year old. It is amazing the level of influence in a little person’s life from her school, yes I know this is all part of her growing up and then on the other hand knowing we can’t wrap JM in cotton wool for the rest of her life.

This did spark the great debate amongst mom and dad aka myself and KM, what do we tell JM, do we tell her it’s a myth or do we play along with the fantasy of some big rather dad looking like character coming down a chimney to deliver presents if one has been good for the year beforehand. How do we begin to explain that chimneys are not part of the modern British home? Then resorting to more fantasy about a magic key. Anyway this debate did cause a stir among the lawmakers of the Botha Household. Obviously as you have probably figured out, it was 1 vs. 1 to begin. In the end I agreed that it was too late, two weeks before Christmas to start the discussion after already playing along with the story about the red fat man. Needless to say the mince pie and Baileys was put out along with some reindeer food!

We made sure that the fat red man was countered with the real reason for Christmas, why do we celebrate and what we celebrate, etc. Yes we celebrate the fact that Jesus was born in a stable and that He had gifts brought to him, much like gifts are brought to us in a sense. Never the less we had a great nativity calendar up, made by my super crafty wife and in each of the days were animals or people who attended that rather famous night Bethlehem. For the record, in our story it was noted that we had Bunny rabbits attending, together with chickens… Ok I know its not Easter yet, but a major shop aka Tesco’s were selling Easter eggs before Christmas… What is this world coming to?

To go back on the whole celebration and birthday of Christmas, our little monkeys will be forever confused about this celebration as we did also wish KM’s mom with a birthday cake and all. So I guess we did sing Happy birthday for two reasons on the 25th. Equipped with cake we sang the tune via skype to a happy Dodo in PE. So those of you out there thinking that explaining this Christmas thing is a piece of cake, spare a thought for those of us trying to explain that their granny shares a birthday with one if not the most influential man that ever walked on this planet.

Back to our celebrations, we did the whole Christmas lunch thing on Boxing day to allow us to celebrate with my mom, gran and Paul, who might I add every year do the noble thing and give meals out on Christmas day to those who are lonely through the Salvation Army. It was great to spend Boxing Day with my gran and our little ones gran-gran. Thanks to my mom and Paul for the drive there and back for this occasion to happen. Needless to say our bellies were full with the normal gammon, beef, brussell sprouts, parsnips, etc. Don’t mention the Yorkshire puddings which stayed in the freezer or the little present boxes with post lunch sweets inside which stayed on top of the fridge. It was great and only a day ago did we finish the leftovers…. probably the best part of Christmas dinner…the leftovers.

We did however do a very normal South African thing on Christmas day, we braai’d. Yes we had Lee and Dave with us and did steak, boerewors, chicken etc on the braai with salad, all done in 13 deg weather. Believe it or not, the hottest Christmas day temp in Britain for some 20 years.

From the present point of view, it was super cool to see the expressions on JM’s face and even that of the speed man of present opening… Mr CG himself. So much so that we had to rewrap Gran-gran’s present twice before it was given to the rightful owner a day later. I must say on the one hand it is nicer to have little ones to see them open their presents and be happy with them then on the other hand not having little ones and opening all ‘your’ presents.

One of the little trips we did recently was going into London where we experienced the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Even though it took us 2.5hrs to do a 30min trip we still had a great time in the cold. It was great to walk around and thank goodness we had a double buggy, which acted as a battering ram as there were hordes and hordes of people. It was great to see the many lights on all the fairground rides, the ice rink, and the little Santa’s grotto. They also enjoyed the singing chickens and the talking tree was a big hit. It was great fun even though we spent more on the car parking in London then we did during the 3 hours at the Wonderland. Only for a friend to tell us afterwards that if we were to walk 5 minutes away it would have been free parking…note to self: Do more research before doing the London thing.

So what else have we been doing, Church is going great and still growing in the right direction. We had over 100 people come to our Christingle Service which was super as well as we were blessed with tickets to our churches first Winter Ball with live band and great food too. It was great to boogie the night away with friends.

Last but not least is to mention that our boy is now a BIG boy, he is sleeping in his big boy bed as noted by his sister JM. She is still keen to tell us in no uncertain terms that she is still the oldest even though CG is now a big boy is his big boy bed.

Well I guess that’s it for another month, I’ll do another one of these next year, sounds a long time away.

Have a super time this next weekend in what ever you choose to celebrate the dawning of 2012.

It’s coming… Jingle Jingle can you hear the bells!

I absolutely love Christmas! I know it’s just over 2 months away still but I’m mentally starting the count down!

I know money is tight, and no not in a “my clothes are snug” kinda way more like I’m a size 20 and money is a size 8 that I’m trying to squeeze into kinda way! So I know it’s not going to be a big present year. But it’s not about that is it.  It’s the whole feel of christmas.

Christmas just feels so much more Christmassy in the UK with the snow and cold weather… as much as I love Christmas dinners on the veranda and boxing days spent drinking pimms and eating watermelon and mangoes on the beach in South Africa, Christmas in the UK feels very different.

I love all the lights (and yes husband I will be putting some up this year!! And No i don’t think they look Kitsh!) I have just started on making a fabric and felt advent calendar for the kids (these things take time gotta start early) AND I’m already thinking about all the yummy meals we will be having.

Most of all now that my children are a little older I can’t wait to start making Christmas one of those magic times! I remember that feeling so well, the anticipation and excitement, the meeting up with family we haven’t seen in a while, the songs, lights, tree and yes the presents too. I am sad ALL the grand parentals aren’t going to be here this tho but we’ll just have to make do and survive!

This year I’m looking forward to consuming mulled wine (lots of it) without guilt and without being pregnant! Hallebloominglujah!!!

So I’m looking for some special things to do with the kids in the build up…. the santa snacks and drink… the reindeer food… who has any special and fun Christmas rituals… or can remember then from when you were small??? Please share!!