There were 6 of us girls, Me (duh..), Perry, Humble, Scoozi, Jane, and Linz. Scoozi and I had been friends since I was 12 and when I moved to the big smoke to find work she introduced me to her friends and happily I became part of the whanau!' (a Maori word meaning family). Coming home from the UK was traumatic, the folks were living apart and close to divorce, the economy was very depressed at the time and I was unemployed for some months before I landed a nanny job. Having the girls around made life bearable when things weren’t going so great.
Some of the more memorable times were had playing Family Business (which we had to give up because it got too nasty) and hanging out at Ballarat Street or Ladies Mile. I still keep in touch with Scoozi (who lives in Kasakstan nowdays!) and Perry, we're the single ones… the others are long since married and bringing up families… Times change, that’s for sure! Anyway, that was the background, the story behind the decoration is this.
In Christmas of 1993 (I think…) I came across a book filled with Victorian Christmas decorations and tips for producing an authentic Victorian Christmas. It was captivating, and there was something so gorgeous about the whole design of them that I decided to create the experience for me and the whanau. The book had napkin rings, table centrepieces, the whole kit and caboodle! However, there were no recipes so a trip to the library was in order to plan the menu.
I honestly can’t remember what we cooked beyond the turkey, which I’d never done before and the whole business of stuffing both ends of the bird proved a bit of a challenge in its initial stages!!! Still, I recall that we achieved it! The table was set with new bottle green table trimmings, a checked table cloth and green napkins (in their Victorian Napkin Rings no less!!) and the scene [and table] was set for a great evening.
We served up the dinner, exchanged the [small] gifts and the whole event marked the beginning of an annual tradition that, as far as I know, continues till today!!! Not bad going considering 2 of us live overseas these days.
The decorations are clearly still in my collection and for me there’s nothing that feels quite so traditionally Christmassy than these decorations. After 2 years in the UK I have very fond memories of Dickensian and Victorian Christmas themed events over there, crisp air, mulled wine, figgy puddings with hidden cash, and warm winter clothing and winter fires.
How weird is that/ I’ve only ever had 3 winter Christmases and they feel more like Christmas than the prawns on the BBQs Down Under!