CHRISTMAS HAS ARRIVED!! And with it comes carols, happy Christmassy movies, food food food, overall good spirits and SO MUCH MORE. I’m not going to pretend I haven’t already been watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or humming Run Run Rudolph under my breath… because I definitely have.
One of the first things a family does come December 1st is drag out the decorations and put up the tree. My boyfriend’s family take their tree ceremony a step further by transforming branch-fluffing and bauble-donning into a fully-fledged party. With Leslie Odom Jr’s Christmas album playing in the background (his voice is a mixture of velvet and sleigh bells), dips were spread across the table and Christmas was off to an official start.
Zak’s mum concocted a non-alcoholic Christmas punch which tasted like a berry-infused cocktail we were obsessed with on a recent trip to Melbourne together. We somehow ended up at Madame Brussel’s rooftop garden one too many times, ordering jug after jug of the delicious ‘love juice’ between fits of laughter and conversation.
Blackcurrant juice + lemonade + a hint of orange juice = LOVE JUICE
Add splices of orange and halved strawberries with ice cubes to top it off. (We recommend using chopsticks to fetch the fruit!)
Fake snow fluttered from the branches of the tree as we spread them apart, littering the floor with white specks. We discovered a fun shortcut for wrapping the sparkling lights through the branches: Ben (Zak’s older brother) volunteered (i.e. was forced) to lie on the floor and spin the base, while everyone else assisted in steering the lights around the tree… Walluh!
From there, bags of gold baubles and silver snowflakes were passed around. Throughout the night, I darted back and forth between the tree and the food platters to break off pieces from the gingerbread house. Unfortunately, it collapsed inward before it could reach the table, but it’s destruction was probably for the best; the sweet cottage with an m&m roof and icing window panes was far too pretty to eat!
In all seriousness, the purpose of the evening to was to awaken our Christmas cheer and to spend meaningful time with family. December isn’t just an excuse to spend excessive amounts of money on presents, or to devour equally excessive amounts of gingerbread (oops). The festive season is about beautiful traditions, bringing people together and enjoying the simpler moments we often overlook.
I’m particularly blessed this year to create wonderful memories with a wonderful new family. Zak’s brother used the term ‘L plates’ to describe my first Christmas with them, but I don’t feel like I’m only now learning my space in their home. The warmth I’ve experienced from the very beginning has taught me that time isn’t the exclusive justification for becoming part of a household. I am insanely lucky I now have two beautiful families to enjoy this magical holiday with.
These last three months, I’ve been teaching the Christmas musical Elf to an adorable group of children. They are playing Santa’s reindeer and elves, and it fills me with so much joy to see their excitement over this wonderful tradition we universally share. My happiness over watching Zak reach over adorned branches to carefully place the star on top of the tree is the same happiness these kids feel on Christmas eve, leaving out carrots for Comet or Blitzen. These series of cherished moments are what leaves us feeling overwhelmed with joy by the time December 25th rolls around.
Despite the glitzy photographs, I must admit not everything was perfect. There were rude neighbours, broken glasses and even a few tears. But just like the collapsed ginger bread house, sometimes these blips in our lives are for the better. They compel families and people to grow stronger in the face of adversity. Pushing through a thorny forest may leave scars on our hands, but in the end our skin heals back stronger.
Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoyed sneaking a peek into our little party. Let me know about your own traditions in the comments below xx