So there was Christmas, which was relaxing and great fun, because I genuinely do enjoy spending Christmas with my family. Not least because of the comforting predictability of it. There was one major deviation from tradition this year, however: for the first time my sister and I didn't have Christmas stockings. Now, okay, for the last 6 years or so I've felt faintly silly that despite being 20something I'm still hanging a stocking up for Father Christmas (even though we no longer make more than a token ironic pretence at believing in the bearded Coca-Cola-advertising icon); but my sister and I have always got up early (or at least earlier than my parents) to open the presents in our stockings, and it's something that has always made me smile, and has always made me feel a little bit of magic despite all my cynicism. Ah well. This too will pass. My main regret, though, really, was that I didn't know until I got home that my parents weren't planning to do stockings -- if I'd known, I'd've at least done one for my sister. (And I probably will next year. It's so much fun buying those sort of little bits and pieces for people!)
I'm not going to list all my Christmas presents here, because while I like lists of things (particularly when, in some small way, they provide snapshots of people) it seems somehow a bit mercenary to say "I got all this STUFF!" when what I really want to say is "lots of people whom I love gave me things that made me happy, but none of those things are as important as the relationships". So, there, I've said that instead. (Also, if I try to produce an exhaustive list, I worry that I'll miss something and offend somebody.)
After Christmas, addedentry came to stay for a few days, which was lovely, and meant that he got a chance to meet my parents (okay, so he's met my dad before, in the context of being lectured by him on Information Science, but that's not really the same) and my sister (who was as amicably unimpressed as she has been by all my boyfriends). I don't place great importance on the meeting-the-parents thing, to be honest, but it's always interesting to see somebody you know in the context of friendship through the filter of family. We also ventured up to Leicester to meet hoiho (who bestowed an enormous boxful of presents on me), burkesworks, and Tez's friend Maureen, but sadly not the expected juggzy, who was suffering Car Problems on the M40. SMSes were exchanged about hoovering, cat vomit, and beer; then a quantity of perry was drunk on her behalf, and so, ultimately, were we.
From Leicestershire it was back to Cambridge to drop off luggage and say an all-too-brief hello to sion_a, before dashing off to London... and then there was a New Year party, which was bizarre and great fun, involving as it did two good parties. First up was the party which addedentry and his housemates were hosting, the highlights of which were a host of lovely LiveJournallers, some hasty home-made paper-chains, and lots of folk music. I attempted to sing "Crazyman Michael" and then realised I couldn't remember the rest of the words at the crucial point, resorting to summarising the end prosaically as "He kills her by accident, he goes mad. Sucks to be in a folk song." I really must actually learn the words some time.
Eventually the horde of LJers decided to leave, and after trying in vain to persuade them to stay (even contemplating kidnapping miss_newham), I switched tactics and persuaded addedentry to switch parties mid-stream. Accordingly, we left the Greenwich party in the capable hands of housemates, collected a slightly bemused hairyears who had just arrived, waved goodbye to even more bemused people, and hopped on the unfortunately-not-yet-free Tube to Stratford, where tjej and others awaited us. Here, the musical mood persisted; show tunes were sung (tjej, bluedevi, kesstrel, norantiskitchen and myself were the main culprits), recorders were played, and a good time was (hopefully) had by all.
Then last night there was New Year again, or rather it was enthusiastically re-toasted (with, variously, deferred champagne, water, and sticky toffee pudding tea) by myself, addedentry, jiggery_pokery, dezzikitty, wednesdayschild, and two other people who looked similar to one another, but of whom I can't remember which one is meant to be kept anonymous. I guess you had to be there.
I'm glad to have seen the New Year in surrounded by a) music, which is something on which I want to spend more time and effort, and b) new friends (at least, I hope I may call them that). I just hope I haven't neglected my existing friends too much in favour of the new.