Here are my Christmas 2008 highs and lows:
Top Ten Highs:
1. My six year old's glee on Christmas Eve when our friends arrived for a drink. It signified for her the start of the actual festivities.
2. Our Christmas goose. I love goose and there is nothing better for Christmas dinner. Nothing.
3. Making homemade mince pies a la Nigella. It took me three days to actually complete the mission but I did it. Yippee!
4. Evening family games of Cluedo. Cluedo for my American readers is the British version of "Clue." As my sister said when I explained to her, "Wow, those British have a different word for every one of ours."
5. Completing our re-done Drawing room (Living Room to you Yanks). Last October, in a moment of what can only be described as craziness, my husband agreed to let me re-decorate the Drawing Room and in a moment of what I can only describe as co-dependent craziness I thought that the deadline of just before Christmas was a good idea. But it's done and we've all enjoyed it hugely so it was worth the pre-Christmas chaos.
6. Getting the kids what they wanted.
7. Finding the youngest child's wayward Christmas present still under the tree albeit hidden on Boxing day.
8. Christmas tv. The one thing that the British get totally right is a glut of fantastic viewing over the Christmas holiday. They pull out all the stops and let me tell you there is nothing better then British tv at Christmas time. For kids. For adults. I've been catching up on three back to back episodes of the entire series of Sex and the City, and 30 Rock every night.
9. Eating great food. Drinking great wine.
10. Sleeping until 9am almost every single day. Bliss.
Ten things I could have done without:
1. After getting up at 7:15 on December 23 to queue at my favorite local butchers where I always get my goose etc... pre-Christmas I finally got to the front of the queue for service. Having made pleasantries with the really lovely butcher who always remembers me, I handed over my card. A moment later he said, Mrs. S***er mumble mumble. I said, What? Mrs. S***er mumble mumble. Not being very alert at this hour I still couldn't quite make out what he was saying. He finally said, Mrs. S***er YOUR CARD HAS BEEN DECLINED. Oh, my God. There must have been about 50 people behind me. I had another card but I was, as you can imagine, mortified.
2. After all the presents had been unwrapped I looked at my husband and said, did our youngest child open her gift from my parents? No as it turned out. Prompting an hour search through the various hiding places of all the Christmas stashes around. Damn if I could find it either. I know I wrapped it because I had the foresight to write it all down this year as I was wrapping but I really couldn't work out where it had gone. I lay in bed on Christmas night going over it in my mind. See 7 above. This would have been number one in my low points if aforementioned youngest child was at all bothered. But, she wasn't.
3. Not getting it right with my middle child this year. Sigh. I can see now that what she wanted was teeny bopper clothes. Not craft sets.
4. Having the drama of a room being re-done right before Christmas. The painter, the kids the furniture moved all over the place. Chaos.
5. Not sending Christmas cards this year. I feel really guilty about it. Last year we had a really big Christmas party and I couldn't get my act together to get out Christmas cards. This year I don't even have that excuse. For shame.
6. Eating too much. Drinking too much.
7. Still can't find the school Secretary's bloody present!
8. Never winning at Cluedo. At first I tried to be "generous" but my competitive husband and children did not see fit to return the favour and now, I haven't won a single game. And none of the younger children want to be on my team anymore. It's just like being in school again.
9. Santa and his elves did not see fit to fold and iron all my kids laundry. And now it's Mt. Everest in my utility room.
10. Not blogging.
This post was written by Audrey, an expat mum of three. You can read more at her blog, Multitude.
Photo credit: radiofree