Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sacking Santa

Just back from a few days at the in-laws' place in Mandurah. Temperatures in the mid 30s, a five minute walk to the beach, water with barely a ripple on it ... didn't feel much like the Christmases I grew up with, but after nearly ten years here I'm starting to get used to it.

Drove down on Christmas Eve, after a mad couple of hours packing presents, beachwear and the dog into the back of the car. By 9pm, after a swim, a few drinks and the dispatch of the children to bed (all excited by the impending arrival of reindeer), we'd realised our big mistake.

In all the hurrying about, we'd forgotten the kids' Santa Sacks. Yup, every Father-Christmas-related gift had been lovingly wrapped and left in a wardrobe 50 miles up the coast. This after my promising my daughter that Santa would still come, even if we weren't at our normal address.

There was no way we could get back to Perth to get the presents - rotten alcohol - so a plan was concocted in which a note would be left with a few rapidly assembled small gifts. The note - from the forgetful St Nick himself - explained that the reindeer were overloaded and had had to leave most of the presents back at our house.

Come the morning the absence of goodies was paid no heed whatsoever. Instead, all the childrens' eyes were on the reindeer poo left behind by the sleigh team - why did it look so much like a handful of dried dates?

Meanwhile my brother-in-law sat scratching his head over why we'd bought him two copies of the same book (because my wife and I are super-efficient, obviously), and I found myself unwrapping an X-Box game that, when opened, was found to be lacking not only the instructions but also the game disc. So much for checking that list twice, Fatso.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Christmas is all about the presents in my family. Not so. It's also about quality time with your loved ones, all coming together in one big, happy home for fun and frolics.

I was still off to town to swap that game the second we got back, though.


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