December is a festive time of year but as the clock ticks down to Christmas and the holiday season you can find yourself frantically trying to schedule school, work and social events. It begins to feel that everyone needs a bit of your time or money so it is important to take the opportunity to spoil yourself if you can at least once during the month.
My special December day is the Christmas lunch with the book club girls. We always schedule this early in the month to ensure that other commitments do not clash, after all it is our annual indulgence of the good things in life and our friendship is the best.
When selecting a venue, priority is always given to the food however more importantly we choose somewhere that will allow us the space and time to enjoy ourselves; we are spirited women who talk and laugh loudly.
You have to pity the wait staff as it can be quite a process getting the orders whilst we are engaged with the catchup conversations finding out what has happened since our previous get together the month prior and it is nothing for us to change our minds mid order. We expect the food to be exceptional but it is secondary to the company.
Every year we bring a gift to exchange, for which the criteria is set at least a month before hand. This year we had to make a Christmas decoration. Sounds simple enough however we had a similar theme some years back which involved creating Christmas decorations for everyone and that year the joy of Christmas was definitely not appreciated as the burden of creating ten of the same decorations took its toll, lucky there was bubbles on hand whilst everyone regaled how difficult it was.
Anyway I digress, this year when the suggestion was made to create just one Christmas decoration, everyone agreed, enough years had passed and only one, how hard could it be.
We gathered together on Sunday for brunch, full of anticipation and joy with our individual gifts all wrapped and on the table, set aside until after our meal.
A few hours later having shared the latest news, photos, holidays, adventures and a glass of bubbles (not as many bubbles this year as it was an early start this year and at least one of our crew was hung over from the December merriment) and having eaten our way through two courses it was time for the pressies.
We have the same rules for present opening each year but every year we forget the rules and they have to be explained again.
Our rules are as follows:
- Names in a bag, that is once we find a pen and paper (conveniently one of our crew neglected to make her gift having early confessed so she used the receipt of the purchase to record the names) and steal a bag from one of the gifts.
- Draw out a name and that person gets to choose a parcel to open.
- Everyone ‘admires’ the gift.
- The gift opener then draws out the name of the next person to choose a gift.
- The next person has the choice of a) opening a gift or b) stealing an already opened gift from someone else. Important note: the decision to steal must is made prior to opening a gift.
- If a gift that you have opened is stolen by someone else then you get to open another gift or steal another.
- The last person who is drawn out of bag has the best choice as they can see what all the gifts are. The game is all about fun and by the end of it everyone is happy and lots of laughs happen along the way.
The waiter who is delivering the coffees commented on how much he has enjoyed the sounds of our laughter!
So what were the amazing decorations this year?
- A large hanging ball, the project was made with a granddaughter having collected pine cones from the gully followed by gluing and painting beads
- A Christmas wreath embellished with tinsel, a star and a bell
- A snow globe complete with Santa snow scene and beads on top, made from a wine glass
- A sheep tree ornament (Kiwiana)
- A Christmas tree made out of driftwood and decorated with mini paua shells (specifically grown for chefs not undersized) and topped with a starfish (Kiwiana)
- Two white reindeer made out of white flannels and red pipe cleaners stuffed with miniature gin and JD bottles.
- A tin heart (purchased – not pictured)
- A hanging angel (purchased -not pictured)
Thanks to my amazing friends, although another year of book club is over I can’t wait until our January get together, this time we are off to the beach.