From the Editor - December 2011
|Sally Duggan (left) and Elizabeth Woods
Welcome to our Christmas issue. We have worked at it for weeks: shopping, cooking, shooting, styling. “We’ve got to cover it all; be the complete guide to Christmas,” I tell the team. I am feeling pretty good about it when an email arrives from our Christchurch blogger Elizabeth Woods. And, with a wisdom wrested from a truly horrible year, her words remind me that, with all our images of elegant food and frippery, nowhere in the magazine do we take space to pay homage to the real centre of Christmas: family and friends. We’ve reproduced her letter (below) as NZ House & Garden’s Christmas message. With Elizabeth’s strong spirit and our so-stylish ideas, I’m confident that this issue of the magazine really is the complete Christmas package.
Have a happy one.
Last christmas I wanted a fancy garlic crusher and an electric knife – this year I want flamenco lessons and a voucher to go swimming with dolphins.
Ask people in Christchurch what they would like for Christmas and a lot of the answers will be very different from last year. The things that I found so important back then have been relegated to the realms of “it really doesn’t matter”. With that comes a curious freedom and the realisation that, even though losing them can cause a pang or two, things are just things.
We had already had the first big quake at this time last year but, although the house was covered in bracing, we were still able to have our normal Christmas Day. For me that meant roast lamb, pavlova, trifle, Christmas mince pies, crackers, nuts, bubbly – the whole nine yards, all eaten off antique Spode china and drunk out of matching wine glasses. Then, on February 22, the entire contents of my new designer kitchen flew out of the cupboards and smashed to smithereens. This Christmas we will be eating off mismatched plates, drinking bubbly out of anything we can find that vaguely resembles a wine glass and probably (horror of horrors) eating a bought pavlova.
And, you know what, I couldn’t care less.
I used to think that all those cheesy Christmas sayings about how it is people that are important were, well, a little cheesy. Now I know that it is the truest thing in the world. If I could have my ideal Christmas, I would open the doors of my house and have around me all my family, friends, loved ones and all the people I have met this year – all those people who have encouraged me, supported me, loved me and consoled me when I thought I couldn’t cope. I would invite all those amazing people right around the country who have offered their homes, their thoughts and their generosity of spirit to me and my sons.
We are going to have fun this Christmas. I am inviting friends and family to my rented house and asking them to bring food, a merry spirit and a glad heart. We will play terrible cricket in the park across the road, laugh inanely at bad jokes, sing out-of-tune Christmas carols and provide water pistols for anyone game enough to join in a water fight. We will sit in the sun and eat and drink from my unmatched plates and mismatched glasses and not care at all.