As I write to you this month I have to admit to feeling more than a little off-colour; I’m unlucky to be suffering from a particularly nasty stomach bug called campylobacter (I’ve just read all about it in the Health Section). Putting my Pollyanna hat on, I can say that at least this will be the first December when I lose weight during the festive season, rather than gain it!
So Christmas is coming and we haven’t done any preparation. Quite frankly, the thought of rich Christmas food makes me turn a whiter shade of pale right now, but hopefully this will slowly improve over the next couple of weeks.
One advantage of being sick is that it makes you slow down for a while and have some quiet time for thinking (which is a rare occurence for us working mums!). Last year I went to a Business Women’s conference, and one of the guest speakers observed how hard it is for us to take time out, but that we can do it if we really have to: her observation was “have you ever noticed that everything stops for diarrhoea?!” – a quote that is particularly poignant right now!
One of the things I’ve had time to think about is the meaning of Christmas. As I read the columns written by Dame Susan Devoy and Mark Leishman, I realised that it is time that we, as a family, starting instilling some Christmas values in our own children. Abby 7, Liam 5, and Sam 4 are now getting to an age when we can start to talk about Christmas meaning more than presents, lollies and lots of food.
After reading Susan’s article I had a chat to the kids about how some families really struggle at Christmas to afford presents and special treats for their children. I was heartened that Abby and Liam wanted to take some coins from their piggy banks and buy some presents from the $2 shop for other children (as far as they are concerned, this is the best possible shop a kid could be let loose in!).
Sam, however was not so keen. In fact, I’m fairly sure the neighbours heard him holler “Nooooo! It’s my money!” as he clutched his piggy bank to his little chest! (In fairness, Sam has only just turned 4 and is still learning to share – and even worse, I believe there has been some purloining of his funds by his older siblings!).
So we are now planning (when Mummy is better) to make a trip to the $2 Shop as well as our local supermarket, in order to take a bag of Christmas goodies down to the Salvation Army. I would like to think that this will become an ongoing family tradition which our children could then pass on to the next generation.
Whilst we’re out shopping Mummy had also better pick up some goodies for Santa. I have been informed (by Daddy) that Santa is rather partial to dark ale and Christmas cake, but to avoid being charged with being Drunk in Charge of a Sleigh, he will settle for a glass of milk!
Can I ask that all the other mums and dads keep Santa’s fluid intake down – last year he had to make an unscheduled toilet stop in our bathroom and left snow sprinkled all over the toilet seat and floor!! (Abby, Liam and Sam had eyes as big as saucers when they saw this…canned snow spray is a wonderful thing!)
Christmas for us this year will be a special family occasion – we are lucky to have all branches of the McWilliam clan visiting from Auckland and Christchurch, and there will be an abundance of cousins for our children to play with. We intend to spend a lot of time relaxing in tents and caravans at Papamoa Beach, and enjoying time with all four grandparents. One thing life has taught me; enjoy your family and friends whilst you can, because you just don’t know how long you’ve got them for.