In a few days, our family of three will make our third annual Christmas pilgrimage up the highway to my Dads house. Until I was about 11, my family did that drive every year, up to our then holiday house (which would later become our everyday home), for enormous Christmases with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. We'd pile into our yellow van that always over heated with the number plate that read 'herbs', with our thermos of iced water and our egg and lettuce sandwiches. Some of my most painful and boring childhood memories involve sitting in that car, quarrelling at a dead standstill in unmoving traffic, in heat so searing it would fry an egg. And without air conditioning for fear of over heating the car. Of course. One particularly memorable trip, Mum and Dad made the decision of our lives, finally caving at unrelenting nagging and pressure - we could stop at McDonalds for breakfast. Hotcakes! Hash browns! We'd get the lot! One of everything! (I'd only ever had McDonalds once before, when my friends Dad smuggled burgers into the theatre to see Sweeney Todds, but I was far too nervous about getting into trouble for breaking the rule of no eating in the theatre to really enjoy it.) We could barely contain our excitement as we drove up to window two to collect our food. At the last minute, I needed to go to the toilet, so while the rest of the family waited in the car, I ran in. It was busy that day, crazy christmas crowds busy, and I had to wait impatiently in a long queue. When I finally returned to the car, eager to indulge in the forbidden feast, I was greeted with the horrifying news like a slap in the face. A fight had broken out between Hayes and Anika, who were both now sitting red-eyed, weeping quietly. Dad, at the end of his tether, had snapped and tossed out our food. Our McDonalds, was gone. Gone? Even though I couldn't believe it, I knew it was true. Because I could see the crumpled, stomped on bags of untouched food staring at me from their sad resting place on the footpath outside my window. That was the last time we stopped at McDonalds. As you and Shane and I set off in the car this year, I’ll be thinking about the little Christmas traditions our family of three are forging for ourselves. I like it that one of them is following along the well worn path my own family trod for so many years. And there won’t be any McDonalds in ours, either.
Merry and super jolly Christmas wishes to all! Thanks for reading xx