It's become a tradition over the past five years to have a little gingerbread decorating party for the girls and their friends.
The first year I made eleven complete houses for four year olds to decorate. It took me days of work, making the gingerbreads, assembling the walls, waiting a night for them to harden before attaching the roofs. I went through kilos of icing sugar. I can hardly believe it now. This year it was just your basic gingerbread men and women.
I didn't even make a house myself for the first time in many years, and I am totally fine with that. I have kept to my commitment to do only that which will bring me more joy than stress. A few things have gone by the wayside: I have written nary a Christmas card; we bought our gifts for all the teachers; I haven't baked for the neighbours and I'm not going to get round to sewing up fabric bags for gift wrapping as I keep intending to.
I'm have finally figured out that I have a tendency to plan too many things and then feel a bit resentful of everything on my plate. I'm getting better about scaling back and accepting help.
We did made the crackers yesterday. It was a last minute thing and I was prepared to let that go too, though I've been making the Christmas crackers for about 20 years now. But it was easy and the kids all helped. I already had the snaps, the cardboard was cut up packing from the many parcels that have been arriving lately and the wrapping was odds and ends from presents already received (thanks Sasha, for the yellow paper and the beautiful mug it contained). The stickers were a free download from here. They are filled with a mint chocolate, a $1 scratchie and a fortune cookie. I do have two more Christmas dresses to sew. Ruby and Nina's are done, I'll do Grace's tonight and hopefully have time to get to Lily's on Monday. It is one tradition I would like to keep, especially as there will be nothing else handmade this Christmas. Lily's quilt has not eventuated this year and I am still struggling to get an idea of what it will be, despite having bought some fabric for it months ago. Perhaps 2013 will bring inspiration.
The jacaranda is on it's last legs now and the heat today will no doubt finish it off, but the flowers lasted nearly four weeks and I think it was the most spectacular year it's had, at least since we've lived here. The ground is now a carpet of fallen flowers. All feels calm around here. After the high of the party this morning we have battened down the hatches and are trying to keep cool. Shades are drawn and the girls are sprawling on chairs and the floor with the ceiling fan on. It's Christmastime.