Tag Archives: presents

Hens High Tea afternoon

Yesterday a group of us ladies dressed up – some more than others – and went off to Villa Howden for high tea for our friend’s hen do. It was all very classy with none of the tacky stuff that is normally seen at these functions.  The venue is a lovely old building that has been used for many different purposes over the years but currently, very French Provincial (I think) and the epitome of old class and elegance.

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The food was as expected – beautiful little treats both sweet and savoury.  We had added into our cost the optional extra of a glass of bubbly, as befitted the ocassion. A very nice bubbly it was too.

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We were also able to render our Hen speechless, complete with tears, on presenting her with her gift. That alone made it worthwhile.  Just a little something for her house, presented via photo on the phone, as two hubbies had installed it while we were out.

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A wonderful afternoon spent for a beautiful friend.
To see more of Villa Howden check out their website here.

Have a great week.
Jen

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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 🙂

Christmas and Family G & T

Oops, it’s Sunday, a day late, but I can be forgiven as I’ve just had my brother and sister here with one partner and all their kids. So I’ve been busy. Really?! Eight extras for a week.

This week’s G & T

– Over 9 or 10 days with extra kids from ages 9 down to 2 (my eldest 2 stayed well clear most of the time) and 3 more adults there were no major upsets or arguments, and everyone pitched in mostly to help out with cooking and cleaning up, and only 1 thing broken – considering these kids just did not stop.

– I am kind of proud of myself. I love my kitchen, and keeping it clean (not the oven, but who does that?) and tidy. With all these people and therefore things and food and stuff spread across the kitchen and dining table for most of the time, I did not lose the plot and go postal about the mess. I let it roll, but then again I had to almost fight to do the washing up. So many helpful hands. I was told off about not sitting down, but I like washing up.

– I love that I have the oldest of all the kids. I rarely had to worry or hassle them about their behaviour and could concentrate on other things – like enjoying the company of my brother, his wife and my sister. They were pretty good and when we went out they played with their cousins and showed me they are nice teenagers.

– Everyone has their own discipline style. They do what suits them and their personalities and that is fine. Hubby and I are at the stricter end of the scale, giving firm boundaries. I like that my brother and his wife are of the same persuasion. One sister is very loose and relaxed (her 3 kids are as well behaved as ours) and I have no idea about our other sister. But with one child, I would think a lot of things are easier…

– and then just this morning a friend rang and asked if we wanted to go the movies with them this afternoon as they had extra tickets. Good timing, as I had just mentioned about how much i would like to see the exact same movie.

We have good friends and a wonderful family ❤

Jennifer 🙂

Christmas….

is definitely upon us.  Everywhere you go, all you hear is ‘Christmas this’ and ‘Christmas that’…. and that was back at the beginning of Nov (or before, I can’t remember, I tuned it out)

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, for many reasons and that is fine.  We all have out beliefs and reasonings and I’m not here to judge or question.
But, tomorrow is the first of December and our little tree goes up.  Not a day before. Or two months like a friend of mine does.  The kids and I usually decorate the house a bit and make it nice.

I always loved Christmas with the family, mum and dad, the odd sibling (and yes, we’re all odd in that way aswell) but had wanted to, one day, have it on our own.  Now my thought was, that we go camping or something.  Well, we did one better.  We moved interstate.  And one better again.  I came home for Chrissie that year and left hubby behind.

We spent 7 years having Christmas on our own, and I can tell you.  I’m over it.  It becomes just another day – when you’re in a hot climate it makes it hard sometimes to separate the days – and that makes it boring.  Ok, so we buy the prawns and have food we don’t normally eat.  But it’s not the same.

Now, we’re back in Tassie with family around us, and guess what?  Hubby will be interstate at work and ‘old folks’ will be with my sister.

So, Christmas 2011 = non event! in our house.

Not that I’m complaining. much.  This is how it goes.  You don’t work in mining to have them home all the time and on those special days.  I wont go into how many birthdays and anniversaries have been missed over the years.  I am pretty happy with things all round (he does love his job which makes it easier to bear…but that’s a whole other topic, and not for another day)

But it made me think, as I have before of course.  Why would you choose to have Christmas on your own, just like every other day of the year.  Why not embrace the meaning of Christmas and have friends come round (if there is no family).  Specially in summer when you don’t need to crowd people inside coz of the weather (well in Tassie at least).

I just read this back, and went…’WT?’  I distinctly started this post with a thought in mind.  Did I write it? I’m not really sure now.  I have about 3 different things going on here, as is the way my head works.  It rumbles along at a million miles an hour and I can’t get my thoughts out quick enough.

Can I start something else..?  As we were growing up we would often have christmas a week or two earlier as the Cherries ripening on trees would often dictate the work schedule.  This was the norm and I thought nothing of it.  Now, many years later we are doing the same.  Not for fruit this time, but for mining rosters.

And that brings me to my point.. at last I hear you say… Christmas is not about who gets what or how much, but about being around family and friends and celebrating the good things.

So, tomorrow, after we have put up our little tree (coz I do love the whole Christmas thing, and what’s with the tree?) a fibre optic one with little coloured baubles, I will post a pic of what our Christmas will be.  I know I have a few small things coming for the kids, so at least they will be underneath when the time comes.

Enjoy the beginning of the end of the silly season and keep smiling 🙂

Jennifer