Tag Archives: Christmas

It’s nearly time for another year to end, so Thank you.

It’s that time of the year again – the inevitable over-indulgence of food and alcohol, coupled with visiting family and friends, summer sunburn (or the winter freezes for my Northern hemisphere friends) and the kids on school holidays. Rrgh. It’s enough to drive you a little crazy from too many people, or feel the twinge of loneliness.
Christmas is all about sharing the little things that make life great. Stopping to smell the roses, or play in the snow. Find beauty in the natural world around you, tell your loved ones how you feel and embrace the new friendships that come your way, while accepting that some will fade away.

This year has been long and sometimes hard. It has also been busy and loads of fun. I took my first tripย overseas – on my own and survived! ย I made new friends on both sides of the globe and learnt so much about myself.
My eldest son turned 18 – how to make you feel old in one fell swoop – already has two vehicles to his name and is getting ready to start full-time work. ย I am incredibly proud of my three boys and the wonderful young men they have grown into. As parents, you figure you must have done something right when your teenagers still want to talk to you. I think the man and I are on the right track.

I want to thank everyone who have visited any of my 5 blogs whether it was a single stop or was repeated (over and over – thank you to those who are in this category.Without you, who knows where I might be?).
And still, after nearly 4 years, I get excited when that little box up there goes orange and tells me you have called in ~insert happy dance, and grins here~

Before I leave you with some piccies, I want to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and a new year full of the good stuff.

 

Thank you! Jennifer ๐Ÿ˜€

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Christmas is…..Christmas has….

Christmas is… A time of over indulging
Christmas has…. Lost the true meaning of being together with loved ones.
Christmas is ……. Too much about spending and materialism.
Christmas has …..become just another reason to, to…what exactly?

Christmas. What does it mean. What does it really mean?
Do you believe the bible, do you believe in Santa, Saint Nick?
Why do we give presents, and should we give presents?

We have decided to forego Christmas this year. And continually. Until maybe grandchildren come along, but that will be some time way off in the future.
We want to celebrate and concentrate on what we believe, and what matters most. Birthdays and being with family and friends.
When I sent out the email saying we weren’t doing presents, I don’t think I presented it properly, and had a mini heated discussion on the phone with a sister (was not in the right frame of mind and therefore should not have phoned her) about beliefs and the like.
We are not religious. The basis of Christmas is about celebrating Jesus’ birthday, and gift giving. So if we don’t believe, as most of Australia doesn’t, why do we take on the whole stress, consumerism and materialistic nature of the beast that is Christmas. We, personally, have always said its about being with family and friends. Good food, good company.
Over the last few years we have gradually let Christmas disappear from our calendar. When hubby was working on the 25th we would do it on a different day (no issue there) but it has come down to the simple fact of buying things things that are bought for what reason exactly. The stress and worry, not to mention the costs. When the kids (nieces and nephews galore) were all younger I could get away with small gifts, and then there are the adults, and partners. So many gifts. Not needed, not enough thought and for what. Because of something we don’t believe in.

Back to this year. It was all a little confusing, and awkward, with no gifts being passed around, so my boys got theirs (from their grandparents) the next day (When we were all present as a family of five). It is awkward to buy for teenage boys without spending a fortune, but my mum did well. A keepsake item and some chocolates. A beautiful, but boyified present. Did we buy them anything, even if we don’t buy anyone else anything? No. Our idea was that we drip feed them. Throughout the year they get what they need, things they want as we can afford it, rather than saving it up to give it all at once. And missing out on gaming fun with their online friends. As for nieces and nephews, (We have 12) giving one decent present a year, rather than trying to find multiple for each person. As they get older they also want the things you can’t expect others to give them.

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The more I see of gift giving the more hypocrisy I see. All these people who have no religious bone in their body, spending to the hilt, getting stressed at family members (and everything else) for what. A tradition, a belief, something that has no actual meaning in their life.
Not buying gifts is not a new thing, but most people are so wrapped up (pun intended) with the idea that they have to go and spend money, that the mere mention of not buying gets them in a tizzy, and they become lost. If they can’t go nuts of buying then what is the point, what do they do. Spend that time and money on catching up with friends, enjoying a great feast. Kermis importantly, pamper yourself. If you are not happy an relaxed, the. It makes it harder to function. Especially here, as it is summer holidays, and end of the school year.

My sister when she came for our Christmas lunch, said she felt awkward not bringing anything. Oops, not my issue. We made our decision, and are comfortable with it. Yes, I know this will make me sound selfish or greedy, but I didn’t say you weren’t allowed to. I just said we weren’t doing presents. At the same time, we don’t expect presents either. But don’t let our decisions change the way you do things, or what you believe in. I’ve seen plenty of presents given to kids then ignored them completely, making it all about the spending and not the thought of what is given. Is that really what Christmas is all about? I’d much rather no presents and have interaction, with people come and see me (or us visiting them) It’s not a contest.
I read also about Christmas gift giving being about showing our family and friends how much we care. Why does it have to be on one particular day, I would rather surprise people with something during the year, a special birthday present rather than the whole hog of stress and spending when I don’t need to. It means so much more. Although a little contradictory to my point, I really like try idea of Thanksgiving for this reason. It’s not religious, and if we all want to thank someone, something, then we can do it equally. Even on that day though, do we go need to be giving gifts.

I love the look of Christmas, the colours, the decorations and everything that surrounds it, but without the belief, they mean nothing. It’s all baubles, and trinkets and nothing more. I actually felt less stressed than I have in a long time since we made our decision, and as it was for previous years, where we had an early Christmas, much more relaxed when at the supermarket or out shopping (for other things) as I wasn’t fighting for the last item here, or the biggest ham.
Christmas for us has come down to simply belief. The belief that is it about being with family and friends. It’s the enjoying good food (something different and special), good wine and good company. Not about who got what, and how much.
What happens next year will remain to be seen, hubby will still be at work, but if it’s just another day, then does it really matter?

I know this may cause some anger and debate coming so close the Christmas, but it has taken me sometime to write this, but I had to write it. You may or may not agree with me, and that is fine, I’m not asking you to either way. It is our decision, our thoughts, my blog, my rules.

Have a safe and happy holiday season, whatever you celebrate.
Jennifer ๐Ÿ™‚

Kanji names

At the market today we had the pleasure of this gentleman who wrote your name, or whatever word you wanted, in Kanji.
So quick, precise and neat. Right as you wait.
It was all free, but his donation container was overflowing. And not just with coins.
I got all our names done.
Lance and Jennifer
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Ryan, Kyle and Theo
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And the Merry Christmas he gave to everyone.
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Ive decided to get it framed with a family photo.

Jennifer ๐Ÿ™‚

Alfresco Saturday – Christmas day

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No coffee yet.
Nearly lunch time,
Preparing food, lots of good things
Enjoying a glass…

Food Friday – it’s Christmas!

So here I am again. Finished the last couple,of items on the to do list (I had two or some reason, both saying the same things) and am now chilling. Hubby is chilling with mindless tv (something I’m not fond of) and this is mine.
So I got baking again today. I miss days like this where I get to just play in the kitchen and have something cool to show at the end of it.
What was I baking today? The main plan was the triple layer stuffed-full-of-goodies ice cream cake.
That was fun, soft ice cream, bashing chocolate with the rolling pin and then hoping like hell it will all fit in the pan I had. Only just. A little deeper would have been nice, but I can’t own every pan there is, well, not just yet anyway.
I changed it a little, but the layers go like this, chocolate ice cream with Oreos, vanilla with honeycomb and strawberry withpink with strawberries in sauce. It mixed nicely, and is in the good fridge meaning it will actually be frozen.
The start of my cake – chocolate ice cream with Oreos.

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As I had to wait 30+ mins in between layers of ice cream I decided I would try something else. A sweet nibble for afterwards with coffee – if we have any room left.
My choice, an easy white Christmas tartlets.
Marshmallows, rice bubbles, coconut and melted chocolate in biscuits/cookies that have been softened and made into tart ‘cases’. Mine are not so cases as plates, but I tried one with the extra topping and it was pretty yummy!

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While I was at it, as if I didn’t have enough to do, I figured I should cook the rhubarb I was given during the week. I lurve rhubarb, and it will a tasty extra with my cereal and yoghurt for breakfasts. Rhubarb and apple, rhubarb and strawberries, stewed over ice cream, muffins, inside down cake… anything you can put fruit in really I spose.

Christmas in Australia. Christmas in summer. Some of you wouldn’t be able to envisage it, others have experienced it and now have winter Christmases (something I’d love to do one year), par for the course here. Hot, sticky, maybe wet and windy, but no snow. Although there was one year it was snowy, not the nice kind either.
Anyway, being summer the menu is usually pretty casual. Cold meats, seafood, bbqs. Some people love the whole hot food feast, and who knows what the other half do. We had an exchange student one year, and she was disappointed (and vocally critical) of our set up. There were no fancy Christmas foods, just everyday things. This is true. An a multicultural country we choose what we want to follow, but the climate dictates as well. Some foods we only ever eat at Christmas – like a full ham on the bone, and prawns (but that might just be us).

So what’s on our menu tomorrow. To share what is our typical Christmas meal.

Starters – cheese platter, cabana, stuffed peppers, pear slices and a dip or two. I’m making a pea, mint and feta dip. I found this the other day and it looks scrummy.
Mains – ham (glazed & cooked or sliced cold, we prefer cold) roast turkey breast, prawns au naturale, and a chook.
Then there’s a green salad and maybe another, new potatoes, (re fried with bacon, and boiled), runner & broad beans and snap pea salad. Cranberry, apple and tartare sauces, mustard (a nuts for ham), mayo and vinaigrette.
Desserts (the best bit) – my ice cream cake, trifle, fresh raspberries, a chocolate pudding (so far a rumour, but hubby has fingers crossed), custard and way too much cream (but that always happens doesn’t it?)
Afterwards when we really don’t feel like eating anymore, there’ll be slices of Christmas cake, and my tartlets with coffee (or tea).
Dinner, well, if anyone feels like it, take a pick from what’s left over from the above list.

On the 25th while hubby is fed at work, the kids and I will be at mr 17’s GF’s house. And because he has his licence I can take my bottle of wine. Don’t worry, I rarely get drunk but a few on occasion is nice.

Have a great weekend!
Jen ๐Ÿ™‚