We got our tree yesterday! And I got up today and put on Christmas music and began to decorate the house and make my Christmas plans. Things looked very promising. Things were promising.
I put up Vincent's stocking that was made especially for him last year by my crafty (aha!) sister, Mycroft. I left mine up north with everyone else's but I think Santa will still find me; as we were discussing this morning, Vincent has lived in three towns/cities in NZ, so we shouldn't make it any harder for Santa to find him. I, on the other hand, have been here my entire life. Santa has no excuse.
This is our lovely little tree, from the place where I've gotten my trees from for about six or seven years now (tradition? Bingo!). In years past, our tree has been something of a Christmas sacrifice since we both suffer from hayfever, but so far I feel fine; perhaps the upshot of still not having had our blinds cleaned (in spite of asking our property manager intermittently for a year and a half) is that our resistance to allergens has improved. We bought some lights a few years ago but they are obnoxiously bright, so our little tree is fairly understated; just woven balls and stars I got from Trade Aid last year, and a vintage Geraldine souvenir teaspoon we tied up with ribbon.
And our first present; for my favourite uncle, Price. Even if I don't see him on Christmas day, Price is always present through the jokes you get in Christmas crackers (that my cousin and I save for each other); he's the wonderful kind of person who makes wordplay jokes and tells stories about his days at the Pink Pussycat, and when he found a big dildo at an old woman's house that he was painting. This year we really want to give people meaningful presents they will want to keep, or things that can be used up; everyone we know has enough stuff; except me because I take after my grandmother and am a renowned collector/hoarder, and maybe my nieces because they haven't been around very long. Price is a wine drinker, and is forever sharing his wine with me.
And here's the whoopsie. I took the photos, and then thought I'd better have some lunch: this delicious thing Vincent made last night while I was out gorging on homemade Malaysian food and doing karaoke (sober I might add; the mark of a true enthusiast) at the anniversary party of the loveliest family who live on my parents' street - they love each other so much that when I complimented his Mother's food to the son, he thanked me, and every time his Mother got up to sing, he would hurriedly bring out the camera and his Father would quickly cue up her song. They are beautiful, and they make me love NZ and Sandringham, and forgive the bad things that have happened while we've lived there like my beloved Converse skate shoes being nicked from the porch in form two. Anyway, the whoopsie. I dished out my food, and heated it, and it looked so green and I thought it's not St Paddy's; it's Christmas! This needs some red! And the first red that came to mind was Price's bottle of red, and Vincent's not here to stop me... Now I'm on my third glass and there's no way we can explain the depleted contents as a result of "settling"... but even though it's a bad on the present front, I hadn't actually had even one drink since it's been December and that couldn't be less festive, so I think the righted wrong cancels out the righted right, so we're about even. I think that may be Bridget Jones logic, but that's fine too. I know some girls think Bridget's lame, but I love her; I don't think she epitomises the woman who thinks she has to have a boyfriend, I think she's the woman who doesn't pretend to feel things she doesn't. When I read the book, I want to go out with my girl friends and fall out of taxis, and when I watch the movie I want to sing All By Myself in my pjs, and any time I think of her I think of people who are just who they are, trying to improve themselves.
Now I'm feeling the contentment that only comes from drinking wine on a Sunday (is there a better day for drinking than Sunday? One of my favourite Sunday memories is when my sister and I took a bottle of gin to the beach and then did a four-hour car trip; there were two vomits on the way home, one when the spewer had to grab hold of what was discovered to be an electric fence, and the other when the driver said no more stops so the spew went all over the back window), and even though I don't feel my usual It's 21-Days-Until-Christmas!!! self, I feel It's-Rainy-And-Dark-Outside-And-I'm-Happy-To-Be-Inside-With-My-Tree-And-Price's-Wine (can I assure you we will replace it, and actually now I think of it, this bottle was given to Vincent by one of his bosses, so actually another bottle will be more thoughtful?) and that's a nice, grown-up, I-know-what-the-world-is-like-but-I-can-still-smile kind of feeling. I don't think it's - and I hope it isn't - a new, grown-up approach to Christmas; it's in my blood to be a child about Christmas, exhausting everyone including myself waiting for it, and playing carols in June because December is too far away (both my sisters, my Mum, and I do this), and having some kind of meltdown on Christmas day because it's Too Much!!!. Wherever we are in the world, my family and I will always be connected at Christmas because we are the only people I know who are completely bonkers for it; even the year Mycroft almost made it to Bethlehem, the pilgrims there couldn't have more passion than we heathen daughters and our not-heathen parents, over-indulging in everything, most of all excitement.
And now I've completely lost my train of thought, but no matter. Here are two songs. The first is one that my lovely hostess sang last night, after I hadn't heard it for ages, and nearly made me cry - I love songs about things people don't usually write songs about, like getting out of prison and hoping your lady-friend will take you back. The second is another Christmas song that not many people I know (outside my immediate family) are familiar with, and unless you've stumbled across my blog (in which case: hello!), I must love you, so you deserve to know it too.