The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

The night before Christmas……

on December 24, 2015

I only have myself to blame really. I know that.


Especially when the shops have been filled to the rafters with all kinds of Christmas merchandise possible for months. I even had the audacity to complain at the sight of a Christmas bauble in September that was jostling for space on the shelves with a pointy witch’s hat.


I saw rows and rows of sprouts and cranberries last week on my regular weekly Big Shop.


A few weeks ago I made a note to actually buy some when I admired the same staple Christmas crackers that have been decking the aisles in my eight tropical Christmas celebrations in Singapore.


I pondered the Christmas wrapping paper and even bought a couple of rolls back in early November.


I only got as far as thinking about most things Christmas though. Whilst I had in mind exactly what I was going to buy for the gifts and for Christmas lunch and Boxing Day. I just never consciously started acting on the To Do List.


So today I have been racing around  the shops like the proverbial Kardashian glitter bottomed fly. Picking up sprouts, cranberries, chestnuts, double cream, single cream, potatoes, Christmas crackers, Christmas wrapping paper and last minute stocking fillers. I had a moment of panic over the cranberries as the mountains and mountains of the week before had suddenly been snapped up.

Yet as I was busy locating the cranberries, it didn’t fail to register in my mind that if there were to be no cranberry sauce or sprouts, who would actually mind? Certainly not #1, 2 and 3 who are a broccoli and carrots crew and any other vegetable is still consumed via Annabel Karmel’s ‘hidden vegetable’ pasta sauce tactic. Would it really matter if I bought a tin of cranberry sauce? Or not having to explain what is bread sauce. That lump of mush that smells of cloves to the side of your plate?


 The thing is, these traditional food items only grace our plates once a year. To miss out would mean waiting a whole year more. (Which, if this year is anything to go by, won’t take that long to come by again.) Without these traditional food items, it may as well be just a regular Sunday roast dinner. Actually we are more or less having a regular Sunday roast dinner as at the request of #1, we are having roast beef. Posh roast beef though because it’s Christmas but not quite Wagyu roast beef posh leaving no expenditure left for anything else. #1 is of that age where it’s important to recognise his contribution is valued in this household. Equally, it sort of doesn’t quite spell Christmas without some form of turkey product on the table. It’s quite odd for me to think this now when I happily spent nearly 30 years without a turkey in sight adorning the Christmas dinner table.


The other more practical issue we have right now is that with #1, 2 and 3 you really can’t have the items on their Father Christmas list magically get delivered weeks in advance. How could you possibly explain that one? Father Christmas decided that because they have been extra good (ahem) then they get theirs way before anyone else? So to avoid this, we usually get the most important gifts at the very last minute.

So much so, that Husband just managed to get to ‘Father Christmas’s Workshop’ with 15 minutes to spare for #2’s ‘gift from Father Christmas.’ A request that was suddenly put in last week. Unlike #1 who is always consistent and slightly prescriptive, with detailing who is bringing him what. As for #3, it changes every time someone mentions something else. I don’t know what her reaction will be when she opens ‘that’ gift but we can easily get around it because she would have asked to put it on her list at one stage or another. She’s 3.


Speaking of which, this year #1, 2 and 3 are giving gifts to each for the first time. After ‘helping’ to wrap up her gifts, #3 in a very secret stage whisper says to #2, ‘Shhh. #2 you can’t open your Shopkins. Shhh. You can’t open your Shopkin ok?’ To Husband, ‘Daddy, I told #2 she can’t open her Shopkins.’ Whilst #2 is stood right next to her.


So why all this last minute exhausting dashing around doing everything in a Supermarket Sweep fashion?


It has nothing to do with not loving Christmas. I have always loved Christmas. Perhaps though, in this tropical heat, it takes a little longer to get into loving Christmas. There is no gradual transition from the warm, lazy summer days to the long, cold winter nights. Even though the shops are telling you it’s Christmas soon. There seems to be mixed messages from is it Halloween or Christmas? To is it Christmas or Valentine’s Day? The commercial aspect is relentless. The Sales have now started even before you’ve got the presents wrapped up.


The longer you live this Expat Life you realise just how much your Christmas wish is to be amongst all your family. Which may present other festive challenges and logistical issues but embrace them I say.




I still have a few more things to do but an improvement upon last year may mean that they’ll be done the night before Christmas instead of the early hours of Christmas Day!


#1, 2 and 3 are finally asleep. The wine is out for Father Christmas and the more responsible apple juice too. I’ve made the annual batch of almond tarts he likes. A few things have been prepped for tomorrow’s lunch, so I think we’re winning at Christmas 2015!


 But if there’s anything I’ve forgotten, it won’t really matter, because I already know that for #1, 2 and 3, it will be a brilliant day. It is Christmas Day! CHRISTMAS DAY! I can’t wait to be woken up super early to hear how excited they are. Has he really been? Check out what’s there by the tree. Can we open anything yet? Can we? When can we open another. And so on.


And there’s another reason why I’m looking forward to tomorrow and whether they truly believe. I’ll tell you about it afterwards though.


For now, I’m looking forward to a good day, perhaps not John Lewis Christmas ad perfect but it’s our Christmas Day. I’m sure you’ll have one too.


Merry Christmas. Wishing you and yours all the joy that being together brings.




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