- Trees are very important - in our house they were always real and always a Spruce, we always had two (a big one and a small one) and we would spend hours scouring Garden centres to get the perfect tree. Height, shape and bushiness all had to be considered.
- Our trees notoriously spend longer outside the house than they do inside the house and have been known to go up on Christmas Eve.
- We don't make deadlines - we hit them! Hit them right at the very last second. As the post office, on the very last day for parcel postage, starts to dim the lights and loosen the shutters our parcels for relatives are being boxed, sealed and labelled.
- I didn't know this country had a second class post till I left home.
- Last year my Sister posted my Mum's Cards, in the snow, at 8pm on Christmas Eve. She was still writing them at 7.45pm
- We have had French dinner guests for Christmas Dinner, that none of us have met before.
- One Year my Mum put her Christmas Cards up on boxing day.
- One Christmas Day My Mum rang her friend Margaret and asked if she had a spare orange she could borrow for the stuffing as she had forgotten to buy any. The phone call was brief and she looked puzzled, "I don't who that was" she said as she hung up "but I'm pretty sure I didn't ring Margaret". We made do with a lemon.
- Every single year I receive a present on boxing day, not as tradition, just someone usually finds one they forgot to wrap/give
- The table decoration is very important, and changes each year. One year it was a huge bowl of floating candles and poinsettia flower heads, which cracked mid meal, flooding the table and washing away the spouts and parsnips.
- The Christmas pudding wouldn't light one year because the brandy had been watered down so drastically by teenagers raiding the drinks cabinet
- One year my Mum invited her brother and his family to have Christmas with us. She, unfortunately, developed Flu on Christmas Eve and him and his wife cooked the Christmas dinner for the rest of us. They never came for Christmas again.
- One year, we sent parcels to my Mum's family with dodgy labels she'd bought at the market - they all fell off. They had to open them and guess who they were for.
Obviously, if you're having a c-section on the 14th of December your Christmas Eve (the cut off point) is moved to the 13th of December. So that means, without question, no matter what, I will be organised this year.
But there are drawbacks to organising those who live in chaos, like trying to tame unruly hair, the chaos has its own ideas.
Example 1 - Cards
They were bought in October, Written the last week of November and posted a couple of days ago (didn't want to be the Christmas geek whose Card arrives first). "Well done Me" I thought, but then when lay in bed last night, letting my mind wander, had a flashback that I had wrote in most of them "Hope we can catch up in 2011" and "Hope 2011 rocks" and other new year good will gestures for the passing year! Duh!
Example 2 - Tree
Last weekend we bought it early, just so we were both involved in the decision making, as The FH didn't want to have to the burden of my disapproving glare haunting him over the holidays if he were forced to buy it on its own. "We'll just keep it out side for a week" I said, as there was no way a tree would be put up in my house any earlier than the 11th of December, especially not a Spruce.
"Have you put it in water?" My Mum asked the following Monday. Then I was quickly sent home, carrying a manky blue bucket, retrieved from the depths of her yard, to fill and put tree in. The next morning, after a blowy night, I opened the patio curtains to discover the back gate open and the tree missing "Fucking Hell someone's nicked my tree!" I gasped running barefoot outside, to discover it had merely been the wind that had blown the gate over and blown the tree of the decking.Every morning since then, I find the tree in a new part of the yard, fallen over, a little more bashed, a little less green, water bucket empty. By Sunday I am sure it will still be the the same shape, they we spent 45 minutes debating on in the nursery.
Example 3 - The Children's Cards
So last year I didn't factor in that I would have to give Christmas Cards to my child's nursery class. But it worked out quite well, as I waited till that last day of term so I could just them to the kids he got a card from. This year trying to be organised, there are 60 kids in reception and I have a four year old who isn't great with surnames - how do I differentiate between the four Rubys, 3 Graces and 6 Harrys? Guess who will be stalking the school name pegs on Monday morning?