This morning I started this post, feeling pretty after-Christmas Grinchy.
I love Christmas, love the build up to it and the 2 days of celebrating we spend with all our beloved family. I don't get people who hate Christmas and I kinda resent having to be told that they do in those lovely anticipatory weeks of December.
By Boxing Day however, I'm totally over it.
Tired, a little hungover, my children and thyroid both wildly over-stimulated, my house a mess, suddenly the excess of it all starts to irk me. The tinsel looks tarnished and the perpetual blinking of the lights on our little tree (despite their being really cool little red chilies) starts becoming very annoying indeed.
But then we spent this afternoon with friends, their kids and their dogs, lots of beer and good food and fun, and I was reminded anew why I love the summer holidays, and how it wouldn't be as ... sparkly ... were it not for celebrating Christmas right in the middle of it.
Were it not for Christmas we wouldn't all be on leave now, we wouldn't necessarily have friends here from up country, would be less likely to have the time to loll (and LOL) on the lawn, the excuse to drink as much beer and eat as much rich food. We wouldn't really be allowing our kids endless treats and concessions on the normal house rules around watching TV, running about outside in their pyjamas after bath, staying up late and not washing their hair for, um, who can remember how long?
As we cleaned up the kitchen after everyone had left, not at all a tedious chore when you've moments to remember and anecdotes to relate (when you're hosting you always seem to be in on different conversations, and it's fun to swap notes later), husband and I unconsciously did a little tally of gratitude for this particular festive season.
We didn't receive nearly as many 'spam' Christmas greetings via SMS this year - from colleagues, acquaintances and businesses. Those friends who didn't send cards used facebook and email to wish us, and we them, and all round we had fewer hollow greetings from people or companies not important to us.
By being more organised in getting gift shopping and meal-planning done early, and by living in a quieter and more remote part of Cape Town we've managed to avoid crazy traffic and shops and malls altogether.
And by being more specific with family who asked for suggestions for gifts for the girls they still got terribly spoilt, but all the new stuff which has come into the house is what they, and we, wanted - things which'll endure and not just spread more clutter.
And, for not having big elaborate New Year's Eve plans, to be honest for not having any plans at all, this time after Christmas has become just that - time. Time to do some DIY jobs around the house, to hang out with friends, to hang out with each other, be spontaneous, be slothful, to just be.
Maybe the best thing about Christmas is that it's made me, once again, count my blessings, be conscious of my bliss and then given me the time to enjoy just that.
This evening I thought, ''What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more.”