By Jean Hailes nurse educator Rhonda Garad
Christmas Day will soon be upon us and I couldn’t be more excited than if I’d heard Meatloaf were coming back to sing at Carols in the Domain.
I have 15 social events in 16 days marked on my calendar – each one with its own “present theme”. Yes, it seems that this year one must have a present theme that shows creativity and innovation. What fun!
There is, of course, the tried-and-tested Kris Kringle – a favourite at our workplace. Last year I scored a slightly melted Santa candle that looked a bit like a Miss Havisham wedding cake from Great Expectations.
And there is a new theme – “regift an unwanted present”. What a hoot! However, as it is only the first week of December and I haven’t received any gifts yet, wanted or otherwise, I will have to go out and buy something that I would not want. Easy really, I’ll just head for the candle aisle.
Oh, and of the 15 events, 14 are bring a plate. Fab! I, however, voluntarily signed a public pledge last year to not prepare any food myself. When I say voluntarily, I would like to thank the chief inspector from the health department for making that such an easy decision.
And as each plate has to be coeliac, nut allergy and culturally compliant, I will simply do salads. Each one with a primary colour theme: for example, red theme – red capsicum, chilli, red cabbage, kidney beans and red onion; yellow theme – squash, butternut pumpkin, corn, yellow capsicum and lemon dressing. OK, blue is going to be a challenge. However, this salad will be antioxidant heaven and those who eat it should live to see many more Christmases!
But the Christmas party season is not all kicking up your heels and smooching under the mistletoe. In fact, it can be a challenge – to the waistline, the liver and the hip pocket. And I for one struggle a bit with all the social chit-chat, catch-ups and having to turn up for work the next day.
So here’s my survival strategy for this year’s Christmas party season: Turn up early (having eaten beforehand) and grab a small plate. Nibble on colourful salads while having pleasant conversation, and make sure you head home to bed before the bewitching hour.
This time can take its toll on kids, too. Late(ish) nights, interrupted routines, the over-the-top build-up of seeing Santa and eating their body weight in artificial colouring and flavouring can lead to the little ones looking like Wednesday from the Addams Family. So feed them something healthy before heading to any end-of-year event, let them run off their energy at the party and then lure them home to see the pretty Christmas lights in your neighbourhood.
OK, the Chrissy lights are just for me because my kids now think that houses decked out so brightly they can be detected from outer space with inflatable Santas booming out Bing Crosby are lame.
Not me! I agree with American columnist Erma Bombeck that “there’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child”. I, like Erma, have made the decision to nurture my inner Christmas child and relish this time.
The parts I love the most are that sense of letting go and winding down, reflecting on all that has been achieved in the year and spending time with family and good friends.
Oh, and opening all those themed presents of course!