Christmas has always been quite a big thing in my family. We’re (mostly) not religious, but we sure do love a good tradtition. For as long as I can remember, Christmas has always gone like this:
1.) Put the tree up on the 16th of December. Brothers spend hours detangling strings of lights and fixing broken bulbs. 2.) Sit and stare at tree in awe once it’s up. 3) Frantically try to decide what to get everyone for Christmas – there are ten of us in total (Mom, dad, older sister, brother in-law, older brother, younger brother, soon to be sister in-law, niece, nephew. And me.) Never mind the 4011 other people we buy for. 4.) Panic because we always think we’ve left someone out. 5.) Recount family members, using fingers. 6.) Calm down. 7.) Bug mom about making shortbread for us. 8.) Write a list. 9.) Check what everyone is buying for everyone else, so as not to double up on gifts. 10.) Re-write list because mom bought everything for everyone. 11.) Buy younger brother’s birthday present before buying his Christmas present (Poor bugger was born on the 3rd of january.) 12.) Bug mom about making shortbread for us. 13.) Shop your little heart out. 14.) Spend way more than budgeted. 15.) Buy enough wrapping paper to cover Buckingham Palace. 16.) Forget to buy sticky tape. 17.) End up buying shitty sticky tape that doesn’t stick anything to anything. 18.) Hide presents in various packets and boxes, in order to travel on holiday and not have anyone’s surprise ruined. 19.) Hide presents in room on holiday. 20.) Smash shortbread in your face. With milk. 21.) Do present wrapping in shifts, so everyone’s present is a surprise. 22.) Leave the room and blom around like Norman No Mates when family is wrapping your presents. 23.) Smash more shortbread and milk. 24.) Switch off all the lights and listen to mom read ‘The Night Before Christmas’. 25.) Leave a plate of shortbread and mince pies for Father Christmas. With milk. And beer. 26.) Fight over who is going to be Father Christmas and smash shortbread, mince pies, milk and beer. 27.) Eldest brother always wins. 28.) Have some tea and more shortbread with the family. 29.) Get the niece and nephew all excited about Christmas day so they won’t sleep. 30.) Sleep. 31.) Get woken up by niece or nephew on Christmas Day – if you’re lucky, you’ll get a cup of Milo. And some shortbread. 32.) Join the family and wish everyone. 33.) Usually, this is the part where we all compare Christmas stockings – but mom doesn’t do those anymore. I’m still bleak. 34.) Smash more shortbread and mince pies with cappuccinos. 35.) Decide who is going to play Father Christmas. 36.) Sigh happily when niece or nephew excitedly offer. 37.) Politely wait for someone else to open presents first. 38.) Beg dad to open his presents – he’s not a fan of gifts. 39.) Smash even more shortbread and cappuccinos. 39.) Spend the rest of the day eating. 41.) Try to get a Christmas hat to fit youngest brother’s head. 42.) Laugh until you cry when it doesn’t – even though you know it won’t. Ever. 43.) Sneakily tie two hats together for youngest brother to wear. 44.) Fight to get it on his head. 45.) Always win. 46.) Take a photo. 47.) Play with presents – i.e. – read. 48.) Sigh happily for having such a wonderful life and crazy cool family. 49.) Eat leftover turkey sammiches for dinner. With stuffing and mayo. 50.) Smash more shortbread.
Mostly, our Christmas lunch is the same. Extremely simple cold meal (it’s normally 40 degrees or so at our farm) of Churkey (chicken stuffed inside turkey), potato salad, gammon, prawns, bread, stuffing and salads. And every year, without fail, my dad has a big grump about the food – every year he says he would prefer boerewors rolls. So two years ago, we had a braai. Do you think he remembers it?? No. So back to the feast of cold and simple foods. My youngest brother is the designated trifle maker and always ends up making way too much. Have a feeling this is on purpose, so they can all eat it out of the bowl the next day.
This year, we’ll be spending Christmas with plenty of family and friends in Plett and I cannot wait – it has been way too long since we’ve had a Plett Christmas with everyone. As crazy as everyone is, it’s always a wonderful holiday…
P.S – Our family is also always involved in at least one charity for Christmas. For the past few years we have made up Santa’s Shoeboxes – such a wonderful initiative. My best Christmas memory is probably the year we bought Christmas presents for all of the children at one of the Cotlands homes – no better gift than the gift of giving…x