Christmas was great- mostly unmarred by stress and drama, and full of great food, fun times and my fabulous family. There were a couple of tanties (NOT me!) and some tension concerning the paternal side of the equation, but on the whole, the three days (24-26) were what Christmas should be.
Christmas Eve dawned bright, clear and cloudless. When I say dawned, I pretty much literally do mean dawned. I was up at 5:30 to squeeze in a (fabulous) run before heading down to meet my sisters J and R, and J's boyfriend D (together with me and P, hereon the "Famous Five") at the local fruit and vege market at 7am to collect supplies for the nest 8 meals.
The market was buzzing- much busier than usual. Because of my "freakish" (in the world of normals.. "slobbish" in the world of triathletes) workout schedule, I have fairly frequently been at the market before the stalls are completely set up, but I'd never seen it like this. Having Christmas Eve on a Sunday must have been great for all the sellers!
After the market, we braved the supermarket. It was so fabulous to be done with the last pre-Xmas errands and able to relax by 9! While P went riding with a friend of his, the rest of us spent the day walking around my mountain and playing some silly games in the park. We followed this with Monopoly and the Sound of Music (of course!) and then baked some chocolate chip cookies for Santa (poor guy didn't get many after we'd finished!). Then we headed into town for a midnight carol service, which was (despite an odd sermon) beautiful, traditional and incredibly moving, in that way that only church can be. The candelight in the church was amazing and we sang all my favourite carols, and singing the sacred verse in O Come all Ye faithful was as wonderful as always. The only downside was the fact that I could barely stay standing for the carols, it was so stuffy and hot!
I woke early on Christmas morning and headed out for a much less enjoyable run than I had had the day before- foggy humid air, tired legs, tired Kate (starts before 6 for the last 7 days). We then opened our stockings and eventually gathered the strength to head into Dad's for Xmas lunch. The highlights of the lunch were the food (prepared by dad's foodie friends) and the two adorable puppies (a springer spaniel and a miniature dachsund, aged 10 and 11 weeks) that were there. I had waaay too much summer berry trifle (YUMMY!) Then it was home to prepare for Mum's arrival (she's a Minister so Xmas day is a work day for her, and she had to travel for hours to get from the South Island to us).
Once mum arrived we got more stockings (obviously we're way too old, but we love it, and there are no grandkids yet!) and then (finally!!) started in on the real presents (Dad's soaps and gu's certainly cannot count as "real"...) By this time we felt like we were up to our 4th Christmas! Anyway- I was SOOO spoilt by my wonderful honey. Not only did a get a zoot tri-suit (2-piece.. it fit better), but also a new bike computer (one of 2 I received, so we'll have to sell it), a bento box, some Clif bars (peanut butter and iced gingerbread- how well does this guy know me!) and TWO spinervals DVDs.. Amazing! It is particularly amazing, as most of this stuff you can't get here and spending $US is quite a big deal. I haven't been able to play with all of my new treats yet, although I am already completely in heart with the bento box and clif bars, as well as the visibility vest from Mum and the new computer (finally- cadence and a back wheel sensor). I also finally got to open my Christmas presents from Kate to Kate. The new swimsuit's had its first run, but the skins are waiting for marathon training and the jersey may find itself going back to the store..Hmm.. I am already lusting after some cute Pearl Izumi gear!)
Our "secret santa" scheme worked well, and we had a great time guessing who got what for whom! My presents for P were pretty boring and practical and I felt a little bad. We're going to have a lot of fun with the presents that are really for both of us- like the spinervals, the new singstar game which even features "our" song (in fact, we've all already had lots of fun with the singstar) and the new fancy blender. My best surprise was from Mum and it was a year's supply of school supplies for a child somewhere (eek, I can't remember where).
On Boxing Day we gathered again at our place for brunch- including my breakfast trifle, scrambled eggs, bacon, bagels and lox, fruit salad and yogurt (and some GOOOOD coffee). We couldn't hang around for long, unfortunately, so we packed up the car while the others busted out some singstar (Mum's first time, and it had Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield) and then started our looong long drive (doncha looove holiday traffic on sunny days?) to P's parents'. When we finally got there, we had even more food and even more presents. And I had even more chocolate.
And there, my friends, ends Kate's Christmas.