post christmas roundup 2013

ma's little white tree, complete with presents
All things considered, yesterday was a remarkably relaxing and seemingly easy example of the Christmas oeuvre.

I woke up fairly early (although not as easy as Christmas Eve, but that's a story for another day), somewhere in the post 4am, pre 5am bracket, but lay around for a while before giving in a playing with my phone a bit until I figured it was time to get up.

This is the first Christmas since 2009 where I actually went for a walk first thing in the morning. There were later Christmases where I was still doing my walk, but they fell on weekends. So it was nice to get out of the house and into the fresh air for a walk to clear my head while listening to the Hollywood Babble-On Christmas episode (granted it was the 2011 one, but I'm still catching up).

When I got back I still had some time up my sleeve, so I didn't really rush around getting ready, but in due course I got dressed in my new green polo shirt, the most interesting/comfortable Aussiebum underwear I've bought yet (as a side note, I've always wondered how that particular kind of underwear would work, turns out the answer is incredibly well, and it's also very convenient) and my new leather thongs (flip-flops) which may not be as comfortable as I previously thought but they do look pretty good.

Once I was ready, I loaded up the car, shot Ma a message to let you know I was on my way and trundled up the road.

As usual on Christmas morning the roads were fairly quiet and when I got to Ma's she was deep in the zone of making a seemingly metric ton of Ham Hearts and Mince Tarts to take to La Cousina's place. I threw the last couple of batches into the oven for her while she went and had a shower and put on her pretty party dress she bought for her work Christmas do but which also worked nicely as her Christmas Day outfit. The Ham Hearts were followed into the oven by our standard Christmas breakfast, croissants. And as usually happens, we left them in a tiny bit too long... they weren't burned, they were just really, really brown. They still tasted good though.

After we tidied up and Ma had boxed up the appropriate Christmas goodies and presents for La Cousina and Co we packed up Ma's car (I'm still not completely sure why she wanted to go in her car... normally we take mine because it's easier) and headed up the road.

I've mentioned in the past that I don't normally sit down when we're at La Cousina's... but for some reason this time I did... maybe just because she put a dining chair right behind me and it would have felt like a bit of a dick move not to sit in it. But my theory that not sitting reduces the amount of time we spend there kind of holds up... it wasn't an excessively additional amount of time, but we did end up staying for just under two hours.

Of course part of that was reciting my recent apartment dramas but the more enjoyable part was suggesting possible Fringe shows to La Cousina and Princess T since they both got Fringe vouchers for Christmas (from other people).

By the time we got back it was just before 11, so Ma fired up the Weber BBQ, and once it was in we got down to the serious business of unwrapping presents.

my presents 2013
I always find it interesting to look back at the presents I give Ma and the presents I get at Christmas as it's often a pretty good indicator of whereabouts I was both financially and just as a general milestone at the end of any given year.

This year saw the return of a stack of DVDs, which hasn't really been a feature since about 2010. To be honest, most of my presents are a mixture of stuff I bought myself, stuff I bought and then Ma gave me money for and stuff Ma bought. But that's pretty much the same every year.

Not shown in the photo is the new microwave I bought the same day Ma bought her party dress, as well as the cash I got from La Cousina to pay for Fringe tickets we've already bought.

So my presents this year break down like this...
  • Lego Ninjago Temple of Light (70505)
  • Bel Ami Rebels 2014 Calendar by Joan Crisol
  • Artwork from Skimming Stones
  • Doctor Who Titans Blind Boxed Vinyl Figure - Clockwork Robot
  • Heartwood Creek toy soldier ornament
  • Blue polo shirt (green polo shirt that I was wearing for Christmas not shown)
  • Thongs (the ones that I was looking for last Saturday but couldn't find in the Big W near me)
  • Kiehl's Facial Fuel moisturiser (plus free samples)
Then there were the DVDs...
There weren't really any surprises in amongst my presents, although there were a couple of things that I'd completely forgotten about until I opened them... but that's okay, to be honest I don't really mind the lack of surprise.

Ma liked her calendar a lot, which is always good... I'm never worried that she's going to turn around and say that she hates it, but I do enjoy watching her reactions to it as she flicks through it for the first time.

Once we'd finished with the presents, Ma checked the turkey in the Weber while I did my usual presents photoshoot and then set the table, which was a little different given the fact that a) Ma now has a completely new table and b) we were having something different for Christmas lunch, which meant that inclusion of the bowls in the photo below.

Given the fact that neither of us is really all that big on roast dinners (or for that matter, seafood), we've been saying for a few years now that we should investigate a new option for Christmas, so this year I decided to adapt the warm salad I have quite often in the summer months and turn it into Christmas Salad.

This involved a bunch of basil leaves, a lot of Kipfler potatoes roasted in the Weber, some green beans, several slices of prosciutto, a block of haloumi, some tomatoes and the usual turkey and sausage meat we do every year.

What was really great about it was that overall, there was less prep work beforehand, it was more about last minute prep and construction.

And an additional bonus was that I made so much of it (which I always do... but I was trying to make a lot and made a LOT) that there was not only enough for us to have a bowl each for dinner (granted neither of us really wanted all that much), but there was enough for me to bring some home and Ma to keep some.

The turkey was amazingly moist, so whatever turkey roll thing was that we bought this time we definitely have to buy again next time. I did chop the tomatoes a little too small, but that was because they were full sized rather than being cherry tomatoes. So it's still a little bit of a work in progress, but it's definitely an improvement over what we used to end up with (or perhaps just that I always felt vaguely disappointed once regular Christmas lunch was over and done with).

Of course it was also about 2pm by the time we sat down to eat and it was very filling, so neither of us were rushing to have dessert.

Instead after doing the dishes really quickly (another bonus of the warm salad idea, less washing up) we popped in the Adam Hills DVD, because god knows I need a laugh just at present, and we spend an enjoyable couple of hours laughing our asses off to Mr Hills. The DVD was recorded in London back in February, so it was interesting to try and pick up the differences between the Australian and UK versions of the show (I only spotted one obvious one). And given Adam's predilection for talking to the audience for the first fifteen minutes of any show it was interesting to see who he interacted with.

About half way through the DVD we stopped for a little dessert... and kind of like lunch, it was a big old mash up of things. The mince pie ice cream (which I want to make every single Christmas now, because it tastes AMAZING), some crumbled up meringues, berries and some of the chocolate shards I made last Sunday with leftover chocolate. Tasty as hell!

The remainder of the afternoon consisted of whatever random crap was on TV until it was time for the repeat of last year's Doctor Who Christmas special, followed by an episode of QI and then I called it quits around 8:30 or so, we divvied up the leftovers and I left all of my presents except the DVDs at Ma's place (I'm only going to have to pack and move them all in the next couple of weeks, so I figured there really isn't any point) and headed home.

Other than the ongoing sense of general dread that has been the background to every I've done for the last couple of week, the day itself was pretty good.

So that's pretty much that for another year!

I hope everyone else had a Christmas that was as stress free as these things are able to be, and got at least one really nice present.

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