Christmas in the Mulligan household has a number of traditions, and can also go on for a while!
It starts, of course, with the acquisition of a Christmas Tree, and then it's installation in a crock in a corner of the lounge.
|And then it has to be decorated.|
|This year, most of that task fell to Jayne, as Charlotte now lives in Wellington.|
|In the meantime, our native 'Christmas tree', a pohutukawa, had come into full bloom, a glorious spray of deep red.|
|But when the inside version is finished, and the gifts begin to appear beneath it, you know Christmas is almost upon us.|
|Christmas Eve was spent visiting Sarah and Craig, for takeway tea, more food, and videos. And then a growing sense of anticipation.|
|This year, Christmas Day was bright, sunny, calm, and warm - unusual in the Wellington region. Consequently, the kids were able entertain themselves outside playing petanque, and sitting in the swing-seat.|
|Gareth, visiting Charlotte from the UK, joined us for a couple of days.|
|There is a limit to how patient one can be while standing in the hot sun waiting for Craig to take a photo of the three sisters.|
|One of the critical tasks of the day is to set the dinner table. This year the theme was 'purple'.|
|Desiree & I seemed to spend most of the early part of the afternoon in the kitchen.|
|We did take time out to exchange presents.|
(No prizes for guessing who these were for!)
|And then it was time to load the table with food, and indulge. Needless to say we did just that!|
|And that left the evening for a very slow game of Trivial Pursuit, and bit of music and, of course, dessert. And then sleep.|
|Which then brought us to Boxing Day. Left-over food. Tidying up. And then the cousins turned up for games, more food and old-fashioned craic! Oh, and a little petanque.|
|And then, as the evening set in, the lads watched the cricket, while the kids started Whoonu, and then Trivial Pursuit.|
|And then the day after Boxing Day, all that was left to do was to show Gareth, our UK visitor, why New Zealand used to be called the 'shaky isles'.|
|That's Gareth standing on the fault scarp or slope, of the Wellington Fault at Harcour Park in Upper Hutt. In other words, standing where the earth's surface moves.|
These fungi were growing in bark chips and debris below a large conifer.
|Once the serious geography lesson and touristy photo opportunity were out of the way, fun called!|
And finally, This is Christmas, John Lennon-style.