For many of you, like me, this will be your last full week of work, school or ‘normal’ life before we hit the christmas chaos. We’ve managed to avoid the majority of Christmas hype this year through deliberate avoidance and literally not having enough hours in the day to get involved.

We’re going to New Zealand for Christmas this year which has been another fabulous excuse for not having a christmas tree but it dawned on me last week that we didn’t have one single christmas decoration up in the house, unless of course you count the ever growing pile of christmas themed arts and crafts the kids have been bringing home from school each day.

I mentioned the lack of Christmas decorations to Matt and I thought we might get away with not doing anything for Christmas… We can rely on the school doing the bulk of the heavy lifting with Christmas themed days and end of year celebrations and all I’d have to do is sew some tinsel onto Alice's school dress and we’d call it a day. Christmas contributions complete.

Matt, of course, felt bad and went out to get the kids an advent calendar because he was obviously more concerned about depriving the kids of Christmas cheer than I was. He came home with a giant Disney book that had a pocket for each day that held a mini story book. It was half price (we’d already missed 10 days so that wasn’t surprising) and Matt lovingly imagined that the kids would pick the story for the day and we’d all snuggle up and read it together before bedtime…

Once the kids discovered that the advent calendar was a book and not chocolate, they basically didn’t want anything to do with it and it has been Matt or myself revealing the new book each day and forcing it upon the children. Admittedly Frank has been doing an excellent job of reading the books to us (in exchange for extra Nintendo time) so we have managed to salvage a meaningful experience after all. 

Christmas when you're a kid is all about the hype. It’s about receiving and not giving. This changes obviously as you get older but at age 6 and 7, Frank and Alice just want stuff. All kids that age just want stuff. Alice has written so many letters to Santa that I’ve lost count. Frank is on the fence - I don’t think he believes in Santa any more but he hasn’t voiced it in case it means he doesn’t get any presents. 

I don’t remember when I found out that Santa wasn’t real but I’m pretty sure I told my younger brother and sister as soon as I found out. I did the same thing when I learnt all the swear words. One thing I do remember is discovering Mum’s hiding place for all our Christmas presents one year. I found everything, unwrapped in a massive stash in her wardrobe. It was like the scene out of some Indian Jones movie where they discover an ancient tomb filled with gold. 

I was stoked having unearthed all the secrets until it came to christmas day. As I opened all the presents I had to fake surprise and it made me feel really shitty. I feel even worse now knowing how hard Mum and Dad would’ve worked to buy us all those gifts. The reaction is almost worth more than the gift itself and I never again searched out the presents, finally understanding that the act of giving was more important than the gift itself.

Like lots of families, especially this year, we’re not in a position to spoil our kids. The bulk of our money this year has gone straight back into the business and what remained has been spent on the flights to New Zealand. Luckily we’ve become incredibly good at drawing value from within and instead of focusing on what we can’t do, we can focus on what we can.

Spending time with our NZ family and friends is really special and the kids appreciate how much that means to our family. They’re so excited about seeing Nana and Poppa, catching up with their cousins and going to their first ever wedding that Christmas is almost irrelevant. 

I’m so excited about all the above obviously but I’m most excited about spending time with my Matt and the kids. This year has been beyond anything we could ever have imagined, personally and professionally, both good and bad. All I want to do now is collect up my sweet family and whisk them away to NZ for 10 days of food, family, friends and maybe a present or two.

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