It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well, December is here, and finally we can start counting down the sleeps until Christmas. The advent calendar is up and the boys are enjoying finding a small gift each morning (apart from this morning when I forgot to fill it – oops). Last weekend we went up to Adelaide and were lucky to get the boys in for a photo with a lovely Santa at David Jones, without even needing to queue. It’s the first time they have had a photo on their own without parents or cousins and it is a really beautiful photo and a lovely momento of our first Christmas back in Australia.

We cheated a little and put our tree up last Wednesday. After years of beautiful real trees from Santa’s Shaped Christmas Trees in Gundaroo just outside Canberra, we thought it might be just easier to stick with a fake tree and went off to find something big enough to hold a huge collection of ornaments. The boys were so excited when we got home, and as it was the one afternoon we were all home together, I relented and broke the rule of only putting the tree up on 1 December.

One of our beautiful real Christmas trees in Canberra
One of our beautiful real Christmas trees in Canberra

While I have always loved decorating the tree, this year I decided to let go and leave it to the boys, only helping out on the higher branches. While I do love looking at the carefully styled and decorated, colour coordinated trees in all of the shops, I can’t help but feel that just buying a big box of matching ornaments in one go is a little devoid of memories and feeling. Like our house, our decorations are a random collection picked up over many years and in many different places. There are also gifts from family, 1st Christmases and friends from far away places. It was great fun telling the boys about where each of the decorations were from and it was pretty amazing to think that over the years we have collected decorations in Denmark, Austria, Russia, Slovakia, China, England, Vietnam and Cambodia. So as crazy and random as it looks, I can’t help but smile when my eye catches one of the special ornaments.

Our first Barossa Christmas tree
Our first Barossa Christmas tree
One of my favourite decorations from Hanoi
One of my favourite decorations from Hanoi

While Simon’s parents came laden with lots of presents when they visited last month, these are still hidden away in our room, and I have yet to start wrapping ours. I am not entirely sure the boys are quite up to resisting the temptation to peek – even if the presents aren’t for them. I’ve also been promising that we’ll decorate paper by bursting balloons full of glitter and decorations (thank you Playschool for putting that idea in their heads) but I need to psych myself up for that much mess.

With our eldest turning 6 on Christmas Day, we first have a big birthday party to get through this weekend, and we decided to invite the whole class as a nice way to end the year. He has been so lucky to settle into school so quickly and to have such a fantastic group of friends. He has also started bringing cards home from school, and is looking forward to writing cards for all of his friends. I am also pretty excited about finally finding a use for the excess cards I have accumulated over the years (especially as we have moved to sending an electronic card).

But once this weekend is over (and the three level superhero themed cake is decorated) it’s time to start the Christmas baking. First up will be the fruitcakes so we can post these off to some of the family. I think I have purchased most of our gifts but there is always that nagging feeling you have forgotten someone.

While there is lots to do, now it is December, I really feel like we can start to celebrate and enjoy the season properly. Tomorrow night will be our first Barossa Christmas parade down the main street of Tanunda, and I will be walking with the boys in a group from school. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Barossa celebrates Christmas and especially looking forward to hearing the local town band and choirs singing Christmas carols.

Christmas Wreath - not bad for a first go to use up some old fabric - and done in a night in front of the TV
Christmas Wreath – not bad for a first go to use up some old fabric – and done in a night in front of the TV

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I started this blog almost 3 years ago when we first arrived in the Barossa Valley. I've always wanted to write and I wanted to share my experience of my career change, our move to this beautiful wine region and discovering my next adventure. After 15 years as a public servant working in Canberra, Beijing, China and Hanoi, Vietnam, I decided it was time for a career change and more importantly, a lifestyle change. In 2014, we left Hanoi and headed to the Barossa Valley in South Australia with a dream of a more fulfilling lifestyle in one of Australia's premier food and wine regions. My husband and I both work in the wine industry - where my job could be described as anything but making the wine. In 2017, I decided to wind-up the consulting business I established in 2015 and focus on learning as much as I could about the wine industry and writing - both on this blog and a memoir of our time in Vietnam. This blog is an opportunity for me to share my writing - about everything from motherhood, to career change, fitness, travel and our vine-change/career change experience.

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