Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

Santa came! Great! Though there was the usual non-chimney family's worries about access. Luckily we have a convenient upstairs balcony where we put out the chocolate milk (Amy found out from somewhere that Father Christmas prefers chocolate milk. Good on him) and cookies the kids had baked themselves, and painted with egg yolk and food coloring. Great - that meant I could eat ALL the Christmas cake! Gosh, it took me half a lifetime to acquire the taste, so I'm kind of happy it'll take the rest of them another 10-20 years to acquire it, because in the mean time, I have to make up for the last 20 years that I missed out on.

As usual in our house, Daddy was up first, and we tried to wake the children so he could see what Santa brought, but they were having none of it - we keep them up too late on Christmas Eve. I thought seven was old enough to be up at the crack of dawn toeing the presents at the end of the bed and hearing the wrapping paper crackle...

Father Christmas brought them some very dearly wished-for gifts. The favorite gift has to be the ballet tutus. Amy has been waiting two years for one. They got clothes for themselves, and clothes for their favorite doll, Mell. The clothes were from fairy tales and came with a book. Lena got Little Red Riding Hood, to match her ballet performance, and Amy got Cinderella. Finally they also got two books each, one in English and one in Japanese, since Santa knows they are bilingual. Erica got her very first doll, which is HUGE, and a big green stuffed snake, which she loves, also a tiny rattle that's just perfect for her little hand and a new dress.

Then we had our traditional ham and eggs Christmas breakfast. Or rather, I did, and the kids opted out in favor of cereal. Then we went to church! Yep, we actually went to church. Recently a lady from the Phillipines has been wokring at Youme Town, and she asked if we were going. I had been half-heartedly meaning to go past the church to check the times, but kept forgetting. So I asked her the times, then I had no excuse! There are a lot of catholics in the Phillipines, from the Spanish colonization that preceeded the Japanese WWII take-over that was followed by the American occupation that preceeded independence. Phew! There are some natives in there too I expect!

Anyway, I started my turkey cooking before we left, just like Mum, so it would be smelling delicious when we got back. Then I got to work on my roast dinner. I called Keio just before I started peeling potatoes, to see how many of the staff were coming - I had invited several of the foreign staff over for Christmas lunch. I received the shocking news that Manager had scheduled a meeting! It's bad enough that the poor buggers have to front up to work on Christmas Day, but to add insult to injury by calling pop meetings is just heinous! Not to mention it rather thinned out my planned lunch. So I talked to Manager and asked her if I could have a few staff members, please, as I had already cooked the turkey. Upshot was, Manager came over too, plus two American staff members, one with his Japanese wife who is pregnant. And Rachel, who used to work there and used to teach Lena. Lena loved that!

By this time the kids had been allowed to open up some of their other presents, including the one from Mum and Dad. We got them playmobil. My siblings will remember how many hours of fun we got out of ours. Mum will recall how expensive it is! I got an enormous amount of it second hand, it was being sold in sets, and I got several - I paid $100, but got my money's worth, since each $10 set would have been 40-60 brand new. I got a helicopter, a car, a waterfall, two buffalo, three horses, cowboys and Indians, an enormous pile of hospital gear, a Victorian toilet, a wedding party and a playground. The girls played with it for three days solid until I insisted it be cleaned up so I could vacuum! Lena has coined a new verb, she keeps saying, "Amy, let's play-mobil!".

Manager popped out for a few minutes to get something and I took the chance to open the champagne and slip my co-workers a much-needed drink! Then we put the gingerale bottle on the table. We had roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, roast potato, sweet potato and pumpkin, and peas. For dessert there was pavlova (more like a giant marshmallow than an giant meringue, the pav is still a work-in-progress) and a trifle. There was birthday cake and Christmas cake, which only I ate. And mountains of chocolate.

The guests left, and we opened up the last of our presents, made some phone calls, and spent the rest of day quietly, eating leftovers. The kids preferred left-over curry, which meant all the more turkey for me!

No comments: