Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things I don't miss about Christmas

Warning – my brand of humour follows. I think I’m funny. You may disagree.
I feel short-changed.

For years, we would debate about whose family home we would spend Christmas in.
.... my parent’s home with their clean, relatively modern furniture, good food, great company and pleasant atmosphere
... or with his large, loud, argumentative family at the farm.

Now I loved my dearly departed parents-in-law, but they lived in one of the filthiest homes I have ever entered (see above).

And I say that with love.

They lived on a cattle farm in Queensland. Hot, humid Queensland. The house was packed to the rafters with “stuff” (think Hoarders but organised into piles of stuff and without actual rubbish).
There were no fly screens on the windows, so the heat-and-humidity-loving flies, dung beetles, spiders, large moths, frogs, mice and *snakes* also enjoyed sharing their home with them. Dust and fly-spots covered everything. And the very first time I ate a meal there, I was sitting under the fluoro light at the tiny kitchen table and a dung beetle fell onto my plate.

One Christmas, when I mentioned that a pervasive odour was making me feel ill, they lovingly and laughingly blamed this on the fact that I was pregnant and feeling morning sickness.
Until they found the dead cat under the water tank.

This on top of the looong trip to get there in the summer heat. The trip would normally take 3 hours ... but at Christmas, it was often more like 4 or 5 hours due to the traffic on the single highway heading north from the city. ...this was done with babies and small children who needed regular feeding and changing. Or the memorable trip home one night that included no less than 5 stops by the side of a busy highway so my toilet-training daughter could pee.

...and then of course, there were his siblings who like nothing better than a good, loud argument at each and every gathering.

So you may get why I spent the lead up to Christmas every year trying to persuade my ever-loving husband that, as we were a family now, Christmas should be spent at OUR house and the travelling north could wait until New Years. After all, they were on farm time and never really cared what day it was anyway so celebrating a week later was not a ridiculous concept.

...and I finally won that one in 2009.

We got exactly one single Christmas as a family in our home. One single Christmas where the kids weren’t given something like a trampoline from Santa, then told that we were leaving an hour later so they wouldn’t get to use it for a few days.

One single cool, peaceful, quiet, clean, comfortable family Christmas at our home with our kids.

...and this year, I’d like nothing more than to pack up my darling husband, kids, a week’s worth of food, clean towels, bedding and presents and spend 6 hours on the highway in order to have a corned meat sandwich in 40 degree heat in a dusty, fly-ridden, snake-infested house with a bunch of crazy, argumentative in-laws.

Just so long as we ALL got to be there....

True story.


  1. Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Beautiful. I cried. Thank you for sharing feelings that I think a lot of us share.

  3. Amanda, wherever you do spend *that day* I wish you some peace and at least one more memory that can give you small smile, even if only brief.

  4. Dave came from a mainly dysfunctional family, caused by his now deceased step-father. When his grandmother died about 10 years ago he refused to visit them at Christmas anymore (or any other time of the year really).
    I would gently try to pressure him into going so that our son would get to know his side of the family. (They are all nice people that I get along fine with - they just have issues between each other mainly.) But he refused.

    So now, now that he's gone, I am going to make the 90 minute trek to visit them over Christmas for the first time in almost 10 years. (If the weather co-operates.)

    And I hear what you're saying Amanda. That you (we) would give in to any of their demands or wishes just to be with them. ANYTHING, just to be with them.

    I do agree that that is one dirty looking kitchen! And I'm happy to say that I don't know what a dung beetle is, but I can only imagine!

  5. One Single Again ( and again...)

    Hear ya