imageI am sitting in the plane on the way to Orlando, Florida to meet my husband for our (now) annual New Year’s getaway. Time to read, listen to music and reminisce about the season so far. I’ve actually survived hosting 3 Christmas parties. And quite successfully, I might add.

In early December, I invited my former neighbours from the “hood”, what has now become known as the “real housewives of Tache Way” getting together, along with their husbands, of course. These are the people I use to chat with as we watched our children play out front. The kids have all reached 21 by now, so we no longer need to have one parent stay at home to watch while the other enjoys a beer or a glass of wine with thimagee others. Over the years, the hosting duties have moved from house to house, some of us have divorced and remarried, and almost all of us have moved to a new street in the general area, yet we still try to get together at least once a year for a bit of cheer.

Mid-December was the time I set aside for a huge party dedicated to exchange teachers, arriving and leaving, as well as those of us who have exchanged in prior years. (I won’t even mention those who are going on a second exchange; I am so jealous of them!). The afternoon and evening was very well attended this year. Almost 50 guests took part in a traditional Canadian Christmas meal complete with turkey, ham, meat pies and moose milk. We met some new exchange teachers, about to leave for Australia, and farewelled some Aussie teachers who had become friends in a short year. We even welcomed some exchange teachers who had gone on to greater things in Europe, working at a NATO school there (administering would be a more appropriate word for their duties).

And finally Christmas Eve came along with a family dinner for 12. It occurred to me that my brother and I have celebrated Christmas together for about 45 of my 57 Christmases. Andre, a traditionalist like me, has tried being in Florida for the holidays, but always finds he is happier in Canada where he can spend this time with whatever member of the family is in town. So it was lovely that he and his spouse, along with his 3 sons, came for my not so traditional Christmas meal. Dinner was a ham, a stuffed baked salmon, mashed rutabaga and carrots, roasted rosemary potatoes, devilled eggs and a spectacular salad of quinoa, asparagus, arugula and strawberries. Desserts were provided by my brother (his lovely spouse’s choice, I think), a decadent chocolate truffle cake and a traditional sugar pie, oh my, oh my!!!

I have to say, for a woman who hates Christmas food and generally would rather avoid Christmas fanfare, I think I did pretty well. I’ve been ill for much of the month, as seems to be my usual state in December, so putting on 3 big events (thankfully with the help of my husband and/or son) has been a major accomplishment. I know my children were especially happy with Christmas this year as it was more like the Christmases they remembered as children. The Christmas morning fun was also special this year..Ariane now lives with Nick, so it was great to see them arrive on Christmas morning (read noon), still in their pajamas, when we sat and opened our stockings and presents while drinking hot chocolate (or coffee). That was followed by the usual eggs Benedict and the “family Christmas movie”. This year’s pick was Guardians of the Galaxy, sufficiently light and funny, to entertain all of us.

Ok, so I know why I need to get away after Christmas. I need to escape all those goodies!!!