The Kinnie Club

Rostered on for Christmas

The air is heavy with expectation in December. Like the thick fog that settles on a winters morning. Mornings where I can barely see out of my kitchen window as the blanket of haze takes over the horizon. Christmas is no different. The thin air is extinguished and in its place a thick heavy blanket of expectation.

I feel different this year to last. Last year I felt that the few weeks leading up to Christmas I was pushing through concrete to survive. Barely managing to get through each day and clinging onto the release that only comes when one year ends and another starts.

I do not feel like I am pushing through concrete this year. I am tired, but there is no pushing, no shoving to get through. Almost like a balloon that has lost its air I feel like I am doing what I need to, no more and no less, to get through these last few weeks.

I have always felt like we are all rostered on for Christmas. Handed out a timetable of expectation and commitments, with no choice but to be steadfast and diligent with the role we must play. Christmas presents – check. Christmas parties – check. Christmas catch ups – check. Christmas cards – check. Christmas decorations – check. Christmas carols – check. Christmas concerts – check. Christmas cooking – check. Christmas clean up – check. Sometimes the timetable can be exhausting and depleting.

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Our family has a real life roster for Christmas – one where we share turns in hosting Christmas lunch. Except there are two rosters: one Christmas for my Dad’s side of the family and one roster for my Mum’s side of the family. Our family has grown too big to hold both events on the same day – so two rosters, two different days. This year it is my turn to host my Dad’s side of the family. Usually I am well prepared penning out menus, gathering bits and pieces early in December. Not this year. This year it is going to be a last minute throw everything together and hope for the best type of affair.

I’m sure it will be fine. I have no doubt the kids will just want to get together and play with all their new Christmas toys. There will be moments captured and memories kept. But the idea of giving this get together my absolute all – well it overwhelms me. To be perfectly honest, I do not think I have my all to give. I think most of it was snapped up during the year. So this Christmas I am giving what is left. It may just be a simple old fashioned barbeque at the end of the day and that will be ok.

What I need to keep reminding myself is that we should not let the expectation of Christmas spoil our actual Christmas. Spoil the moments of catching up with the ones we love, even if it is just a barbeque or a coffee. Spoil the meaning of Christmas, whether it is a religious or spiritual feeling you hold close to your heart, it needs to be honoured above presents and twenty four hour shopping centres.

As for the feeling of it all just being too much? Perhaps we need to be honest with ourselves and accept that expectation only exists if we allow it to. So draw the line, wherever that may be for you and your family. Perhaps it is more important to be present for Christmas than it is to be rostered on for Christmas.

What plans do you have this Christmas?
Are you hosting Christmas lunch or dinner?
Does it all feel a little too much at this time of year?

  • This year, even though I have lots of time to be organised and only a small family, I’m not stressing out about it. Instead I will enjoy the lead up to the special day and then on the 25th I’ll be present and not just faffing about like a headless chicken!

  • Yep. Wrote about this in a similar way last week. I’m simplifying Christmas. Deleting all expectation. I’m comfortable with the fact the day will come and go whether I hold a festive, full feast or a simple BBQ. I’m opting for the latter. Don’t be too hard on yourself Josefa, just remember Christmas is about family and being together. That’s all that matters. xx

  • LydiaCLee

    We are heading off for a week away before xmas, so I am frantic to get it all done before the 17th (this was not a well thought out plan). We have lunch in Goulburn and dinner in Sydney on xmas day. So it’s full throttle – add on top if it, all the xmas get togethers (and performances & school socials) at night, and three schools with all their assemblies and presentation days during the day…I will be glad for the week’s respite!

  • This post reminded me of my mum. She is ‘rostered on’ for Christmas this year. While she loves having us all over to her house and she loves cooking, she gets all worked up. Everything has to be a certain way and she runs around like a chicken with its head cut off making sure everyone is happy etc. It kind of ends up stressing everyone out. I’m going to do my darnedest to get her to relax this year. Something my mum is not good at. I think your throw together bbq sounds like a wonderful idea. As you say, all the kids want to do is play together and all the adults want to do really is to have some good chat and good food. Have a lovely xmas xx

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    We will be with the in-laws. A combined effort. Wake up, Santa gifts opened. Cooked breakfast (by men), then they head off to beach with the kids. Ladies all pitch in to get the Christmas roast going. Then we all get nice clothes on and sit down for a feast. We all pitch in to clean up. Then afternoon nap. Left overs for dinner.
    My big thing is our Christmas party. Last year we had 90 people attend. It’s on this weekend. Not sure how many we are expecting. It’s BYO burger meat this year and we supply all the fillings and bread rolls. Yep … it’s going to be a busy few days getting ready for that.
    Definitely “rostered on” this weekend.

  • writeofthemiddle

    I think your approach to hosting your Dad’s side of the family for Christmas is a good one Josefa. I think it is good to be conscious of not letting overwhelm ruin the ability to be present in the day and enjoy the moments. You’re right – we’re rostered on whether we like it or not. Some have more to deal with than others but regardless we all have stuff that needs doing and we’re usually tired! I always find Christmas day exhausting. My family and my husband’s family all live in Brisbane so for around 30 years now we’ve juggled seeing both on the one day. This year (as has been the case most years) we have lunch with his family (thankfully not at our place this year so we can leave when we want to!) and then dinner with my family. Last year, for the first time, I didn’t go to the lunch with my husband’s family because my Dad had been ill in hospital leading up to Xmas and I opted to have lunch with my family because he was too ill for an evening event. The routine we have had for so many years needs to be flexible now that my parents are much older. xo

  • TwitchyCorner

    I think you’ve got your priorities and nerves back in place this year, Josefa. Glad to hear it! There’s too much loaded onto this one day and it’s no wonder it can fray folk around the edges.

    As a child I was a bit bummed by missing out on the big deal that is Christmas. As an adult- not a silly season goes by I don’t thank my good fortune it is not on our family calendar, save for school picnics and bbq’s. Hallelujah! xx

  • I am exhausted! Just worn through! I cannot wait until the crazy time is over.
    With 6 kids we tend to do Christmas Day alone as it would be too much for us to take on more guests. Besides, we usually cannot see the lounge room floor for all the wrapping paper – nowhere for any of them to stand!
    Have a great Christmas!

  • To be perfectly honest I’m really not sure what the heck is happening for Christmas! I know we have my Mum’s side on Boxing Day this year, and that it’s at my Aunties. As for Christmas Day, probably morning at Dave’s parents place and the afternoon with my Dad’s side of the family depending on what they are doing. I hate the feeling of being pulled in so many directions at Christmas and since having Punky I’ve just decided to go with the flow, and do what suits the four of us best. If that means some people don’t see us on the day (or two days if you count Boxing Day) then so be it. There are 363 other days of the year that we can see them.

  • This sounds like a good plan, not just for everyone else, but you also, Josefa. Too often we get so caught up in the prep, then don’t enjoy the actual occasion.
    This year I’m making sure I enjoy the whole December thing x

  • Perfect plan. Enjoy the day, and don’t get overwhelmed by expectations!

  • You’ve tapped on a few of the thoughts I’ve had circulating for a Christmas blog Josefa. Must be in the air.
    I love Christmas for the atmosphere, but I think smaller can be good. Tradition has it’s place but not on the expense of everything else.

  • Sounds like you have a great Christmas planned. Don’t give into expectation, yours or others and do what you need to do to look after yourself.

  • We usually host Christmas but this year we are heading to a restaurant for lunch so it means no food prep or cleaning and more time for playing and spending time talking to each other! The most simple of Christmas dos are the best I think. Why do we get into such a tizz over Christmas? You are right in that we need to let go of high expectations and after the year you’ve had Josefa, I think simple will suit you just fine. Xx

  • In the end it doesn’t matter how many plans and schedules and lists and rosters you have, if you can sit back and enjoy the day and savour the special moments with family, it’s all that really matters.

  • Our Christmas should be an easy one hopefully this year. I’m off duty this time!! can’t wait x

  • I don’t think your family, or your dad’s, would expect your all Josefa, nor would they want to take more of you than you have to give. There is a lot of pressure on hosting Christmas, but we put it on ourselves. I know when I got to others’ on Christmas I just want to spend time with them. Hopefully some others will offer to help?? Not sure what we are doing this year – we are the opposite problem – our family is so small, we are done by 7 am usually and have the rest of the day to ourselves! Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it. xo

  • Hugzilla

    Very low key family here, with very low key Christmases and even then I still find it exhausting!

  • Super low key for us. We don’t have any family in Australia and as they all visited last year from England, this year it will just be the 5 of us. I will miss not having everyone around but at the same time I am so looking forward to just enjoying the day without any fuss x

  • TeganMC

    I’m not feeling Christmas at all this year. I’m not sure why though.
    I hope that your Christmas Party goes well.

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