One of the benefits of an Expat Christmas is the low expectations on behalf of everyone. Friends, dinner guests, spouses, children. No worries that half the packages have not arrived, that we cannot find horseradish/candy cane ice cream/treacle to save our lives. It is the tradeoff for eschewing the long flights, travel delays, and illness that invariably accompany a Christmas trip to the Motherland. All is forgiven, be it a broken wineglass, burnt hot fudge sauce, or the late delivery of a tandem bike, for example. I am serious when I say that an Expat Christmas is as stress-free a holiday as possible. Which is not to say that we do not miss our families terribly and do not want them to interpret this post as meaning they are contributing factors in the sans stress holidays.
Princess Ai Lin and Wee Lass, along with their families, were excellent merrymakers and fine Christmas company for our dinner party on the 25th. Have I mentioned the ayi that comes to make this all possible and who contributes greatly to the no stress??? In an irreligious country such as this, it’s no problem for her, working on Christmas Day, a huge boon to the Entertaining Expat Christmas Princess. And then there is December 26th which may well be my favorite day of the year. Everyone is happy, entertained with new gifts, and no one expects a thing from me. Leftovers are in the kitchen – fix yourself a sandwich. You need something? Go ask your father.
Highlights from a joyfully slothful Boxing Day 2008 (notice it includes no shopping):
1) talking with family members and friends still celebrating Christmas in other time zones. Maria the Dentist stayed up until 1 a.m. to call me!!! Que maravilha!!!
2) walnut brownie for breakfast, in bed; child purveyed coffee to this location as well
3) reading W (no, not for George) fashion magazine, and ripping out all the jewelry ads for future reference (yes, I know we are in a recession/depression – it’s just fun to see what all the folks taken in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme will be selling on Ebay). It had a great article on Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau. In my last great family Christmas photo, 5 (?) years ago, I was wearing one of her dresses. As she points out, it is always summer somewhere and never was I more appropriately dressed for Christmas in Brazil.
4) Reading guidebooks for New Year’s outing to Hangzhou.
5) Turkey sandwich on toasted bread, sugar cookies with frosting, cough drops for lunch
6) Occupied children
7) Watching the movie The Duchess in bed, late afternoon; loved it but v. sad. Keira Knightley was fab, fab, fab.
8) Starting Thing 3’s needlepoint Christmas stocking – hope to finish by end of 2009 (repeated New Year’s Resolution from last year, but at least I have started it).
9) Working on 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle with Mr. U and all three Things. Mr. U swore off puzzles early in 2001 when a Mexican maid finished a puzzle he had been assiduously working on during the Bush/Gore election recount after a toddling Thing 3 had twice before ruined his endeavor. I am happy to report he is back in the game. We need him on the border.
For all you post-holiday shoppers out there who are contemplating buying me Christmas cocktail napkins: don’t! Even I cannot use up all the ones I have!!! But cookie sprinkles, those I could use. Oh, and some holiday cupcake papers, and some ….. Merry, Merry, Merry moi!