Monday 28 December 2015

Loot the Tree!

When I was at school, we were occasionally asked which season was our favourite. I couldn't pick, and ended up feeling like this was in some way a flaw on my part. I still can't pick, but no longer feel it's a flaw. All seasons have things about them I love; all have things I enjoy less. And they're joined, they need each other.

One of my favourite things about the winter is the cool weather that has been distinctly absent this year.

Another thing is Christmas. I feel like people who have Christmas (or a similar celebration) in a warm climate must miss out, somehow, but my Australian friends assure me that summertime-Christmas is superior in their eyes, so it's ok. But for me, part of the joy of the celebration is that getting together with family and friends and sharing the long, dark nights and the cold, dark days and filling them with light and warmth.(Although I also know many people who prefer to take Christmas as alone time, to spend with themselves, looking after themselves, and I can understand that too. That way leaves those who have to be alone in the midwinter feeling less lonely than my way.)

Anyway, one of the nice things is the way things become more relaxed at work. In the past, I worked for a company employing lots of contractors, and the office would be filled with bottles of wine and boxes of chocolate from the contractors, to be distributed to the staff for Christmas - a thank you for sending work the way of the contractors, and a lovely perk for us. This year, I'm working in IT rather than proeprty management, but a similar difference in tone descended on the office, aided by one colleague with his Star Wars Lego advent calendar - we had a lot of fun with that.
Spot the interloper...
I was particularly fond of the Jawa/Ewok alliance
Even my local shopping centre looked to be getting in on the act, with what definitely looked like lightsabres hanging from the ceiling.
That's no moon!
I've not seen the new film yet, so would be grateful to avoid spoilers. Our work's Christmas party clashed with the opening night. A few went to the film instead, some left early to catch a late showing. I opted to party - wonderful excuse to wear my favourite dress.

Anyway, the purpose of this post was actually to talk about Christmas. I said last year that I normally go over to my Dad's on Christmas Eve, and we followed that tradition again this year. I got there early and, having forgotten my key, ended up having tea with my old headteacher who lives round the corner - he came to collect a load of logs a few minutes after I arrived. Was really nice to see him again, actually, even if he will always scare me slightly.

Then it was back to my Dad's for real. I'd brought all our presents in my treasure chest (my Dad says it's actually an old boarding school tuckbox, much like the one he used to have), and was pleased to find the returning gifts would also comfortably fit.

Christmas Eve was fun: couple of Wallace and Gromit films before dinner, then Little Sister got us playing a game where we all wrote down the names of 4 people (fictional or otherwise) the others in the room were likely to know, then had one minute to give clues to the person to the left for them to guess as many as possible until the slips of paper ran out - then repeat using charades, then repeat using a single word clue. One pass only, but you could return to it, and we decided you scored points for your guesses and the correct guesses of your clues. Turns out my sister's psychic, because in the first round I was trying to describe Ada Lovelace to her and she hadn't a clue, but in the second round she guessed both Ada Lovelace and General George Patton just from the expression on my face as I read the clues (she's dyslexic, so accusations that she could read the names backwards through pieces of paper with other writing on the back are dubious). I really enjoyed that game - not just because her uncanny ability to read me meant I won. Little Brother then got us to play a round of Saboteur (I was disappointed that there were no shoes), which again Little Sister and I (and Husbit) won by being very successful saboteurs. Then we filled stockings and went to bed.

To add to her awesomeness, Little Sister fishtail-plaited my hair Christmas morning
Christmas morning saw the start of looting gift-giving. Stockings first: we have the rules that items need to be fun, cheap and practical (ie, not go straight in the bin), so I got novelty pants for Little Sister and Step Mum, and coffee/tea for most other people. Little Sister got her husband socks. Lots of socks. A stocking more or less full of socks. Which entertained the rest of us, anyway. Then Little Brother drove off to pick up his new girlfriend, who'd very bravely agreed to spend the day with us when she'd only met Little Sister&Husband before, and we went to the next door neighbour for mulled wine and nibbles and to stay out of Dad's hair as he cooked lunch.

Pleased to report that Little Brother's new girlfriend is really nice. She's smart and has a similar sense of humour to the rest of us, which meant she fitted in well.

I've gone right off turkey recently, so had the veggie option - a nut roast my Step Mum had doctored. Much better choice and will probably be fake veggie again next year (I quite like being fake veggie). Then presents under the tree before Husbit fled to the relative sanity of his family and we continued silly games with mine: I received a game called 'Say Anything', which is a bit like Cards Against Humanity (and would work well in combination with it...), but more child friendly. And eventually I also left for presents with Husbit's family, then home to Kitty and our own tree presents before collapsing asleep to start again on Boxing Day.

We've got some fun plans for New Year and the week after our Pathfinder group will be exchanging secret santa presents to finish the season. By then, hopefully the cold weather will have arrived properly and I can be looking forward to spring.

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