3 January 2013

Top of the year

The end of the year was a bit like sliding under the weight of things that I really wanted to do but just couldn't get to. So, at the top of a new year with months stretching out before me, these are end-of-year priorities that need to be spaced out this year.

Most importantly, these should all be traditions. In this way they get an added glow attached to them that makes everyone feel as though they belong, and there is magic. It also gets parents organised.

:: Mince pies - it is unwise to make these from scratch the week before Christmas!
Resolution 1. Make fruit mince and pastry in November. Make some pies then if there's room in the freezer.

:: Christmas cake - everyone loves it and it means doing no further baking for ages. The children adored my sister-in-law's one, so I will get her recipe (and probably post it here).
Resolution 2. Make Christmas cake in October.

:: Get photograph of children with Santa. Arrive while he's still there, not half an hour later...
Resolution 3. Put fixed date in calendar to get Santa photo.

:: It is more difficult to make presents look lovely when trying to do it in a planet-friendly way, but not much. Make the time!
Resolution 4. Make effort with wrapping presents. Wrap them when they are bought instead of on the same day as packing up to leave for Christmas destination. Keep boxes with interesting patterns on them to cut up for gift cards. Stock up on coloured hemp twine from Trade Aid (about $4 a ball).

:: Go to the Cambridge Christmas festival. We did do this, and loved it! It has become a pre-Christmas tradition. We listen to carols being sung in the beautiful old town hall, then the children each choose a decoration for our tree, then we have home-made afternoon tea served with vintage china.

When I told the volunteer lady who was serving tea that I like the china every year, she brought out a stunning cup and saucer for me. "We chose it especially for you, since you like it," she told me. Glow.

This year I loved hearing the children sing along gustily to Hark the Herald Angels sing, without looking at the words. That's what happens when your Mama sings it to you year after year!

Afterwards the children inevitably scramble around the grounds of the hall.

Cambridge clock tower
And I'm a toilet inspector. If I go somewhere interesting - a restaurant, or museum, say - I'm always interested to see how they've done the toilets. The Cambridge Town Hall ones are some of my favouritesl. Newly renovated, but very much in keeping with the old style of the hall. Clever. And in my favourite colours, too.

They just needed a touch of red...

:: Keep on putting out a Christmas Eve snack by the fireplace for Santa. The children love it, and in fact it was the little girls who remembered to do it this  year.

And as for the location of yesterday's photo, here's another clue. Probably only locals will recognise it. It starts with M.


  1. Oooh I wasn't even on the right coast. Thought afterwards it was Coromandel with all the beautiful pohutukawa flowers. Our friends' bathroom picture window at Manu Bay looks over the sea with that shade of blue so thought it could have been there. You sit in the bath and can see the planes taking off from Auckland International airport in the far distance.


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