Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Top ten festive festivities

The last couple of days/weeks/months/parsecs* (delete as appropriate, I really have no idea) have been eventful, and beautifully exhaustive.

Planning, and playing out, two birthday parties for my son, procuring gifts for everyone for Christ’s birthday, plus arranging Christmas Day cooking and other festive meet-ups with folks against their schedules, has been wonderfully tiring.

We have had a great festive period, and my sometimes all-too-grown-up son asked me what my favourite part had been as we departed one grandparents' on Boxing Day evening.

I answered without hesitation, and that particular highlight has yet to have been surpassed during the holidays, nor is it likely to be.

But the more we talked about it, and the more I have pondered, I could easily come up with a top twenty moments, but I shall not, instead, I will list my Top Ten, all leading the way to my very favourite moment of our Christmas week 2009.

10. Making Pom Poms with Max’s cousin.

Helping Max’s middle cousin with her Pop Pom and Tassle making kit on Boxing Day was a surprise highlight. To the point that I had to control how much I took over, it appears I may be addicted to girly craft.

9. Colossal Hotel board game victory.

As a family we have a board game playing history. And Hotel was a favourite for a while, as a shorter alternative to Monopoly. My parents discovered they had an unopened version of the game, which was the prompt for us to set it up again, and see if we still enjoyed playing. Defeating my immediate family, particularly my competitive father and sister, with a margin of victory that could really only be fairly described as magnificent, was very enjoyable. As it was pretending to actually be the reception staff of each of the marvellous hotels I had developed during the game, every time one of my fellow players landed on them.

8. Lego building with my sister.

My sister’s company is nearly always wonderful, and this year she actually managed to stay awake, rather than nap, quite a lot. She wants to make a Lego cutlery box for her kitchen, so I bought her a box of Lego. And I had a great time with her making various animals and people under the direction of our three-foot-foreman, before she sets about making her kitsch kitchen accessory.

7. Repeatedly calling my mother a moron.

Being of a Home Economics teacher past, and being able to bake tasty cakes in her sleep, my mother was tasked with making Max’s cakes (yes that’s plural) for his parties (again plural). My son really likes her iced sponge cakes, however did not enjoy trying to blow out candles that re-lighted themselves. I did however enjoy calling my mother a moron, for her candle buying faux pas.

6. Football in the garden.

This actually happened twice, and on each occasion my son actually asked to play football, which I really enjoyed, as sport is something I hope to share with him into the future. And coupled together with actually needing to use up some of his boundless energy, was the perfect cocktail.

5. Christmas dinner.

For the second year running, I managed to organise a marvellous, and traditional, Christmas lunch. This time with much less stress and effort – it seemed. At no time did I have to refuse a request from my son to play, in order to go and tend to a bird, or supplementary plate filler. I am already thinking of next year, and possibly straying from the traditional turkey that I have somewhat sleepwalked into making.

4. Santa visiting us at home.

Like many Rotary Clubs around the country, and presumably the globe, our local organisation puts Santa on a sleigh and brings him around the village, collecting for charity and also gifting sweets to all the children that come out to see him. Brilliantly this year’s sled was timed for during my son’s second birthday party at home. They got a shock when they were greeted by a gaggle of children at ours, and of course, my boy got a little extra as it was his birthday. A lovely moment, and also a very funny one, when the eldest boy at the party suggested it could not be real Santa as he was being towed by a Ford Focus rather than Reindeer.

3. My dad opening one of his ‘suggested’ presents.

In my nomadic style existence, in the weeks and months after my wife’s death, I left a trail of stuff at each of the places I have stayed at. My folks have suffered the most as I was living with them when I sold our marital home, and thus, all of my stuff was transferred to various storage places around their lovely house. It is a bain of contention, that I have not fully addressed this, only collecting stuff on a ‘when-required’ basis. My dad was delighted to discover an unopened Build-Your-Own-Solar-Powered-Car, suggesting; “Well you can wrap that and give it someone for Christmas.” And guess what he got amongst his present pile? Correct, the aforementioned car.

2. My son’s Christmas morning behaviour.

My son’s behaviour has generally been very good over this period, and when he has got inevitably over-excited, this has been isolated to environments, and situations, that you would expect it anyway. I was not sure how Christmas morning would play out, and indeed suggested to my sister, that if we got to anywhere near 7am before coming downstairs we would have ‘done well’. Max went to sleep no trouble the evening before, sleeping until about 5-30am before joining me for a cuddle, dropping off again for an hour, before then heading off to check his grandparents had actually stayed the night too. And it was then not until 7.30am that he asked to go downstairs, by which time we were all very happy to do, and not blurry eyed at all. He opened the door to the lounge, confirming that Santa had been, and while clearly very happy, he was very calm, and I love that about him.

1. Ending Christmas Day on a bean bag with my boy.

Christmas Day was brilliant, we got some wonderful things. I got a giant beanbag, and also a reminder that Starfleet is the best children’s TV programme ever made. My sister got me the DVD box set, which I have wanted for a while. I loved watching this as a child, and can remember having a spaceship that used to make the same ascending and descending noises that are featured in the show. After a very busy, and successful, day, it was absolutely lovely to cuddle up with my boy, and our lightsabers, eating various treats we had been given, and watching episodes of Starfleet. My son was loving it, as was I loving him, loving it. To be asked to watch another episode of my favourite childhood programme by my son was wonderful. As is his singing of the Starfleet theme tune, and his repetition of “and I’m Barry Hercules, Doc”. Brilliant.

We have had such a great time over the holidays, and even as I type this post, I have been enjoying impromptu music sessions with Junior and his new guitar and drum, we are soon off out to visit some friends, not to mention all the other stuff still planned before school starts again.

Perhaps I could even do a top fifty?