We had a lovely New Zealand style Christmas yesterday all afternoon at mum's house. My husband's family tradition is a huge lunch buffet, then open presents, then have lots of pudding (dessert).
This year I brought a Pumpkin pie and some warm artichoke dip and crackers. Both were yum. Shane's sister, nieces and mum made garden salad, rice salad, potato salad. My niece's beau brought turkey and stuffing he had made. Besides turkey, we had sliced ham, sliced chicken. Mum made a big bowl of orange fruit punch with lemonade (soda). She put out a plate of nuts and dried fruit. It was a good spread.
We brought our 2 dogs with - Lady the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and Kiki the Basenji. My husband's sister brought their 2 dogs - both Shitzoos: Merlin and Guenivere. Mum has a large black Belgian Shephard named Ruby. We got their first and brought three dogs downstairs to mum's outdoor patio and closed the glass ranch slider so they could have a romp and go pee if needed.
My husband and I brought in our food and presents to add under mum's tree. We open presents downstairs which leads to the outside patio - and we have lunch upstairs in the open plan large kitchen, dining room and lounge (living room). My husband's father (who passed last year) built their family home from scratch back in the 1960's when they moved to Titirangi NZ up from Taranaki. The home is built on a small hill so you drive in from the street, park in the carport and enter the house on the top floor where the kitchen is. Down the hall from the kitchen is 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom. The downstairs has a 2nd large lounge, laundry room, 2 adjoined bedrooms and a 2nd full bathroom. They raised 2 girls and 1 boy in this large family home. The upstairs has a beautiful macro carpa wood ceiling. Kitchen and bathroom have lovely polished wood floors and carpeting throughout the rest of the home. It is a big house just for my husband's mother on her own. But she has her large Shepard watchdog and my oldest niece is living there, too for maybe another year or two.
After we had lunch - with the 3 small dogs Merlin, Guenivere and Lady - we all headed downstairs for present opening. We let in, from outside, Ruby and Kiki - and the present opening began.
I got some hand made soap, some clothes, pajamas, cement garden goose, cooking oil dispensers, mortar and pestile, plexiglass flower decorated cutting board and 3 flowering plants to plant in my garden. We gave a couple doggie toys so those were unwapped so the dogs had something to play with. Our 4 year old niece got quiet a few activity toys so she started playing with those right away. We gave my 22 year old niece and her fiance a camping radio and rock climbing coupon for an indoor climbing place they like. We found batteries and got the camping radio playing songs plugged into my husband's iPhone - a Brooke Frasier album sounded nice on this little player.
We all opened our presents. My brother-in-law, a skilled auto mechanic and motor cycle enthusiast enjoyed a book we gave him which has lots of antique car pictures. He enjoyed his presents, then took a nap on the couch where he sat. After 1-2 hours of present opening by the group, this always tires him out and he falls asleep, My husband joined in with my 4 year old niece playing a little mechanical fishing game. After a bit, my husband wadded up some used Christmas paper and threw a wad or two from across the room trying to wake up my brother-in-law. I think he beaned him on the head and he finally awoke.
We all started filing back upstairs ready for pudding. NZ calls dessert pudding - you may or may not get actual pudding. Mum made a trifle and a pavlova. Someone brought a big bowl of fruit salad. I made the pumpkin pie. Mum also made blue, purple and red striped jello. We also had a container of vanilla custard and mini bite size custard and strawberry pies. My niece made chocolate and marshmellow hokey-pokey. We all had a plate or two of dessert and retired to couches and chairs to play some card games, watch TV and have a chat - or nap. I fell asleep for a few minutes with my Cavalier Lady sitting on my lap. Kiki and Ruby tired each other out playing chase up and down the stairs. Merlin is blind so he was carried up and down the stairs a couple times so he could go potty outside.
The weather for our NZ Christmas was grey all day and bit drizzly at times. It was very humid - and we have the same weather today on Boxing Day.
We are heading out soon to hit mum's for a leftover lunch and go shopping for a present for ourselves - we've been saving up to get a new barbeque. My husband is keen to get one that has a glass panel to see how the insides are cooking. I just want one that won't rust after 5 years. But it rains a lot here, it is a rain forest so I think 5 years is average lifespan for a bbq in NZ.
That was my Christmas this year. I sent packages to Chicago and Paris where various family members live. They didn't send me anything, but they did email me so they remembered I still exist down here in the South Pacific. We have a summer Christmas here, but we have a great time sharing the day with our NZ family.
While the world is always in strife, I wish peace and love to you and yours and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season no matter where you are.
|native Pohutukowa "Christmas" Trees on NZ beach - they bloom in Dec|