Christmas could have been so good. If it wasn’t for the family and all their interference.
Liz and Phil thought a bad taste Kris Kringle would be a great idea. Phil’s family do that every year and they say it’s fun. Instead of everybody buying a gift for everybody else. Kat was so disappointed. She’d already bought the bamboo cheeseboards for the men, and a box set of perfume for Kylie. And anyway, Christmas is about giving. So few presents under the tree would spoil everything.
Kylie insisted on changing the dinner plans to make it a pot luck, where everyone would bring whatever dish they liked. And what’s more, she even suggested that they eat outdoors. Was nothing sacred?
Bill opened the mail and discovered the Visa statement. He hit the roof. He couldn’t understand why there were so many trips to Kmart. Well, doesn’t he know there’s so much that goes into the perfect Christmas?
Kat woke with red eyes and a reluctance to get out of bed. Bit by bit the family was taking over all her plans and now Christmas was ruined. Was it worth all the effort?
Then she had a lightbulb moment. The others might not be in the spirit of giving, but that wasn’t going to stop her. She hunted through the house for the many gifts she’d bought and the gift wrap, special novelty sticky tape and gift tags.
As she hunted, she found those decorations from last year’s Boxing Day sale, so she added them to the tree. She could possibly return the ones she’d just bought, but Bill would kill her if she went back to the shops.
She took all her gift wrapping supplies and the presents to the dining table. Thank goodness she’d cleared it. She put on a CD of Michael Bublé Christmas carols to get her in the mood, and started to wrap. As she put each wrapped present under the tree, her feeling of goodwill grew.
What a day! By the end of it, Kat was too tired to tidy away the plastic wrapping, price tags, empty shopping bags and boxes. Besides, she didn’t know where she would keep them. She’d deal with it later when she thought of the perfect spot.
The others might be bringing food but you couldn’t rely on them. Liz said she was going to bring a vegetarian couscous and sultana salad. Kylie was bringing cheesecake. Bill was going to supply beer and nuts, and Bruce said to trust him with the barbecue. But none of that is Christmas food!
So off Kat went to the supermarket to stock up on all the traditional Christmas fare. It was chaos. She was so exhausted when she got home, she couldn’t muster the energy to unpack. Besides, the fridge was full anyway. Proof that they needed a second fridge. She would just unpack in the morning. It wasn’t that hot anyway.
Kat was up early, dressed in her favourite Christmas t-shirt and apron and the special brooch her mother always wore. She moved the stack of boxes out of the guest bathroom and popped the special toilet roll with the surfing Santas in there, along with the coordinating novelty hand towel.
What a shame she never found time to clear off the dining table. Maybe later today after everyone went home?
In the meantime, she needed to find those recipes and start cooking. If she had a bigger kitchen this wouldn’t be such a chore.
As people arrived, she continued her preparations. Must be nice for them, she thought, all sitting outside and enjoying themselves as if there’s nothing to be done. Bill could always clear off the lounge chairs if he wanted to, but he’d rather drink beer outside while she slaved away. Bruce thought he was helping, but he put the meat on the barbecue when the turkey wasn’t even in the oven yet. The timing was all wrong.
Kylie was out there stringing tinsel on the clothesline and nobody paid any attention to the pink themed display Kat had put so much effort into.
Bill came in all cheery after the bad taste Kris Kringle gift exchange, sporting a ridiculous fishing cap on his head. Feeling pretty happy with himself, he said “See Love, Christmas is all about being together. It doesn’t matter what you get or what you eat, or even the decorations. My presence is your present, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.” Kat did not find this funny at all.
Finally, dinner was on the outdoor table. She’d had to abandon the turkey and put up with just sausages, chops and couscous salad. But at least she had pre-prepared the Christmas pudding. Even Bruce was catered for with the gluten free pudding from last year’s Boxing Day sale. Kylie could keep her cheesecake. This was Kat’s special year and she was determined to make it right.
Kat couldn’t believe that Bruce had such a weak stomach. He’d even wiped his sickly mouth on the novelty Santa handtowel. She’d have to buy a new one in the sales. And everyone wouldn’t shut up about the expired date code on the gluten free pudding.
The worst part was because of all his carrying on, they never got to open Kat’s gifts. Oh well, she’d just have to keep them till next year.
As she patted her loyal cat on her knee, Kat said, “Next year, Tabitha, it’s just you and me”. But poor Tabitha ate too much uncooked turkey and started to retch. She ruined Kat’s new Boxing Day t-shirt. That’s another thing Kat would have to replace in the sales.
Kat changed her shirt quickly. If she wasn’t fast, she’d miss the best bargains. She had no time now to clear the dining table. It would have to wait.