You know that banality of new parenthood? The one when you walk out of the hospital cradling the new baby. You’re all uncertainty and excitement. Then, you get in the car and find yourself wondering when the real grown-ups are going to arrive and take over this whole being an adult thing.
I kind of feel like that about cultural high holidays.
Like, someone just handed me a bundle of Christmas and expects me to know what to do. Here! Here’s a holiday! Make it magic! Your child’s future memories depend on it! And, oh, PS, there’s no snow! Have fun!!!!
I always feel totally out of my depth. Here I am, in tropical Indonesia, with a three year old who is starting to ‘get’ Christmas, and there are no real grown ups in sight.
But this year, somehow we pulled it off.
Stella and I shared a quiet candle-lit dinner on Christmas eve, catered personally by Mr. Chef who was stuck at work.
Then we headed out to watch a children’s choir sing Christmas carols, just like we did last year. TAnd of course they sang about five numbers from the Sound of Music, because Stella lives for the TSoM, and it’s Christmas and magic, and nothing could have been more perfect.
When we woke up on Christmas morning, and delighted at the stockings waiting for us at the breakfast table. Although Stella was quite insistent that stockings are for FEET and NOT for presents. We whipped up a batch of cinnamon rolls, along with a few other treats courtesy of Mr. Chef’s kitchen, and slowly opened presents.
Stella was not really that into presents this year, more interested in pancakes, orange juice, and the fact that we were headed out to her friend’s house later. Eventually we enticed her with the promise of a really, really big present. When she discovered a scooter inside, all was lost. She had no more need for any other wrapped parcels. A SCOOTER!! She declared, “Father Christmas is very clever!” English accent and all, because (??????!!!!???)
Unfortunately Mr. Chef was not able to really enjoy all the Christmas the fun. He was taken down by a terrible bout of something nasty and tropical, and was too sick to even eat a piece of toast. Which is really a shame, because he went all out in the Christmas department this year, and deserved more than ever to take part in the festivities.
Stella and I left him at home to recover while we partook in all the Christmas merriment. Believe me, I felt kind of conflicted about abandoning our valiant Chef.
We joined some friends for a massive Christmas lunch complete with eggnog, Christmas crackers and flambéed Christmas pudding. There were a million children, old fiends and new, all gathered together running wild like cousins they'd known since birth. And adults sitting around tables in the back garden sipping on festive drinks. I felt just like all the aunites and uncles gathered together in a farm house kitchen somewhere in Eastern Ontario. Except with a pool. And palm trees.
And so, I declared all of us all very clever because somehow, against the odds, we created for ourselves the most christmassy of Christmases right here in topical Indonesia. Really. This year was one of the best.
Annnd, here's Christmas last year, our first one in the tropics.