I love Christmas
I love everything about it - the sparkly, silly and even tacky and tasteless aspects of it, and the lovely warm family get-together bits.
I had 16 Christmases in winter, and 35 in summer, and now I'm back to wintry ones. They're all fabulous. The kids have known nothing but summery Christmases: a few presents when they wake up, a swim in the Indian Ocean at Cottesloe, with an aunty, an uncle and a grandad — and maybe even dad— and then presents before lunch with the whole family.
We have a very relaxed Christmas schedule. A few weeks before the Big Day, there's a draw to see who gives whom a present. The kids get presents from everyone, but the adults get only one present each and the giver's identity remains a secret until at least Chrissie lunch!
Around this time, it's decided who will have Christmas lunch at their place, and who will bring what food — everyone contributes, with the hosts providing the main dish.
Several days before the event, every year, without fail, Grandad Lloyd would ring around to ensure someone had done a reccy to establish where ice could be bought on the day. For the beer, of course!
Now Lloyd is not so well, and we'll miss his presence at Christmas: his jokes, his absolute thrill in every minute of the day, his love of presents, his enjoyment at seeing the pile of presents under the tree, his insistence that every present is unwrapped one at a time so he could see everything ... and the mock-panicky phone calls about the ice!
If it was a hot forecast (0ver 90 degrees F), we'd usually have lunch indoors at Gloster Street with Dave outside at the barbecue (swordfish a specialty) and the air-con on in the big room.
If a mild day was forecast, we'd go to Heather and Peter's for lunch under the thatched pergola. Peter is a dab-hand at the Weber, and we've had some great Christmas turkey there.
This year, way over here, we won't have any other Zampattis for lunch, and our son Simon, daughter-in-law Marnie and grandson Mack won't be with us. I think this will be the first Christmas Simon and I have spent apart.
But we'll have two of the kids' old friends from Gloster Street, who arrive next Monday for a couple of months. And there are at least a couple of orphans at the Bondi whom we'll have adopted for the day, so we'll have plenty of fun and a big table.
We put up the Christmas tree yesterday. A smaller affair this year, though. But another proper, live tree — it smells so good!
I was a bit teary when I opened the box of decorations — the little animals were chosen specially for Mack, then three, and he loved seeing his loyon and toyger on the tree.
And then there are the decorations that I brought over with us, the ones I just couldn't leave behind:
Simon and I chose this Mother Goose one before the younger kids were born — must be at least twenty years old. It's a bit faded now, but always gets a place.
Will made this one in kindy (he's about to turn eighteen) ...
... and this (below) was him yesterday after reaching up to put the star on top of the tree (blurry pic because he was a reluctant subject and I got only one shot at it) ...
Lily made this little purple tree, out of one of those styrofoam meat trays. She's twenty now.
The Santa and snowman candle (below) was given to Lily by her teacher in Year 2, so she would have been seven. They've been lit a couple of times, and look like they've had one hot Christmas too many, so they'll enjoy the cool.
Lily also made this star, staring to curl at the corners ...
And this little sugar-frosted house (or it could be a church), was among the very first things Simon and I picked for the tree in 1982, when he was six. It's lost its hanger, and I keep meaning to glue on one, but it's probably enjoying a much steadier life on the mantelpiece.
This is a pretty special Christmas ornament, though nowhere hear as old. It's a gorgeous Wedgwood ball, which Heather gave me last year when she was here. It came with a message signed by Lord Wedgwood himself!
Now I'm off to get my cards in the mail and do some shopping. See ya!