Xmas 2008 Reflection

“I have been quietly going over my old posts and I thought I could review and update this old post about my Christmas experience in 2008.” – Ben

I’ve always been a fan of Christmas. The songs, the presents, the massive feasts. Every year that goes by however I feel that I’m getting less and less into it. When I was a kid I couldn’t sleep the night before Xmas. Now I glance at my watch when I’m up late and night and remember that Hey the 25this xmas….wow. Our family tradition of Christmas when I was young was that no one could open presents unless everyone was up and there for it. Getting up at 5am meant that I had a long time before everyone arose at about 8am. I was lucky in that my mum at least conceded that we could open our stocking presents to tide us over until the main present unwrapping begun. Mostly it was little cool things that could fit into a stocking. One of the more common recurring presents were those gold coins made out of chocolate. I’m not sure, but there is something about those coins that totally kicks ass.

But I digress, I’ve found that now I have grown up, and my family has split that xmas has changed. Change is inevitable, I’m smart enough to know that, but I miss the excitement that xmas once held for me. Now xmas has become a strange festive event. I love giving gifts more than receiving them. I don’t know why exactly, but I love thinking up cool gifts to give someone. I love getting something personal or practical that I know that person wants or shows I know them really well. I like giving a gift that shows reflection, and a true insight into the person. I actually get distraught when I can’t think of anything good to give someone.

I like to think that there is some form of karma involved in the world. If you are good to people, good things will come your way. Perhaps that’s why I like to give thoughtful gifts, in hope that people will appreciate it, and then return the favour. I did pretty well this year. I chipped in with my Sister to buy my Dad tickets to the Top Gear Live in Australia show, which he will love to death since both he and my sister love Top Gear with a passion. I really like the show, but don’t watch it regularly (note, I have all seasons of it ready to watch). I managed to get my Mum and awesome present.

My Mum’s Present
Typically buying gifts for my mum is the hardest thing I have to do each year. I seriously have problems with picking something that I know she’ll love, even though I suspect that anything I get her will be fine. I bounced a few ideas off my female friends and was fortunate enough to score gold with one of them. I eventually settled on getting my Mum tickets to see Eric Clapton perform live in March. Yeah, totally awesome kickass present. She loves going to concerts and I’ve been meaning to buy her one ridiculously expensive present since starting to work full time. I got my dad a sony a100 DSLR the first year of my employment, and I have neglected to get her anything along those lines. So I bought two tickets, thinking that she could pick to either take her boyfriend or me. I pitched the idea to her, and she said that she would actually rather go with me, so I said we could have dinner beforehand and have a good night together.

Other presents
I got my sister the USB thingo for wireless internet with BigPond’s Next G network. Now typically I HATE big ISPs, there is no way you could pay me to sign up for their rip off internet/mobile phone plans. But the problem is that my sister is living in an area which is kinda remote and is only serviced by the Next G network, so we were kinda forced to do it. That and I’m not setting up a dedicated internet for her to use, especially since I haven’t even got the net at my place yet. My dad will pay the monthly internet cost, but I paid for the big onetime payment for the pack.

I also got some presents for my friends this year, which is something I haven’t really done before but I knew I should do it since they’ve been really great to me over the last couple of months. We all went to the Hunter valley for a day trip (where I confirmed my new found appreciation of wine).

My busy Xmas – Part 1: Christmas Eve Slovakian Dinner

My Dad & Sister wishing me a Merry Xmas from Fiji

My xmas adventure actually begins on Christmas Eve (the 24th, and my Sister’s birthday). Since my Sister and Father were in Fiji for xmas, her birthday wasn’t really important this year. I was working until 7:30pm and then went to my mum’s for a Christmas-y dinner. Her boyfriend is from Slovakia and was making a Slovakian dinner for us. We began by having crackers with honey on them. The way he mentioned the crackers being the body of Christ or something made me think of that Catholic ritual in church (insert correct religious term here lol, sacrament?). Then I did something utterly stupid in the name of being a good guest, I ate a clove of raw garlic. Why would someone eat a clove of raw garlic? It was supposedly some way of ensuring good luck for the rest of the year or something. Now I’m not sure about it giving me good luck or whatever it was suppose to be, but it did taste like burning. Raw garlic is painful. This is the first and last time I will ever do that.

Personal Motto: “Try everything once.”

Anyway, the Slovakian Soup that we had was awesome. It could only be best described as a rich flavourful meat minestrone soup, where there were no vegetables besides potatoe, only meats. With a nice dollop of sour cream, the soup was great. Filling. Then moved onto massive Chicken Snitzels, which I couldn’t finish, and then pie. It is sad that the Australia culture hasn’t adopted the awesomeness of the pie. I am very glad that ribs have come into their element, being served at more and more steakhouses with greater and greater quality. But pie is also a great dessert. Perhaps the Australian mindset is too ingrained with the English associations of savoury pies, meat pie, sheperd’s pie etc. Hopefully pies will take off here soon, probably in 5-10 years.

My busy Xmas – Part 2: Christmas Day
My xmas day was busy. I woke up, got dressed into nice clothes and rushed over to have xmas breakfast with my mum. Traditionally we always have Betty Crocker muffins for breakfast on xmas morning. I love blueberry muffins, infact I think I’ve had them on xmas morning every year, except for this year. This year mum only got the apple or cinnamon crumble muffins. So she made the apple at my request, but put the crumble topping of the other one on top to invent a new apple crumble muffin, was pretty good. But considering I was going to spend my day eating I paced myself.

I opened my presents at mums, a few small things, and then went back to goto fancy xmas lunch with my Grandfather, Aunt and Uncle. We went to our traditional country club lunch and had the best buffet lunch ever. I love food at the golf club, but this buffet was awesome. I started off with: Prawns, avocado, asparagus, and a fresh dinner roll with butter. Then went and had the juiciest roast turkey ever, roast ham, veggies gravy, cranberry sauce and a small mountain of green beans. The green beans were served to me by one of the staff members, and she decided I needed half a plate of them, hence why I didn’t finish them. I then glanced at my watch, saw I needed to leave and quickly went and got some profiteroles from the dessert table. I love profiteroles, and these ones are the best ones I’ve had anywhere. These ones were so good, I actually ordered their chef to make me a massive crochenbush for my 21st Birthday cake. Yeah!

Then I drove straight to work and worked from 3:30pm to midnight. I brought in my massive half a leg of ham and joined in on the work feast. Everyone was suppose to bring in one thing each, and my mum organised to give me the ham. Work was great because everyone was in a happy and festive mood, and there wasn’t really much work to do because it was technically xmas eve in the states, so bonus! I did eventually get hungry and bored at 11pm that night, so I went and cut up a plate of ham and ate that. The breath freshening power of ham!

And that is my xmas story for 2008.