Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas at Wharekauri

Christmas morning delivered a sunny, calm day. Our Christmas celebrations, however, were anything but calm. When you put 50+ family members, including 14 very excited under-9s, in one big room ... well, you can probably imagine the noise. The gift giving was organised with military precision, with the children being told which presents they could open and when; there are definitely too many teachers in this family and this kind of 'organising' makes me glad to have left the profession a couple of years ago! We had hung the personalised Christmas baubles we'd made on the tree the night before, to go with the piles of gifts each of the seven families were giving to the children. Our selection of baking for the aunts and uncles also went down a treat - I must remember that next year.

Christmas Day for us was also going to incorporate four family baptisms. Remembering where we were, there was no question that this ceremony was going to be as informal and unorthodox as the rest of the week's proceedings. However, I think even the minister was surprised at how little of the service he actually got to perform once the hysterical screams overpowered his words! We ended up just singing the remainder of the hymns and Christmas carols before going outside to pacify the last of the screaming babies.

 I have posted some more photos of the church here.

After church, we put the finishing touches on a huge Christmas meal. As always, food plays a big part in our family celebrations. We dined on crayfish, the flounder caught yesterday, ham, pork, and piles of vegetables. The dessert table was groaning with brandy snaps (carefully brought over as carry-on luggage), trifle, cheesecake, pavlova, steamed pudding with custard, and my cousin's gorgeous gingerbread house.

After lunch was the cousins' Secret Santa and a shortened version of the Yankee swap. A couple of presents were 'stolen'; some of the choices were questionable at best! I was happy to swap my beach towel of a common beer brand with my beer-brewer brother after the game and come away with a blow-up lilo and beach towel checkers set. Apparently it's a big joke for boutique micro-brewers to be sporting logos and memorabilia of big (opposition) commercial breweries!

We ended Christmas Day by chasing the low tide to collect pipi from a nearby beach. The last time I went pipiing was as a seven-year-old. I vividly remember standing on a pipi which closed up on the sole of my foot, pinching together the skin and giving me plenty to be upset about! This time, I was prepared with aqua socks, but we were a couple of hours behind the low-tide, meaning that only who were prepared to dig into the sand further into the water had any success. We city folk played in the cold water along the shoreline while the sun went down, watching about a dozen of our family members filling up four big buckets with their catch. Oh well, I suppose that it's being there that matters!

1 comment:

Sab said...

Oh that all sounds like so much fun! Sigh... Christmas at the beach... ours was too cold to enjoy the outdoors. I think I wanna try sledding next year.

Pipiing sounds interesting!