Australia, Friends and Family
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Breaking down the month-long trip back home into bloggable, bite-sized pieces is a bit tricky. Because you know, when you’re home, you tend to photograph differently than when you’re away, and my shots are sporadic at best (and slightly shoddy at worst).

I regret a bit not taking photos of all the Big Events, and not getting photos with all of the many friends we met up with while back- but I think in part that’s because we were less holiday, and more living.

Christmas eve was spent at Andy’s folks’ house, with his close family, including his Pop. I didn’t take photos.

Christmas Morning was spent at Andy’s Cousin’s house, and involved many kids. One of the kids, a twin, decided that I was ‘his person’. He spent the morning showing me his toys, draping himself over me, sulking when I talked to other people (including adults), and, eventually, cried when I had to go home. He was very cute, but needless to say, I didn’t take any photos.

Christmas midday was spent unwrapping presents at the Wiszniewskis’ house, and then at ~2 we headed over to my Aunt and Uncle’s house to eat more food. In honesty, I think I only took my camera out when this guy appeared:

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… which means I missed the (first part of the) eating, and just managed to get a few shots of everyone milling around, receiving pressies, and drinking tea.IMG_2382 (Copy)IMG_2383 (Copy)IMG_2385 (Copy)IMG_2386 (Copy)

One of the things I like about our Christmas is that it’s a combination of both my dad’s family, and my mum’s family. Given that mum only has one sister, and Dad has one west-coast-living sister, it means there’s a total of only two parents, two aunts and their partners, and two cousins from each side with their respective partners. Plus now the first two little ‘uns of the new generation.

Back when my Grandfather was alive, and busy patriarch-ing up the family, Christmas eve was his. We’d all meet up there with his brothers and sisters, and their kids and grandkids. As children we’d muck around, eat, play king of the pack, play hide and seek in the (forbidden) bamboo, and look up at the sky to see the stars Santa’s sleigh arriving. Then my uncle would take his elderly mother home, somehow always managing to time his drive so badly as to miss Santa’s arrival.

One time, he came back from visiting his mother, and for some reason had changed into red velvet pants.


Santa’s visit, which I guess didn’t continue on much longer after the pants incident, was never quite as important and dramatic as the midnight present event, which centered around Granddad and his gifts.

Granddad’s presents were often large, dramatic, and often involved an element of treasure hunting. So there were several years when we unwrapped blocks of wood with clues. Or, sometimes, we started off with just a tiny toy-version of our actual gift. There was a year when I had to find a life-sized Suzie Stretch doll under a bed.  And I’m fairly certain that one year mum and dad received a ‘money actually does grow on trees’ Money Tree.

And then, one year, my cousin, my sister and I received a three story wooden doll house, made entirely by himself and his neighbour-girlfriend, complete with working electricity and monogramed towels.

So Christmas Eve was always his.

And Christmas day was for the rest of the family.IMG_2387 (Copy) IMG_2389 (Copy)^Ariel is a card hand-out-ing Christmas Elf!

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My father and my aunt have a ‘moo-cow’ war, which has continued for about 10 years, and involves them gifting each other kitsch moo-cow related things. I suspect that my aunt has several metres of this material stashed away, and my father is about to spend the next 5 Christmases receiving cow bow-ties, shirts, bags etc.

IMG_2407 (Copy) IMG_2409 (Copy) IMG_2415 (Copy)  IMG_2418 (Copy)^It’s hard to tell in the photo, but I’m wearing my sister’s (very expensive) sapphire ring. I’m also wearing her sparkly shoes, which is how I suddenly got so tall.

Am I not pretty and elegant?

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Onto Boxing day! Which traditionally has involved just our nuclear family, plus cats, plus leftovers.

We don’t open our presents from eachother until Boxing day, and then spend the rest of the day just snacking, lounging, and reading (because the presents always involve at least one or two books!)

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Here’s Mya, my sister’s cat, in all her Christmas finery, sitting on a cat rug gifted to me by Andy’s folks.  Grumpy cat has nothing on this one.

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At some point, my sister disappeared to say Merry Christmas to our neighbours, and came back inside holding a chickling…IMG_2455 (Copy) IMG_2456 (Copy) IMG_2461 (Copy)

… he, or hopefully she (or it’s ‘to the farm’ for him), eventually had to be given back.

Much German chocolate was received, and my father quickly hoarded it away so he wouldn’t have to share, somehow managing to look like a Greek Muse while doing so…IMG_2474 (Copy)IMG_2466 (Copy) IMG_2467 (Copy)

Everyone sprawled, and ate, and read, and ate.IMG_2438 (Copy) IMG_2440 (Copy) IMG_2450 (Copy)

Finally, here’s some rare, never-before-seen shots of Andy interacting with the cat to help her open her presents.IMG_2444 (Copy)IMG_2449 (Copy)IMG_2446 (Copy) IMG_2447 (Copy)

In the end, nobody looks very convinced by the quality of this interaction.IMG_2448 (Copy)

Hope y’all had a good one.

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