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Snow was falling, snow on snow...

Ooh, so it did snow in the end, even in Birmingham! I thought for a while there that the whole of the rest of the country was going to get it, but not us.

I have just been watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, taped from earlier in the evening, sitting as I did so in the middle of the lounge floor wrapped up in a huge double quilt, with glowing embers in the hearth and various chocs and other goodies spread out around me. I often seem to end up watching films late at night in this fashion over Christmas, and there is, in my opinion, no better way to do so.

Presents were multiple and all delightful. I'm glad to read that stompyboots got a stocking, because that means it's OK to admit that my sister and I still get them too. Much of the stuff contained therein tends to be useful / practical these days: e.g. washing-up gloves, a micro-umbrella or spare electric toothbrush heads. But Santa also brought me various types of chocolate, two sets of postcards of Roman things in the British Museum, an 'Earth from the Air' calendar and some body-spray.

Tree presents (i.e. presents from family members, placed under the tree on Christmas Eve) included some very posh make-up from my sister: a deep purple Sephora lipstick, and a mauve, shimmery Chanel eyeshadow. I don't think I've ever owned anything Chanelesque before, so that was very exciting, and both were worn for Xmas dinner in the evening. From my auntie Pat I got some dangly earrings, and from my uncle Duncan a £10 book token. And Mum and Dad got me a guinea-pig calendar (I was a very enthusiastic guinea-pig owner as a child, and would love to live somewhere where I could have them again now), and DVDs of A Tale of Two Cities (1958) and Moulin Rouge (1952), both featuring... what, you guessed? Also a special mug to make proper filter coffee in at work, a Boots gift card (the modern equivalent of a gift-token, it seems), a CD of my equal-favourite (with David Cordier) countertenor, Robin Blaze singing music by William Byrd, including one track called 'Constant Penelope' (in fact, it turns out to be a translation of a poem by Ovid), and four books: 'Brighton Rock' and 'The End of the Affair' by Graham Greene, 'The White Goddess' by Robert Graves' and 'Howl's Moving Castle' by Diana Wynne Jones.

And finally... could this be the best of all? I now own this pony (Star Catcher).

As for the day itself, the morning was spent first opening our stockings, and then baking and eating croissants from ready-made dough which you can buy in funny carboard tubes. They tasted very nice, actually: easily as good as buying them fresh from a boulangerie, and possibly even better.

Then I boiled down stock from the giblets which came with the duck we'd be having in the evening, while simultaneously doing general pottering, showering and fire-lighting. Lunch was a selection of cold bits and pieces: much of it still left over from our party on the 23rd! Then, after lunch, we were finally allowed to open our tree presents: something of which much ceremony is made in our family, with each person getting given a pile of their own presents, and then sitting in a circle and opening them turn by turn. People who want to really spin it out and make the others fume may open only a card on their turn... or, if they're my Dad, they leap straight in to the biggest present on their first go.

Finally, we cooked our duck, and had our proper Christmas meal in the evening. Everyone agreed it came out really well, with an excellent bitter orange sauce (which is what the stock was needed for), as directed by Delia. We finished with Christmas pudding, properly set alight with brandy and all (this bit is always my job - yay!), and then sat round with brandy and port as the last tinkles rang out on our angel chimes.

Now it is nearly 2 in the morning, so I rather think I ought to put my head down. Even though it's not Christmas here any more, I never quite like to go to bed on Christmas evening... After all, when I wake up, it will only be boring old Boxing Day, and another 364 days to go until the magic comes round again.

Oh: or a mere 356 until the next Saturnalia, of course!

Nighty-night, peeps.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
stompyboots
Dec. 26th, 2004 09:08 am (UTC)
Snap! It's good to see we're not the only family to do Christmas properly, with lots of food and traditions.

I think yours is the only other family I've ever encountered where presents are opened one-by-one, rather than in a dog-eat-dog snarl of unwrapping.
strange_complex
Dec. 26th, 2004 09:43 am (UTC)
We used to do dog-eat-dog as well, but then we realised it was all over rather too quickly that way. Now, we use the method which prolongs the pleasure for the greatest possible time.
stompyboots
Dec. 27th, 2004 02:52 pm (UTC)
Much the same as us! We open stocking presents one by one, all taking turns, sitting on my parents' bed, by which point it's usually 11. Then we start cooking, snack on pate and smoked salmon, and go off for a long walk. Tree presents are finally opened around 5/6, and then we have supper at 8. Telly is always banned on principle, but it's a moot point in France, as we don't even have a set.
strange_complex
Dec. 27th, 2004 02:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, that is a pretty close match, except that we don't do the long walk, instead opening our tree presents over coffee after lunch (so about 2 or 3ish). There's no specific rule about the television, and it quite often does get switched on in the late afternoon, by which point people are alternating between sitting around playing with their new presents in the lounge, and helping out with dinner (usually timed for about 7ish). This year, though, I don't think it did happen to get switched on at all, except so that I could tape Harry Potter, which was on while we had our dinner.

Oh, and good on you and your sister for managing an argument-free Christmas, by the way.
stompyboots
Dec. 27th, 2004 03:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks! We've had a few close calls since, but she's off tomorrow afternoon, so with any luck we'll have made it through the whole holiday without upsetting my mum.

When are you back to Belfast? If you can be arsed with all the trains, Cat, Ed, and Sam are coming down to my flat for a cocktail party, and it would be lovely to see you. Lots of effort, though, so I understand if you're only there in spirit.
strange_complex
Dec. 28th, 2004 02:03 am (UTC)
Actually, I'm going back exactly this afternoon, I'm afraid. I would have loved to come otherwise. As you know, I did kind of hope I'd be able to go down to Oxford at some time during my stay here, but I only have 10 days in all, and I realised there was so much stuff going on elsewhere, I wouldn't have a chance to do that and get in the rest I desperately needed. I hope you have a lovely time, though, and I shall be there in spirit!
(Deleted comment)
strange_complex
Mar. 17th, 2005 10:03 am (UTC)
Lordy! Well, that will teach me to look only in the My Little Pony category, won't it?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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