strange_complex: (Saturnalian Santa)
Oh, plural form of the word 'tradition' in this title, how I love thee! Because now I can just list all my favourite traditions without having to choose between them. Here goes:
  • Buying everyone candles to mark the Saturnalia, because I can, and people indulging me over it.
  • For the thirteen years that we did it, the annual Christmas dinner with my Bristol buddies.
  • Decorating the family tree with my sister while listening to CDs of cheesy Christmas music and trying to stop the cat chasing after all the decorations.
  • Going out into my parents' frosty, wintry garden to find sprigs of greenery, berries and winter-flowering plants, slot them into a log drilled with holes which my Dad made me for the purpose and make a winter display for the top of the fireplace.
  • Helping to host a Christmas party at my parents' house, including taking charge of the mulled wine, singing carols and enjoying getting all dressed up and into the festive spirit.
  • Staying up until midnight on Christmas eve to toast in Christmas with my sister.
  • Putting sherry and mince pies out for Santa, which I still do even though we stopped having stockings any more in 2005. I'll say more about why I do that when we get to day 15, 'Do you still believe in Santa Claus?'.
  • Bringing the presents from underneath the tree and into the lounge, sorting them out into piles according to who they're for, and then taking turns for each member of the family to open one present at a time, while sipping delicious coffee and eating chocolates.
  • Having angel chimes on the table during Christmas dinner.
  • Everything about the dinner itself.
  • Setting fire to the pudding! I'm not sure when this became 'my' job, but it is now, and I love doing it.
  • Sitting around afterwards with a roaring fire in the grate, drinking more coffee and playing with new presents.
  • Watching Doctor Who.
  • Staying up late after everyone else has gone to bed watching TV and catching up on other peoples' days, and opinions of Doctor Who via the internet.
  • Going to see my oldest friend Amy and her family on Boxing Day.

Now wouldn't it have been a pity to have to choose just one of those?

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strange_complex: (Default)
I shall have to resort to numbered paragraphs.

1. I spent the weekend in a cottage near Ledbury, enjoying the 10th Annual Winsley Road Posse Christmas Meal. The choice of Ledbury was pretty random, really, based on reasonably equal travelling distances for all of us, and a nice-looking cottage within taxiable range of a railway station. But it was a good choice. The cottage exceeded all our expectations, while the lady we were letting it from had even left us a real live Xmas tree, a plate of mince pies and a lovely fire smouldering in the grate when I arrived. It was fabulous to catch up with everyone again, and enjoy the cottage, the grounds and the crisp but sunny weather together. We were all a bit bemused to find ourselves smoothly and professionally cooking a fabulous meal, eating it on an antique oak dining table and passing round port afterwards: all something of a contrast with meal number 1. Anyone would think we were grown-ups now, or something! But it was great, and so great in fact that we unanimously decided the book the cottage up again for the equivalent weekend next year before we left.

2. Last night was another jovial Christmas gathering, this time with the [livejournal.com profile] oxgoths in the Chequers. Presents aplenty were distributed amongst the assembled company, chocolates munched and silly hats worn. We even attempted to play Christmas carols in chorus, with Spiky Neil conducting us and each person blowing on a differently-pitched whistle. Just one of those evenings that makes you feel really glad to have the friends you have.

3. And, finally, isn't Radio 3's Christmas Bachathon a stroke of genius? I don't tend to listen to Radio 3 all that much, but now that it's offering 100% Guaranteed Bach every time I switch it on, things have become quite different. I even threw over the Today programme this morning, setting my alarm to wake me up with one of his cantatas instead. Chatting to friends, I think a lot of people are doing the same sort of thing, and I don't doubt it's doing their audience figures a world of favours. Now, how about a Handel New Year, eh?

4. Ah, it's time for Futurama! Bye. :)

Activity

Wednesday, 22 December 2004 20:14
strange_complex: (Penny Crayon)
Photos by [livejournal.com profile] angeoverhere have now been gratefully incorporated into the web page for our Christmas meal on Saturday.

I had to start today with an emergency trip to a nearby branch of Waterstone's to change a present I bought yesterday, which its intended recipient turned out already to have. But that's been done successfully now, and the replacement book should be appreciated.

Meanwhile, at home, we've been preparing for a party to be hosted by my parents tomorrow night. We've done this a couple of times before, previously on Christmas Eve itself, but this year it is to be the 23rd, because many of my Mum's friends can't make the 24th. I'm really looking forward to it, because I love Christmas parties anyway, and I shall also get to see two dear friends: Amy and Fleur WINOLJ. I'll also at last get to meet Amy's new baby daughter, Holly, who was born in July, but whom I've so far seen only in pictures: picture like these, in fact.

In preparation for the party, I have today:
  • decorated our tree
  • vacuumed the whole of the downstairs
  • swept the hall floor, which is wooden
  • cooked some cocktail sausages
  • stuck an orange full of cloves ready for the mulled wine (slurp!)
  • painted my toe-nails gold
  • hung up a wicker ball thing with bits of vegetation sticking out of it over the front door
  • basted pears cooked in red wine sauce by my Mum
  • worked out how many verses we will sing of various carols (for yes, it will be a musical evening also)
The cat was a significant hazard during activities 1 and 4, but we have so far managed to neutralise the danger by distracting her with alternative activities / food.

Later this evening, my sister will arrive by train from London to join the family for Xmas, so we shall be able to stay up late giggling and doing sisterly things. Hurrah!

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