It's been a blur of last-minute on-line orders, frantic scribbling of cards, and vows to do Flylady's 'Cruising Through The Holidays' scheme next year like I should have done (hang on a moment – didn't I make that same vow before?) but I did, finally, get enough Christmas preparations done in time. And, after that, Christmas itself was wonderful. Barry's family were staying so I had people to fob the kids off on while I curled up for two blissful days of indulging in books and chocolate. And, yes, I did emerge for long enough to help with meal preparation, but Barry did the bulk of that, producing a magnificent Christmas feast and some decent recipes for the leftover turkey this week.
For the Nativity this year, Jamie's school gave a performance of 'The Supersonic Lamb', which, like 'The Hoity-Toity Angel' the previous year, followed the theme of 'Conceited being journeys to stable and, as a result, learns valuable life lesson about importance of not being conceited'. As Jamie's in Year 2, he got to have a speaking part this year instead of just being part of the chorus, and chose to be one of the three kings. We did have a minor crisis at one point when he decided, after everyone had learned their parts and it was far too late to change, that he wanted to be an old sheep instead and if he couldn't do that he wasn't going to be in the play at all – when I heard that I was all, good grief, child, even Edward VIII required rather more inducement than that to make him give up on kingship and, by the way, if you feel that way I happen to have this rather nice mess of pottage here which I'm willing to trade for the very reasonable price of only one birthright and would I be right in thinking that you might be interested… but, in fact, when I saw the production I did see where he was coming from on this, as the old sheep actually had really important parts. (They had a dispenser-of-wisdom role, repeating the play's moral – "It doesn't matter at all whether you're first or last, just as long as you try your very hardest" – at frequent intervals throughout. The kings had a couple of lines and one song.) Anyway, after some persuasion all round Jamie reconciled himself to being a king. And a very fine job of it he made, standing up there in his cloak and crown and joining in the lines and the song with the rest, and I wiped away a happy tear or two as I watched.
Katie's nursery had a short sing-song of children's carols and Christmas songs, which Katie had great fun singing around the house for days beforehand, occasionally with the conventional words but more often with her own misinterpretations and/or cheerfully scatalogical changes of the lyrics mixed in. At one point, collecting the blocks of the marble run I'd been trying to put away, she told me they were food that we had to take to Away In A Manger's house to make the Baby Jesus lie down. We were supposed to put her in a Christmas-themed costume, but when Barry found an angel costume in Sainsbury's for her she insisted she wanted the ballerina one instead – I came up with the idea of putting her in that and saying she was the fairy on top of the Christmas tree, but, when I told Katie that plan, she insisted that she was a ballerina. And, no, not the Sugar Plum Fairy either (my next idea) – a ballerina. (I did not succeed in explaining to her that the Sugar Plum Fairy is danced by a ballerina.) So, a ballerina she was – I figured (correctly) that no-one was going to turn her away from the nursery carol concert because her costume was inadequately Christmasy to be allowed in. Anyway, it was better than Buzz Lightyear, which had been her initial suggestion.
On the day itself, Katie squealed in delight at all the new Duplo she could add to her collection and sneaked Pringles and chocolates throughout the day, and Jamie accepted his new gifts with equanimity and spent the day playing his various electronic games both new and old. And I enjoyed my time off, dived into my stack of new books, and am feeling quite refreshed and at least somewhat ready to face whatever the new year may bring.