Christmas at my house has been a pretty low-key affair for years. We had been abroad every year 1999-2006, when our holiday was cancelled because we got stuck in a traffic jam caused by a jack-knifed lorry on the M25, and then we just didn't go away again at Christmas time after that, either cause we couldn't be bothered or cause we'd done more expensive ones other times in the year.
=D Fun times, going back to a freezing house with no decorations or food in the fridge, but it couldn't be helped; Heathrow sold our seats despite saying they wouldn't and our getting there just half a minute before the gate closed.
So after that, we didn't bother with decorations - just on Christmas Eve we'd pass around a sack with presents and pull one at random and give it to the appropriate person, then watch t.v. and eat good food. Nothing major. Two years in a row I spent Boxing Day with my then boyfriend, and that was as lively as it got. (Which could be pretty lively actually)
When we saw my relatives, it was in a restaurant somewhere, since it's quite a drive and easiest to meet in the middle.
This year, I asked for a tree, as I said. I'd been feeling marginally more festive, and I wanted this year to be different and less bleak. And I had fun decorating the tree - with Granddad doing the candles. It looks lovely in the living room, and we've a gloriously tacky curtain thing free from New Look (they were giving away tacky decorations) hanging from the banister in the hall.
On Christmas Eve, soon after it was dark outside, we began the opening presents stuff. I got a new digital camera with more modes than I can use - but each of them useful and fun to try out. Two books from my brother, a Pride and Prejudice mug and some money from the extended family - with which I've ordered the first two volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood on dvd. =D
As you see, even our present-giving these days are a pretty meagre affair, but then my brother got a very expensive leather jacket, and as I said, I got the digital camera, which is carrying over to my birthday, too. Tbh, we're happy with simple things. Don't need Tiffany's diamonds or cars or a new t.v. or anything. If we did, we'd bloody well buy it ourselves and not ask our grandparents to dig into their hard-saved funds for such things.
Then we watched my brother's new copy of Kung Fu Panda, drinking tea and coffee.
We all saw my uncle and two of my cousins on the 28th, and had a nice dinner with them in a Pizza Express in a little town in Hertfordshire. Then the day after I met the group of friends I'm most in contact with these days for a good afternoon/evening out, and the next day met with my other friend who couldn't make it.
New Years Eve is usually pretty low-key. Have a family friend over for dinner, and maybe invite one or two people over for drinks afterwards. I would have gone with my friends to one of their houses in Hatfield, but in the end it was just as well I didn't, as there was no room in the car, and my brother needed the company. This year we also had our two neighbours from across the road, who are a lively couple and were very much appreciated by my brother and me.
"Boring" for most people, I know, but then I tried Rumtopf for the first time - don't have it if you don't like 100pf 57%vol Rum or fruit. Not that you can tell what the fruit is unless it still looked like a segment of tangerine or pear or pineapple.
The food was also superb, and we had a good laugh and giggle until the new year came in.
I don't particularly understand the fuss of New Years - I suppose there's the hope of a new start and all that, but really you can do that at any time of the year. Just an excuse to get wasted for most, really.
And to make an inordinate number of dishes with your closest friends.
How's my dissertation going? A grand total of 400 words, referenced and everything. I've done a lot of note taking though - well, a lot in that I've written about a page of typed notes and footnoted those as well. I'm definitely going back by the end of the week, I really need to get into a work-based environment. By third year, you just associate uni with study, and home with relaxing and doing what feels like endless dish-washing.