Presents, Imaginary Coffee and a Hula Hoop

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
- 24 & 25 December 2012 -

"Eventually Christmas eve is here!", at least that is what Jade would say. Most kids have been keenly awaiting this day, and Jade is no exception.

It was agreed this year we would spend our Christmas at my brothers place, my mother was already there and I planning to arrive on Christmas Eve, my housekeeper was busy at my house and I had to wait for her to finish off before I could leave.

I was excited, but not for the same reasons you can expect from a 5 year old. I had bought a new 50mm prime lens for my camera and was eager to give it a decent Christmas experience, but above that I was going to see my brother and more importantly I was going to see my niece, Jade. I see them occasionally but I hadn't seen them in a while.

The first person I "saw" when I got there was my niece, my brother did come open the gate, but the first proper greeting I got was from Jade. She was wearing a beautiful blue dress with mutli-coloured dots, to top it off was some "cat" ears, I thought they looked like bunny ears.

It was a small but intimate Christmas with just us four. My mother, brother, niece and myself. Snacks for Christmas eve dinner and a braai for Christmas day. Although you could call this a continuous event my plan was to leave after the Christmas eve celebration and come back at lunch time on Christmas day. My dear parrot, Robyn, was home alone and I left him at about 3pm to come to my brother, I couldn't bear thought of him waking up alone on Christmas day.

It's amazing how much you miss when you haven't seen a kid for a month or two. Jade had a pink hula hoop, which she has perfected since I last saw her.

I gave the hula hoop a try, but with no luck. Maybe I didn't give it enough practise, but with me it basically starts on my waist and within seconds it's around my ankles again. Jade keeps it perfectly on her waist for as long as she wishes.

Hula hooping done, Jade was hungry. The adults weren't particularly hungry, but my brother cleverly chose the correct food for the event. He could have tested his hand at a large Christmas eve dinner, although I'm sure he would have got it right, it didn't make sense for 3 and half people. So he ordered a pre-made sausage platter a couple of days before. It was ideal, it gave Jade the opportunity to eat early and is lasts well, so later we could dig in.

After Jade's dinner, it was back to the hula hoop, but not traditional hula hooping. While playing with Jade it didn't take us long to devise other interesting activities to perform with a large pink plastic ring.

I gave my brother his Christmas present when I arrived, my old iPad. I guess you can call me cheap for not getting him a new one, but I kept this one in excellent condition, no scratches, dumps or dings and although it is slightly out-dated, it still works brilliantly and more than enough for my brothers initial needs. My brother works in the printing industry which keeps him pretty busy, and he spends just about all his free time with Jade, so he has fallen a little behind in the technology world (except for his Black Berry mobile phone). I'm sure eventually he would want the newest and greatest iPad, but for a starting point this iPad will do.

Obviously he didn't get to spend hours on his new toy. Kids love iPad's too.

Even the animals were in the Christmas spirit.

Jade was getting impatient. Here in South Africa, presents are opened on Christmas Eve, well at least in my family as far back as I can remember. The idea is to wait till midnight and then open, but Jade being the only kid here, and I doubt she would still be awake at midnight, so it was promised that once it's dark, it's present time.

While my mother and Jade played with the "new" iPad, my brother and I stepped over the road to have a drink with the neighbours, who were having their own festive gathering.

When we got back, it was properly dark and ...... present time.

It wasn't long until the table was filled with Jade's new clothes and toys. Probably the most exciting thing about presents is just the idea of opening them. Jade even opened her grandmothers present for her.

Although in the minority there were some presents for the adults.

The pets got a special meal, and were quite content relaxing in our company.

Once the most exciting and adrenaline packed activity was over - opening all the presents, it was time to play with them.

Imaginary filter coffee (but based on the size of the cups, we could refer to it as espresso), trying on some new shoes, and playing with toy doggies is what comes directly after the paper tearing.

Eventually playing was done too, and it was already getting quite late, and it was time to get ready for bed.

Jade grabbed her blanket, dressed in her brand new nighty and crawled onto my brother lap. We were talking iPad and she wanted to be included in the discussion, she turned to my brother once lying down comfortably and said "I'm closing my eyes, but I'm not sleeping", 5 seconds later she was in a Christmas dream world. Christmas eve was over.

Not entirely over yet, my mother, Michael and myself sat chatting through till midnight, wished each other a Merry Christmas and chatted some more. Eventually at about 1:00 am, I greeted my family and headed 60km home. I arrived home at 2:00am, but by this time I was pretty tired myself, so once I greeted Robyn, put his blanket over and retired to my feather duvet, it didn't take me more than 5 seconds to fall asleep either.

My mother stayed over at my brother, so when I awoke at 8:30am the house was quiet. My mother (who lives with me) is quiet in general so I guess you could say it felt like a normal morning, but it didn't. I headed downstairs to make myself some coffee. Something was different, it was more peaceful than usual. I took my coffee and went to sit on the porch, the neighbourhood was unusually quiet. I couldn't even hear traffic from the nearby roads. All I heard was a birds chirping on a warm summer morning and .... silence, even Robyn was peacefully chirpy. It was an excellent cup of coffee.

I had some things to do, and before I knew it, it was time to head back to my brothers place. I let the roof down on my car, put on some music and just enjoyed the 60km drive back to Germiston.

Starting Christmas day was similar to when I arrived the previous day, however it was my brothers turn to try the hula hoop, which ended very similar to my attempt..... around his ankles. Jade was in the mood for water so the sprayers went on and it was then fun in the sun.

My brother and I tried to throw a frisbee around, but it wasn't long until it landed on the neighbours roof. But that didn't matter as we started preparing the fire for the Christmas lunch braai. 

After lunch my mother was planning to visit the neighbours for some cake and coffee, I wasn't planning to join and would head back to my house. So after having a glass of wine (only one) and watching Jade and Michael inspect Jade's bitten lip I headed off home again.

I must commend my brother for all the effort he put in. He arranged Christmas eve, and Christmas day very successfully, all being a single father with a very demanding, but beautiful, almost 5 year old daughter.

Like I said in my previous post "Christmas Mall". Christmas is a special time, there are religious aspects to it which are important, and also the time we spend with our family, but all in all, children is the reason is it magical.

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