The delicious smell of gammon roasting travels through the house, creeping under my bedroom door and awakens me to Christmas morning. I can hear my mom moving around the kitchen as she prepares all the snacks for the day ahead of us. My mom knows the way to my heart is through my stomach. I emerge from my bedroom, trying my hardest to hide my childlike excitement. There’s just something so magical about Christmas day, never mind the fact that I’m itching to see what’s waiting for me under the Christmas tree. I gave my mom a list this year and was very specific about what I wanted. I’ve learnt my lesson from previous years, if I don’t tell her what I want, I usually end up with an electrical toothbrush, and I’m just about running out of space on the bathroom counter. Last year my step-dad threw a rolled-up stack of cash at me, I’m not complaining, I mean who doesn’t want cash right? It’s just not very traditional or festive, I want the novelty of unwrapping something this year.
“Merry Christmas Floss” Mom shouts from the kitchen. Floss is my mom’s nickname for me, I have no idea what it means but ever since I can remember this has been my name at home. I’m the baby of the family, the youngest of 4 children. 3 brothers and I wonder why I’m still single.
Trays of spring rolls, samoosas, chicken pies and chilly bites cover the dining room table. My step dad is eyeing out the samoosas waiting for the perfect opportunity to grab one without my mom seeing. Good luck to him, mom has eyes like a hawk, and even if she doesn’t see, she has most probably counted them all and will know if one goes missing. “Merry Christmas” I say, as I give my step dad a big bear hug. He hands me a rolled-up stack of cash (Standard) “Spend it wisely” he says while reaching for a samoosa…
Cousin Barret has already had too much to drink, Aunty Jen is doing her rounds around the house while Uncle Peter cooks the lamb and roast beef on the barbecue outside. I know my place in this house, I stand in the kitchen enjoying the smell of roasted potatoes while sipping on wine and catching up with my cousins. If we see each other 4 times in a year, it’s a lot. Ben is no longer little Ben, he is now big Ben full of energy causing havoc in the lounge with his little brother, while my cousin Amy sits wide-eyed beside the Christmas tree looking for her gifts from Santa. Aunt Ninon has already squeezed my cheeks for the fifteenth time and is now interrogating me on my love life. “What ever happened to that lovely boy, he was such a sweetheart” I’m not to sure who she is referring to as I’ve never brought a guy home. I smile and offer her some wine, hopefully that will end that conversation.
Lunch is served. I take a moment to look up from my full plate of deliciously heartfelt food and absorb my surroundings. Everyone is laughing, telling stories, there’s even a few inappropriate jokes being told, my little cousins are playing tug of war with their crackers, everyone is putting on those ridiculously awkward sized Christmas hats, and my brother is getting up once again for a second or is it third helping of my uncles famous roasted potatoes. And then there’re those moments of silence when I see my family truly enjoying their meals and appreciating the time spent with everyone. This is what makes my heart warm and what makes this day so special.
After lunch, Uncle Peter makes everyone cappuccinos (I stick to my wine obviously) and all the Men in the family light up a cigar and chill on the pool loungers. This is my favourite time of the day. My family is full of story tellers, and I lay quietly and contently as I listen to war stories, politics, top secret detective investigations and holiday trips that went wrong. The stories are endless and even if I’ve heard them before they never get old and I still have so many questions.
Aunty Jen leans over and kisses me on my head “Always love having you here my sweetheart”
Photography By – Tegan Smith Photography