Most of our fondest childhood memories relate to Christmas at sometime no? Mine do at least. I don’t think I am alone, but I’ve been wrong before. I grew up in the country on a property in a haze of wonder and delight. (Of course that is how I remember it now… it may not of all been wonderful or delightful).
My grandparents lived on the same property and it was relatively easy and relaxing. #relaxmas Santa would come and after opening these gifts we would go off to church (or not) and then head to my grandparents for more gifts and lunch. We would gather outside on the wide verandah (I haven’t mentioned how hot it could be) and the adults would get themselves a drink and my sisters and I would squabble over being the Christmas elf aka. delivering the haul. I remember a light breeze and the sounds of country life. Chickens, dogs, cows and the like. After lunch my grandmother would be the only adult to ever take us back to our nearby house for a swim. Ahhh, those were happy times. A vision suitable for a storybook, no?
Fast forward some 30 years and now it’s my sisters and I who host. There are now 11 kids and 10 adults. It’s a tad crazy. We generally arrive for 3-4 days and share a lot of meals together. That takes some planning and military style organisation.
Getting presents for 20 relos and ourselves is no small feat. I had previously send a carload of presents with one sister who came tot the city to do some Christmas shopping. Lucky as I was running out of space for passengers! After some serious Tetris strategising (packing the car), we managed to get all gifts, fresh seafood and Christmas treats to my sister’s property.
How grateful I am to be able to visit this special place. Placed on a hill over-looking the surrounding plains with a constant gentle breeze. The sound of cows, horses, dogs (and motorbikes). We visited the local pub, The White Hart, for $10 schnitzel night, the kids ran around the back of the pub on the wide open lawns. I had a glass in my hand…what more is there to want in life?
We had planned an Ambrose golf game between families on Christmas Eve but rain kept us away. The local golf course (I use that word lightly.. course) is actually a little piece of wonder itself. The black sand greens are ‘different’ but the view is great. You really are wondering around the paddock chasing a white ball (as my Dad used to say). A shame for the rain to keep us away.
Christmas Eve we put the kids to bed. the boys in a tent outside and the girls on their blow up beds in the lounge room. Santa came early! I found the boys awake in their tent going through their presents at 1.30am! Yikes… it was a loooong day. Christmas morning was spent on the verandah looking out at ‘that view’ and watching the kids open their gifts. Lunch was simple salads with a ham and turkey. We retired in the afternoon, not to the pool but to the paddock for a spot of clay shooting. The smallest kids did continuous laps of the house on their scooters and the larger one’s swam and rode motorbikes. Everyone was happy and relaxed.
Next year, we will be back to the city and dividing our time between this do and that. We will try our best to start Christmas day with a swim at our local beach. We will argue over who drives and who doesn’t! We’ll race here and there. If you want a relaxing Christmas without all the stress and buzz find a house in one of the many country towns in New South Wales – book it! Don’t hesitate. #relaxmas could be yours next year. (Stayz is a great place to start to find a house to rent for a family or a group booking)
The Christmas of childhood seems to live on. There’s still a verandah. There’s still a pool for an after lunch dip. As my soul feeds on the wonder and delight of the country air and the simplicity of life, I hope that my children feel this and learn to appreciate all that we have to be grateful for. Family.