It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas…

Everywhere you go!

Last year, my beautiful, ginormous, green Christmas tree fell over -taking all but two of my glass baubles with it.
This year, we searched for a tree for aaaages, finding one I really liked online – but for R1,900!! I can’t spend that on a Christmas tree!
Then we found discounted Christmas trees and decorations in a supermarket and my Glugster bought me a silver tree! Can you imagine it – a sparkly silver tree covered in sparkly tinsel and decorations!

Here it is before I added any decorations!

20141221_130740_edit

It looks beautiful! I kept the gold and silver decorations to a minimum, using them in a Pinterest-inspired centrepiece instead.

20141224_120103_edit

And I forgot I had three strands of Christmas lights so there’s only one on the tree, and here’s the finished tree…

20141221_183936_edit

To make sure it doesn’t tip over as easily as it did last year, I changed my decorating “concept”… I used to decorate mainly the front of the tree, pushing it against a wall or into a corner, making it look full. I didn’t realise how heavy the glass baubles would make it last year though, so this year its decorated all the way around. The front is colourful with an assortment of decorations and the back is all red balls, and on the two back “feet” of the tree stand – under the polka dot skirt – are small sandbags!

Here it is with presents under it – more presents than we’ve had under our tree in many years!

20141224_120130_edit

And here it is with three of our puppies!

20141225_104319_edit

Merry Happy And All That Jazz!!

I love Christmas. The decorations, the songs, the family, the holiday, the giving, the sharing, the memories.

Our big Christmas tree in the living room – all tinsel and round baubles with some candy canes inbetween

Christmas has always been a big event in my family, on both my mom’s and dad’s side. A time spent with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We’d alternate and spend one year with my dad’s family and the following year with my mom’s family.
When I remember my childhood Christmases I think of slip-n-slides, horse riding, swimming in farm dams, motorbike riding, milking cows, hiking in the White Umfolozi gorge and roadtrips. I think of padkos, putting on concerts, waking up too early for the grown ups, Boney-M records, playing board games with my cousins, mountains of gifts under the tree and waiting (not so) patiently for whichever grampa we were visiting to wake up and hand out gifts. I remember having to take a pee next to a 2 lane highway on a trip to the coast. I remember my dad meticulously packing the car for six of us, and the boot on the van popping open, spilling our luggage across an intersection halfway to our destination. I remember our cars breaking down and I remember my daddy darling driving us halfway because he was working extra shifts, and being driven the rest of the way by our grandad with our dad then joining us in time for presents. I remember special Christmas parties with my Ouma and just her grandchildren, with her taking us to the snake park and the zoo and the ballet and pantomimes. And traditional Christmas turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And paper crowns and crackers. And nuts still in their shells.
And how strange it was the first time my parents and siblings went on holiday without me!
And creating our own traditions.

This year I even have a small tree in my kitchen!

You know, I spent more than ten years working for a company that didn’t allow its operational staff to take leave during its busiest business season, and I was down in the dumps for at least a month every year because I could never get over the feeling that I was missing out. I musta been a bitch to work with…
But oh how things have changed…
This will be my 7th Christmas holiday in a row, and the 6th Christmas spent with my darling Glugster. We don’t go overboard with Christmas gifts, but we do spend a lot of time with family and friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I hope that my knucklehead will one day have good memories of his Christmases.

 

My mommy & daddy darling’s Christmas tree – with some decorations older than I am and handled by several generations of our family!

My all time favourite Christmas song sung by ol’ blue eyes himself… I expect you to sing along y’hear!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Music composed by Hugh Martin, lyrics by Ralph Blane

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Annual Sibling Supper, Number Eleven!

On Friday night it was once again time for our annual Sibling Supper, where my three siblings and I get together for a bit of a Christmas celebration.
Since we’re all grown ups with our own families, we don’t always get to spend Christmas together. And because our family is a big one, we decided several years ago that we won’t all buy gifts for everyone in our “clan” because it gets insanely expensive.

So we have a “Sibling Supper” instead, and this year was our eleventh one!

Now, as a bit of a disclaimer, bear in mind when you read about our Christmas party and see pictures of our gifts- given and received- that taste is relative. Something I consider hideous may be seen as simply GAWjiss by someone else. By no means do we want to insult anyone’s taste when we label our gifts as horrendous and/ or kitsch. In fact, over the years we have each received something we actually rather liked, that was considered dreadful by the sibling who gave it away!
The funniest part is trying to explain the presence of these, um… atrocities… *coff* in your house for the following year! Some people like it, some people say they like it because they don’t know what to say, and some people flat ignore it rather than question it!

By ways of an explanation, here are the “rules” for the gifts we give:

  1. Give the most kitsch, kak, useless, ugly thing possible!
  2. The aim is not to splurge “money-wise”, cheap and nasty is the catch phrase.
  3. Size doesn’t matter.
  4. You then have to display the item you receive, in your house until it is replaced the following year with a new one.
  5. You may not “display” the item in the toilet window behind the curtains- it has to be prominently visible.
  6. If it breaks it has to be mended and put back on display, and it may not “get lost”.

I was looking back over the history of our sibling suppers, and by some miracle it seems I have never been the recipient of one of my brother’s dreadful gifts! My sister B has got her last SIX gifts from da Bruvva, sister C has received hers equally from the rest of us, and da Bruvva has also received gifts from all three of his sisters, but more from me than from sister B and sister C.
As a result, I received da Bruvva’s gift by default this year, and our mommy darling decided how the other three gifts were handed out- sister B and sister C switched gifts and da Bruvva and I switched gifts. That way it was still a random draw, but we didn’t pull names out of a Christmas stocking.

Sister C was our host this year, and she set a pretty table with candles and nuts to crack, and she served a delicious roast chicken with sister B’s rice and veggies and my salad. Da Bruvva brought ice cream for dessert and once again we didn’t get to the pudding, and for a starter of sorts I took along stuffed eggs and I made a salad.

We had great fun reminiscing and chatting as the chicken was carved and dinner served, and then we did the gift swop! Much hilarity ensued, and my gift (which da Bruvva got) was unanimously voted the worst which made me the winner!

Then we played Buzz on the PS2! It was so much fun! The characters you can choose from are very comical and we discovered that when the winner of each round is announced you can animate your character by pushing the buttons on your controller!

The Festive Season Is Done And Dusted!

And now I need a holiday!

😀

I closed The Cupcake Lady for business on December 22nd, since my Glugster wasn’t going to be on leave I didn’t see the need to close earlier than that. That would also give me a full two weeks to get Volt, the guide-dog puppy I am raising, settled and sorted in his new home. I fetched Volt from SAGA on December 19th and its been crazy busy since then (you can read about my puppy raising adventures here)!

Christmas Eve started early-ish with my in-laws coming to us for lunch! We were going to braai but it was seriously rainy and cold so we had a cold lunch indoors instead. It would have been really relaxed if I hadn’t had to run after Volt every few minutes, but it was lovely to see them for Christmas. I am really lucky in that I have really awesome parents-in-law!

Christmas Eve dinner was at my folks place. Cold meats, salads, cheesecake, snacks… wonderfully relaxed, and my mommy darling got to have almost all her grandchildren in one place for the first time in a long time! We had decided on a fun gift swap since we don’t buy presents for everyone in the family, and after supper and cheesecake we had our second youngest nephew Nathan play Santa, deciding who got which gift. The kids were fascinated with Volt, but he has to be carefully watched because rowdy play is discouraged. And he behaved so very well! My poor sister C spent Christmas Eve in hospital having put her back out again!

Christmas Day was back at our house! My Christmas table centre-piece was inspired by some things I found on Pinterest (you can find the link to my boards in my sidebar). My darling Glugs did his always popular chicken-pasta-potjie and we all ate too much! The weather was perfect compared to the previous day and it was fabulous for swimming! Once again I did a lot of running after Volt, but he was really very well behaved. We played 30 Seconds and laughed till we cried! It was glorious!

Boxing Day, or Family Day as its now known, was spent at home, chilling and sleeping and eating leftovers.

I hope you all had a glorious Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

This was our version of an electronic Christmas card that I emailed to our friends and family earlier this month!

I hope all who have visited me here in the last year have a fabulously blessed and peaceful festive season and a happy start to 2012!