The best ever Christmas, that is. It may be a bold statement, as we have had some wonderful Christmases in the past, but it is true … Christmas 2012 was the BEST EVER. One of the main reasons for that? THE CANADIANS!
Delwyn is my youngest cousin on Dad’s side of the family. She is about 10 years older than me (Dad was the only child from Grandad’s second marriage, and was born when Grandad was 60. Most of my cousins are 20 years older than me). Delwyn was born in NZ but went to live in Canada with her parents and siblings when she was a teenager. She married a Canadian guy called Rob, and they had 2 boys, Devon & Luke. Delwyn hadn’t been back to NZ for more than 20 years, and her hubby and sons had never been here. I have been Facebook friends with her for years, but obviously don’t remember meeting her when I was kid.
They arrived on Christmas Eve to stay at my parents’ place and spend Christmas with our family (and then go on to visit other family/friends and do some sightseeing around NZ).
We started off the Christmas festivities with our tradition of fish & chips at the beach on the living room floor (due to the rain). We attended the Christmas Eve service at our church, and then my sister came over to watch “Home Alone” with me … another tradition that Leah & I have been doing for YEARS, ever since we were kids.
Christmas morning came quickly, and we had our alarms set for 7am. It would have been nice to stay in bed a little longer, but we had places to be! Rob read the Christmas story from Luke, which is something the boys look forward to doing every year. They opened their presents from US (neither of them have believed in Santa for the past couple of years) and we opened our presents from each other and them.
We bundled up the dog, the rest of the presents, 6 containers of baking, packed the ham, sausages, beer, wine and bubbles into the chilly bin, and headed to Rob’s brother’s place for breakfast. We have never really done a special breakfast on Christmas Day before, but it was lovely! Sarah made French toast, which was served with ham, fruit and maple syrup, with fruit salad on the side. Delish. We exchanged gifts, and the boys had fun playing (and wrestling!) with their cousins.
Around 11am, we headed to my parents’ place, where the Canadians were staying. My sister was there too, and the guy from next door who was alone for the day. We played the present game, which was so much fun. I think everyone was pretty happy with what they ended up with, especially Tyler who chose his OWN gift and nobody was brave enough to steal it off him!
More gifts were exchanged. And just look what my wonderful cousin brought for me:
Nestle Turtles, Almond M&Ms and a Magic Eraser. I am a happy girl.
In exchange, I gave her a huge jar of Jaffas, which are her absolute favourite.
The rain stopped and the sun came out just in time for lunch, which consisted of ham, sausages, chicken, salads and minted potatoes. Dessert was pavlova, chocolate brownie, strawberries and ice cream.
Around 4pm, we decided to head down to the beach (a 2 min walk) for a swim. To burn off some calories from lunch, we walked all the way to the far end of the beach, and swam there. The waves were choppy and messy, but the boys loved it! I swam too, but didn’t stay in for long. Devon, Luke, Ethan, Tyler and the Robs stayed in for ages, catching waves and having a blast. Of course, for the Canadians, it was a pretty novel experience to be swimming at the beach on Christmas Day! Devon & Luke grew up in Calgary, where the temperature can get as low as -13C in December, with a decent amount of snow.
My boys made quick bonds with Devon & Luke, and they were very sad to say goodbye. Ethan & Devon hit it off especially well, spending lots of time together. It’s safe to say that Ethan has a new hero!
Devon also formed a close bond with my Mum … so much so that he wanted cuddles!
The rest of the day was spent talking, laughing and playing games. A few people ventured out to the kitchen to make ham & salad sandwiches for dinner. Around 9.30pm, we finally decided to take our boys home. After they were in bed, Rob & I stayed up late watching a movie.
It was such a fabulous day, spent with the most wonderful people. Although the weather wasn’t perfect, nobody minded at all. So many awesome memories that I will take with me forever. Plans are afoot for our whole family to spend Christmas with the Canadians in their home town of Kelowna, BC. Delwyn’s brother Phil lives in nearby Summerland (as does my good friend Angella) and I cannot even imagine how awesome it would be to spend Christmas there. Rob is definitely thinking about all the fantastic snowboarding he will be able to do! It may not be next year, but I hope it will be soon!