So this is how our Christmas went:
Thursday 22nd: I finish work just after 3pm, scoot home, we throw our stuff in the car and off we go, collecting Anton on the way, all the way to Christchurch. We arrive sometime after 11pm and off to bed we go.
Friday 23rd: Chris takes his mother and the kids porn shopping i.e. Bunnings while I head out to Dad's in Rangiora to catch up. Just before lunch we head over to Pegasus and visit Donna & Garry who are renting there, prior to building. We have a nice lunch at a local cafe and then head back to Dad's. Just getting ready to leave and wham! an earthquake hits. I look around wildly for a place to take cover and Dad yells out "Garage!" (the reasoning being it doesn't have another story above it fall on top of us). However the shaking and rolling subsides before we get there. First thought: If it was bad here, how much worse will it be in Christchurch? Frantic attempts to call and txt - system overloading - but confirmation quickly that Chris, his Mum Rosina and the boys are fine and are at home. Several sharp aftershocks rattle the nerves.
I drive home, get out of the car and just as I am closing the driveway gate, the rumble starts and then all hell breaks loose. I cling to the gate for dear life, watching my Holden get bounced around like a toy and then as soon as I am able to stand without falling over, rush inside screaming for Tyler. He is remarkably calm, Chris is all laissez-faire and I burst into tears and declare that I want to go home. Chris' Mum administers some arnica spray and then we start riding out the aftershocks. No power so tea is cooked on the BBQ and we listen to reports on the radio. The second quake is a 6.0. We walk down the road and see liquefaction and holes opened up in the middle of the road. Power restored around 7pm. Aftershocks continue. Sleep that night is hard to come by. Even a truck rumbling makes me leap up in alarm.
Saturday 24th: We get outa Dodge and drive down to Oamaru to Chris' sister Leona's. The rest of Chris' side of the family are gathering there for a midday Christmas dinner. We feast on turkey, ham, lamb and new potatos, followed by pav, fruit salad, jellies and chocolate chip sherry log. We quaff excellent wines.
Tyler and Olivia enjoying Christmas dinner in the sun
Tyler's stocking and winding wool to find his Santa sack
Tyler playing his new Nintendo 3D with Anton
In the evening, I take Olivia down to St Paul's Presbyterian for a mid-evening Christmas service - the lights are turned off and we all light candles and sing traditional carols. Get home and sort out Tyler's stocking and Santa sack and then get some much-needed, non-shaken sleep.
Tyler wakes at 5:40am and begs to open his stocking. By 6:30m all the kids are awake and the big ones grab their piece of wool and starting winding it up to find their Santa sacks. The strings go all over the house and outside. Tyler finds his sack behind the BBQ. We open the rest of the presents in the lounge and the floor is a sea of paper and toys. We enjoy croissants, bacon and eggs for breakfast and then head off back to Invercargill.
So not a traditional Christmas for me at all, but very enjoyable nontheless.