The Joy of Christmas

There’s a lot to do with getting ready for Christmas and I know I’m not alone in feeling that at this time of year it would be handy to have an extra day in every week.  Adding to the mayhem is that things can and often do go wrong and I had no less than three such implosions this week.

Tis the season for gift-giving

Tis the season for gift-giving

The first was when I heard I’d won a prize in the school’s raffle.  Every year, towards the end of the school year the children are sent home with a book of raffle tickets.  I have no time to be knocking on the neighbours doors begging them to buy a ticket so to shorten the exercise I buy the book myself.  I’m $35.00 down but I’ve saved myself an hour of door-knocking.  I’ve never had much luck with raffles and so I threw away my book of tickets but before they were binned I did notice there were about a dozen prizes and some were excellent like overseas holidays and flat screen TVs.

You can imagine my surprise when during the week I received a phone call from the school informing me that I’d won a prize.  Alas, it wasn’t an escape to a foreign destination, nor was it a wall-sized TV, instead I was told it was a $250.00 voucher to a local music store.  I was actually very pleased as I’ve been wondering what to put in Archie’s stocking and now I could fill it with all the guitar bits and pieces he’s always saying he needs.

I called in to the school to collect my fabulous prize so I could head on down to the music store however, when I read the voucher there was some small print that said the prize could only be used on a term of ‘Little Angels’ music lessons for a 3-5 year old.  I might have screamed out, ‘What a dud prize’.  Anyone want it?

A present for the teacher

A present for the teacher

It’s that time of year again when you’re contacted by the class mums who are taking up money to buy a joint present for the teachers.  I’m only too happy to contribute towards a gift however I always feel I need to do a little extra as Alfie is challenging (or perhaps, ‘spirited’) and as such has tried the patience of the best of them.  I wanted to do something special for Alfie’s Thursday/Friday teacher and so I made her one of my Christmas cakes and decorated it with a tree on top and some holly on the sides, wrapped it in clear cellophane, tied it with a big bow and we walked it up to the school.

Alfie handed it to her and she was very gracious in accepting it and I was just about to give myself a big pat on the back when someone told me the teacher is a coeliac and so was the cake gluten-free.  Unbelievable.  How is it that during the entire year no one mentioned the teacher wouldn’t be able to eat a fruit cake made with flour?  The teacher told me she was looking forward to eating the icing.  What a dud gift.

Fruit sticks

Fruit sticks

As you know, Alfie is a cub-scout.  He had his final day of scouts for the year yesterday and so there was a party where you had to bring a plate of food and so running short of time I slapped half a pineapple onto one of the many cake boards Celia gave me then put fruit on skewers with a marshmallow and stabbed the skewers into the pineapple.  Done in 20 minutes!  I drove Alfie to the party and stayed for a while talking to some of the other mothers.

There I am, hanging on to a cup a caffeine

There I am, hanging on to a cup a caffeine

Much of the conversation revolved around the major fundraiser which is the sale of Christmas trees.  We had been asked to volunteer to help and so I put my name on the roster for the 6.30am – 10.30am time slot.  Love an early start!

6.30am action

6.30am action

However, when I was at the party someone told me that they needed a volunteer to meet the truck and help lift the 150 trees off the back of it and stack them against the fence.  My name had been put forward and I was now required to be there at 5am.  A dud deal!

So last night Alfie and I went to bed early (tried to), then at half past four the alarm went off and up we got and off we went to haul trees.  There’s every chance we were late but I tried.

Handling the money

Handling the money

I actually enjoyed selling the trees.  Can you believe there were people who turned up at 6.30am in the hopes of securing the best tree.  We were swamped with people who mostly arrived in family groups with a dog in tow and the children being allowed to select ‘the best’ tree.  We had many, many that were ‘the best’.  Alfie wanted to be the banker and so he had the money belt and learned how to give the correct change.  Many gave the scouts a donation or mentioned how long they’ve been buying trees from the scouts or told me stories of their own scouting days or their children’s days as scouts.  The atmosphere was warm and friendly with everyone wishing everyone else a very Merry Christmas.

I purchased a tree with a new stand (no time to look for the old one).  I’m quite sure this is the largest tree we have ever had.  Wait until my husband sees it – he’ll be saying, ‘You’ve gone too far, Charlie, way too far’.

Just decorated - our 10 foot Christmas Tree

Just decorated – our 10 foot Christmas Tree

So that’s the week that was – a dud raffle, a dud gift and a very short sleep – it must be almost Christmas!

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  1. G’day Charlie! You have SO much to be proud of, true!
    Your family and stories surrounding them are priceless and despite your perceived ups and down, I think (from afar) you do a great job and always enjoy reading your posts too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  2. What a week you’ve had…you have my sympathies. I hope you can have a nice break after all the Christmas preparations, you certainly deserve it. What an absolutely gorgeous tree!

  3. Just love it. Christmas tree hunting in shorts! I think it is always such a busy time of the year and to add to the craziness my youngest has exam weeks for IGCSE for 2 weeks before holiday. You look like you are well on your way with getting things sorted for this holiday season. Cute little cake for the teachers. They will love it.

  4. Thanks for starting my Saturday with a good laugh. Your stories always entertain. You can’t make stuff like this up.

    And good for you and Alfie to give so much of your time to sell Christmas trees. It sounds like a great experience.

  5. Too bad about the raffle, years ago I decided not to enter or buy tickets for prizes I had no interest in and eventually my friends with children simply stopped asking! What kind of trees do you have for Christmas? It looks a little different that the trees we have which are mainly Firs (Fraser Fir is the most comment and then there is the Balsam Fir and Douglas Fir); they are a short needled tree that comes in a variety of blue green shades. They are very aromatic, particularly when they are first brought in from the outdoors. Recently the trend has been to sell entirely wrapped trees so you can’t really tell how full it is, which I find rather annoying. This year we didn’t cut our own tree because of timing so we just purchased it from IKEA for $20. We also saw trees for $100 at local markets.
    I’m sorry you had such a dud week, hopefully next week will be better. It’s snowing quite heavily in Toronto right now and I suspect we will have more than the 2-5cm they predicted! It also looks like we’ll be shovelling a few times throughout the day! Sigh, at least it is good exercise!

  6. It sounds like you did your best with it all and the ‘dud-ness’ wasn’t under your control. Hope things turn around and get more fun Christmassy. 🙂

  7. Your life is always full of such wonderful twists and turns. And you just roll with it. I would have been a little cranky by the end. XO.

  8. Not a dud gift at all–the teacher can lovingly share with friends. Beautiful cake. Is it my imagination or is Alfie getting really tall. All of a sudden his legs look sooooo long. I may have written this twice as there was some snaffu which was my fault.

  9. Great story Charlie. Sorry about all the duds, but they made me laugh.

  10. Alfie is so cute! No wonder he is spirited 🙂 The cake looks wonderful and it’s not your fault that you didn’t know! Now, the raffle gift that really is dud! 3-5 yr olds, really? Why is that even a raffle gift??

  11. I went Christmas tree sale too! And I am making a post on it too 😀 I am sure things will look up as the days go by to Christmas 🙂

  12. You have an exciting life of ups and downs. My boss gave me a box of chocolates for Christmas and she knows I am fructose intolerant. At least you didn’t know and baked her a wheat flour cake anyway. Last year, I had a different boss and was in my no-grain, no-sugar phase and my boss gave me a basket of food items and I couldn’t eat a single one of them. And she knew too.
    I think you are wonderful for even thinking of making a cake for the teacher.

  13. Things always come in threes. Let’s hope next week, you have three joyous surprises.

  14. Those fruit sticks look yummy! And yes, I agree, what a dud prize!

  15. I love your Christmas tree and our Christmas spirit!!! What a week for you, but what a lovely end with the beautiful Christmas tree!!

  16. Your tree looks fabulous. Good on you for volunteering and helping the Scouts. My son was in cubs and scouts and had some great times with them

  17. Oh Charlie, sop many dud things happen to me I couldn’t catalogue them if I tried. However I did dud you on that balsamic Ill get it to you this week….

  18. Charlie, what a fantastic present for the teacher! And, I do the same with my nieces’ fundraisers. I always volunteer to buy half their goal while their mom buys the other half.

  19. That is a pretty dud prize. It’s such a narrow use!
    I’ve had a few duds in the last week. First one coming up tomorrow.
    I am so envious of your tree though!

  20. So much work went into being thoughtful and considerate, and I feel sorry that not everything hit the right target–like the cake! That’s a shame. The tree is beautiful and I hope this coming week is a time to just enjoy! I’m saying that to me, too. LOL! We can dream. 🙂

  21. so much AARRGGHH! Feel your pain! The cake looks lovely, am sure the teacher was touched that you went to so much effort [despite not being able to eat it!]

  22. Maybe you’ve got all the ‘challenges’ out of the way?! I can only hope so and that the next few weeks are relatively straightforward in the lead up to Christmas itself. Good on you for making Alfie’s teacher a cake though – it is the thought that matters and I’m sure she could contribute it to Christmas festivities that include non-GF participants!

  23. Some weeks it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed Charlie. At least you got an awesome tree out of it and Alfie got an important lesson in mathematics and finances 🙂 Better luck this week sweetie- here’s hoping! Xox

  24. Holy cow, Alfie looks like his father in that photo of him holding the tree. Isn’t he cute!

    You have had quite a week, missy. I don’t think I want to trade but then we’ve been dealing with dementia care all week and maybe your week sounds more fun.

  25. Oh no, what a shame about the teacher and her cake! I’m sure she’ll have someone eager to eat it anyway. And i bet the new tree smells great!

  26. What a lousy few days you had! A completely dud week, if I may say so. 😉 Really entertaining read, though – thanks.

  27. Isn’t it hard to remember the spirit of Christmas when there are so many things that get in the way?! I’m so glad you were able to enjoy selling the trees!

  28. I’ve always wanted a ‘proper’ christmas tree – one of the real ones! I can’t wait to have one with my own house and family.. one day 🙂

  29. Wow what an amazing week. You’re so good doing so much for your family and schools. I’m very impressed. Great looking tree, 10 feet, must be amazing. GG xx

  30. Oh, you DID make me giggle! I’m so sorry for all the short straws you drew this week…but now I have someone to commiserate over my uncrackled gingersnaps…and other misshapen holiday treats. I will keep my composure like you…and make them again tomorrow. Wish I could have taken that gorgeous cake off the teacher’s hands 🙂 xo

  31. At least the DUD got shared around 🙂

  32. Need your assistance to get us ready this year!! We are behind!

  33. Oh hun, is it really wrong that although I was feeling your pain I was also laughing… dud friend that I am and all 😉 xx

  34. Oh Charlie, you had me laughing at your expense! So many duds!
    You certainly look pretty fresh in that photo given the time you had to wake up! I do love your tree too, we always say we’re going to go for a fresh tree every year then back out. Maybe I can visit the scouts and buy one off you next year (there’s NO WAY I’ll be there at 6am to pick the best tree though!!) xx

  35. To win a dud prize … ouch! … but cheers to work selling those trees. Gotta love that cake.

    BTW … I have a holiday party on Saturday … with gifts!

  36. So glad waking up early wasn’t as bad as you thought. A good deed and you had fun to boot! 🙂

  37. It’s all about the thought that counts, right? yeah, sometimes that’s hard to swallow, I know!! Well, tis the season, you’re a good woman and mom! Just a week left!! Happy holidays!

  38. Intention is everything darling, and you certainly meant the very best with the Christmas cake! What a hectic time you’ve had! We’ll all need a drink and a debrief in January. Beautiful tree! xx

  39. Yep. It must be the holidays. Your week sure sounds like it is. That cake was another beauty, Charlie, and I’m sure she appreciated the gesture. When I worked at the bar, we’d take over a charity’s Christmas tree lot for a couple nights selling the trees for them. It was some of my favorite times at that bar. The excitement of the people, especially the little ones, when shopping for a tree is incredible. This being Chicago, we weren’t wearing t-shirts and sandals but, being “bar people”, we did come prepared and there was plenty of cheer to keep us all warm. 🙂

  40. I feel terrible when people make me things that I can’t eat when they had no way of knowing I have food allergies. It’s so awkward and it makes me feel bad that they went to all of that trouble. Hopefully she has a husband or other family members who can enjoy your cake thoroughly! What a good idea to do the fruit with the pineapple. Lovely tree too! 🙂

  41. Gosh what’s the luck that the teacher was coelic and wasn’t able to eat the cake 🙁 That’s a little sad! But I’m sure she still appreciates the gesture and thought hehe
    And I love that tree and honestly don’t think that it’s too much it’s lovely!

  42. Ohhhh that sounds like a big wet fish slap in your face sort of week!

    What sort of prize is that for a school raffle when most kids are past 5 years old!

    I am sure the teacher will enjoy sharing the cake but not quite where your energies were directed. It does look gorgeous so she could just use it to cheer up her christmas table 🙂

    And onya for doing the scouts trees – we have bought them from scouts two years in a row now and it is the friendliest christmas tree sales. This year I actually went to the wrong scout hall which didn’t make me happy but we got a lovely small neat christmas tree that is just right for our small space.

    I love your tree – it is dazzling. Hope you sat down in front of it with a stiff drink at the end of the week 🙂

  43. So basically it wasn’t a $250 voucher at all, but actually just a meaningless coupon to be exchanged for some naff deal that the school has struck with the music store. What garbage! Next they’ll be saying that the TV isn’t actually a real TV but rather a “picture of a TV” and the foreign trips are for “any destination you like out of a choice of 1, which just happens to be 100m out to sea in a ferryboat, and lasts for only 1 hour”.

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