Christmas Day

Santa came! We didn’t go too crazy this year, but there were a few special things under the tree. The pups got cozy new beds, a toy and a bucket of treats each, and an agility tunnel that we’re going to work on with them. Very spoiled.

After a breakfast of cookies and compulsory viewing of AD/BC (a Christmas morning tradition), we headed over to Mum’s house. This year we were doing something different – I basically hosted Christmas by proxy. I planned the menu, delegated different things to people and organized everything, but we had it at Mum’s and she did the decorating (which worked for us, because our house needs renovations before we can do any sort of hosting here). It worked really well. Everybody was so relaxed and the whole day went off without a single disaster, argument or anything. Oh, except for one thing: when we arrived, Dad wasn’t there, because my Grandma was in emergency. I was pretty upset and we were all very tense until we got an update. Long story short, Grandma is much better, and we’re all so relieved.

Anyway, Dad and I had a special project this year and I seriously have not stopped with the self-congratulation. We decided that plain roast pork wasn’t fancy enough – we made a Martha Stewart porchetta, complete with imported fennel pollen. It was seriously amazing. Crackling all the way around, perfectly cooked and so ‘extra’ in every way. We even went over for Boxing Day porchetta and salsa verde sandwiches tonight, it was that good. Such a triumph, and it absolutely bloody should have been… it was very expensive to make!

Dad got back in time to eat a very late lunch and we opened presents and ate ice cream Christmas pudding. As much as it would be nice to eat a traditional meal, I really prefer eating lighter food at Christmas. It’s summer, first of all, and secondly, it’s just too hard to eat really heavy food when most of us have two Christmases to go to.

Christmas naps were enjoyed by all.

We went to Nathan’s brother’s house for yet more food, then swung back by Mum’s house to pick up the dogs and finally tumbled into bed with the biggest food hangovers ever. I gingerly sipped on a slurpee and moaned about how sick I felt, telling Nathan I had The Fear. If you’re not familiar with the term, look it up. I fully believe it’s applicable to many more situations than just drinking – as in, on Christmas night, I truly did have The Fear that I would die from having consumed so much food (see, it works).

My Favourite Christmas Movies

I am mad about Christmas. Everything takes on special meaning – “we’re eating Christmas cookies and drinking Christmas eggnog from our Christmas mugs, while looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve!” I also like to watch Christmas movies non-stop from the first of December (and that’s if I can control myself enough to not start earlier).

Strangely enough, I couldn’t have picked a more polar opposite husband, though he’s coming around. Every year when we buy yet more decorations, he always says that it’s because I love it so much… but with all the little comments here and there about how magical everything looks, I think he secretly loves it too. Maybe not the racing around the countryside to visit 1231872139 family members though, but I don’t think that’s ever going to change.

He does put up with my endless Christmas movie marathon though, so I think I picked a winner. Sometimes it almost feels like he enjoys them too! Here are my favourites that I love to watch at this time of year, in no particular order:

The Muppets Christmas Carol

The best! I have loved this movie since we had it on VHS as kids and would watch it non-stop for the whole month of December. Michael Caine is perfectly Scrooge-y (“if he became a flavour you could bet he would be sour!”) and the songs are extremely catchy. I think it’s a huge missed opportunity though to not have an aged-up Belle at the family Christmas at the end so that Scrooge has another chance with her. Even though it’s highly unlikely that she would have stayed unmarried in those days.

Love Actually

It seems that everybody has a problem with this movie, but if you can get past all that and enjoy it for the silly, daggy, sometimes sexist, very British movie that it is, it’s good! The director actually hates that people think of it as a Christmas movie, because it’s meant to be about love instead. Then why have the whole plot revolve around Christmas then? Definitely a Christmas movie.

The Santa Clause

Quintessentially 90s – psychiatry is a big point in this, which is kind of telling as it was a huge preoccupation in that era. I was watching this the other day with Nathan, and it kind of shocked me that despite little niggling arguments, Scott and his ex-wife actually have a pretty good, respectful co-parenting relationship, which is nice to see. I have an issue with this though – if Santa puts presents under the trees, why do none of the parents believe in Santa? How do they rationalize these presents that they didn’t buy magically appearing under the tree? Or do they just assume every year that the other parent bought the gifts? Or we could be massively overthinking this. Just watch it.

Miracle on 34th Street

But which one? The old Natalie Wood one, or the new Mara Wilson one? They both have their charms. I think the modern one is more entertaining, but Natalie Wood is such a star. The newer one always makes me cry when everybody is cheering in the streets, and when Santa talks to the little deaf girl. I would also gladly sell Nathan and the dogs for a chance to live in the catalogue house.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Again – a movie that everybody thinks is a Christmas movie, but the director said it’s actually for Halloween! Which may be reasonable, because there are very, very few Halloween movies. But you can’t have a scene like ‘What’s This?’ and then say it has nothing to do with Christmas.

The Family Stone

Another one that makes me cry. Sarah Jessica Parker gets on my nerves a lot, but she actually really suits her character here – it’s okay that she’s unlikable, because she eventually finds somebody who likes her regardless. The boyfriend swapping is a little odd, and the ‘normal’ argument at the dinner table is excruciating, but I guess this is how real families work.

Little Women

Not technically a Christmas movie at all, but Christmas happens! And anything with snow and tartan and evergreen trees is always going to feel like Christmas. Again, Laurie with the “I’ll take any one of the sisters, don’t mind which one” thing is a bit weird, and has felt stranger as I’ve gotten older, but it’s still heartwarming. You will cry over Beth though, even if Claire Danes is the queen of ugly crying.

Sleepless in Seattle

Again, not really a Christmas movie at all. It starts at Christmas though, so it kind of counts. This is another movie that has seemed stranger as I got older – so, Annie stalks a man she heard on the radio, emotionally cheats on her fiancé, turns up where a stranger lives just to stare at him, but it’s all okay because they are happy in the end. It is creepy, to be honest. But the movie itself is so comforting and romantic, definitely feels like Christmas.

And the absolute best… Gremlins

So a Christmas movie! Nathan and I have watched this several years in a row on Christmas Eve, because it’s always time for Gremlins. Bonus points if you watch Gremlins 2, which has nothing to do with Christmas.

A Mom for Christmas

This one doesn’t even have a gif, because even though it appears to be a cult favourite among people I know, it seems to be almost entirely absent on the internet. Olivia Newton John is a mannequin brought to life when a girl wishes she had a mother for Christmas… and she is a total nutcase. I don’t think I will ever be convinced that Olivia Newton John isn’t some kind of alien, along with John Farnham and Delta Goodrem.

Honourable mentions:

It’s a Wonderful Life
Jingle All the Way
Die Hard

Not on the list: 

The Christmas Prince. Sorry, not sorry!

Merry Christmas From Our House To Yours!

It’s Christmas Eve. We’re in our special Christmas pajamas, drinking French champagne. We’ve all (including the pups) had a total feast of sushi for dinner. Later, we’re going to drink eggnog in our special mugs and watch traditional Christmas movies like Gremlins. Christmas Eve at home is becoming a tradition for us – it’s just for us, our little family, in our house. We spend days afterwards running around to various other houses to do Christmases Round 1, 2 and 3, but Christmas Eve is just for us. I think this will be especially important when we eventually have kids, but for now, it’s equally important to us to have this time to just be together with each other and our beloved P+R.

I just wanted to wish anybody who is reading, if anybody is reading at all, the merriest of Christmases. I hope Santa brings you what you are hoping for, I hope your days are merry and bright, I hope you get your Christmas wish, and I hope that the whole world can have even just one day of peace and goodwill.

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So…

MERRY CHRISTMAS from J+N+P+R!

We’re Back + Bring On Christmas!

What a total whirlwind! These last two weeks have been crazy. Nathan and I went to Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nara and Tokyo) and had an amazing time. I always feel so grateful that we have had these almost ten years together without any kids or anything, so that we can have these kinds of adventures as a pair, just us without having to worry about anybody else. Well, we always worry about the dogs, but they were safe at home being looked after by my family and by all accounts, they had a great time too.

I will write about Japan, and I will write about Bali – they are coming, I promise. But as soon as we got our suitcases in the front door and I saw my beloved Christmas tree again… it just feels like Christmas is all I can focus on right now! So, I might be able to squeeze in some travel posts next week, but otherwise it’s all Christmas all the time here.

So, my tree. Every other year, we made do with a short, threadbare hand-me-down (which I still have great affection for – memories!) but this year we decided it was time to buy something new. It goes almost up to the ceiling and is gorgeously bushy. As for our decorating scheme, we don’t really have one. I have a vision in my head of a vintage toy shop in a story book, full of twinkling lights and bright colours, so I guess that’s what we are going for. Everything is rainbow, nothing matches, bows everywhere, and the tree is covered in tiny little souvenirs from various places we have traveled to. There is even a Pikachu, a Mickey and a Minnie on there, plus some Hello Kitty and little foxes I got at the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto. I love it – even Nathan, the world’s biggest Christmas grinch, loves it.

christmas tree

There has been a bit of tweaking here and there, and a few new decorations on it since this photo… I’m sure I’ll get it right by Christmas Eve. I’m still working on the dogs’ Christmas tree (yes, they are getting there own tree this year). It’s going to be so fun and covered in the types of decorations that I love but Nathan won’t let me put on the big tree. I’ll post all about it when it’s done!