Here comes Christmas! I've always loved this time of year, the tacky decorations, lights in yards and the glorious food. But, the last few years I started to lose my Christmas spirit. Started to seem the last few occasions had me running around madly the day before, looking for the perfect present for my kids. And each year our gifts would get more and more expensive, trying to outdo the year before. We'd spend thousands. Don't even get me started on the trend we had for a while buying a pet each year! Got me down.
I'm a big one for challenges. I sign up for them online, but I also try to implement them at home. We have family meetings and someone will suggest a new challenge. We've had fun with no electricity days, spend nothing days and no tv month. But my Christmas challenges were shot down this year. I started with the 'no presents' idea. Ha. Then I tried the 'handmade gifts' idea. Raspberries. But, I am happy to say we settled on a limit. The kids could spend up to $50 of their own money on each other and we would choose gifts for them up to $100 each.
The kids'll still get their sack filled by Santa, but at least now I feel Christmas has become more about our family gathering than the gifts. Looking forward to the Turkey, ham, plum pudding and hosting family and friends.
The Holiday Spirit Blogfest at romanticfridaywriters prompted me to do up a flash fiction piece. I guess that longing for Christmas to be about family and not money influenced me:
Home for Christmas
Jade poked at the dirt with a stick. Midday sun scorched her dark skin and burned her scalp even through her thick curls. Her cotton shirt stuck damp to her back, sweat pooled under her chin and ran into her cleavage. She swatted away blowflies and took another swig from her water bottle. The water was warm and did not satisfy her.
‘We’ll head back soon, I’m nearly done here.’ Her father emerged from his one man quarry. ‘I’ve found some good stones today aye luv. Gonna get a good bob for these.’
No he wouldn’t Jade thought. He never did. Always the same. Go out to the lot, fossick for stones, opals being the prized goal. He’d get them home and those promising flashes of colour would turn bland under the kitchen light. He’d talk up the find. ‘Gonna get a hundred quid for this one, easy.’ Most were worth just a few dollars. He’d return, a burger and fries for Jade and a heart-full of shame. He’d drink and cry and promise to move back to the city. Get a job.
At first Jade believed him. She’d secretly pray for his findings to be short, so they could leave. A few times she even packed. Back to the city, back to school and Janine and Tracy and all her friends. Back to see her mother and her grandmother. He’d go back out for one more find, just enough money for the trip. He’d get all excited about another useless rock.
She stopped packing. She’d go back to the city, soon, without him. But for now, he needed someone to share his shame with. Someone to pick up the empties and pretend to believe him when the next rock was dragged up from the ground.
Next week was Christmas, he’d need her to get through that. After Christmas she’d go. Or maybe after New Year.