It's true that December brings out my inner Grinch, but after a good whinge on a discussion at SecularHomeschool - and, more shamefully, making my 6 year old cry when I declared that I did not like Christmas - I decided to get my festive act together.
It was Nigella who made it possible. It suddenly occurred to me that Christmas was possibly the only time of year I could justify cooking her rather bizarre Ham cooked in Cherry Coke. And just the idea of cooking a new Nigella recipe, especially an odd one, made me so happy that I immediately sat down to think of all the other festive hoo-hah.
The problem I have with Christmas is that, for a secular family living in the southern hemisphere, the celebration and traditions make no sense from either a spiritual or a seasonal perspective. It must have been the Coke, because my brain suddenly went into overdrive as I realised that all I needed to do was change the name. Christmas - bah, humbug - became our Summer Festival. (And no, celebrating the summer solstice isn't the same thing at all. For one thing, it's always a few days before Christmas, which means you end up celebrating solstice and Christmas, meaning double the work.)
And once I had a Summer Festival in mind, all became easy. Instead of making snowmen and Santas, this year we'll make suncatchers. We won't be joining the queues to visit Santa's cave but we will make time to visit the beach. Perhaps we'll make our own summer calendar with surprises behind the windows - things like make home-made icecream and jelly or spend the day at the pool or movie of your choice or build a stick house in the yard.
Lucy is planning a summer nature table to make with Snowy. I'm planning on making fruit print wrapping paper with him as well. And instead of battling to make a gingerbread house in humid, 30 degree heat, we'll try making marzipan fruit instead.
True, I haven't solved either the Christmas tree or the Santa thing yet. And I haven't even thought about presents. Family size 30 plus sunscreen anyone ? It's a joke, kids.
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