I'm nothing if not consistant in my procrastinating, so here's a somewhat belated Christmas edition of Max and Juno's usual shenanigans. This time involving some dabbles with STOPMOTION! 😱😍
(I used the 'OSnap'
app to make them and EZgif
to turn them into gifs before anyone asks.)
Another year gone, another Christmas edging closer and closer until, wham, there's only a week to go and nothing about the house is even remotely festive. And so it was with Max and Juno, rushing around to stock up on supplies and dredge the Cardboard Box Of All Things Christmassy out of the loft. Their only real display of festive cheer were their (not so) ugly Christmas jumpers, which, frankly, Juno would wear the hell out of at any given time of the year if Max didn't do her best to hide them after January.
'Oh god, how is there more in here than last year?' said Max, frowning. 'I remember buying new lights but I'm sure we didn't have that many ornaments!'
After a quick jumper change due to an incident with Baxter and some spilled hot chocolate, they hung up the cards in front of the fireplace (which seemed like a far better option than on the mantelpiece, where they'd knocked some of them off several times whilst walking past) then got stuck into the box of seasonal joy and entertainment.
'It's going to take forever to untangle all this - why didn't we put it away properly last year?!'
'Max, I'm pretty sure your exact words last year were 'don't worry about the tinsel, Juno, it won't take long to sort out next time'
The humbug was unspoken, but strongly implied.
Juno stifled a laugh. The silent 'I told you so' felt great.
'Well while you're tying yourself in knots, I'll make a start on the rest.'
Juno selected a few choice decorations to arrange, along with their only remaining paper chain, made from recycled wrapping paper the year before; most of which was now lost to Baxter's unyielding curiosity and astonishingly robust digestive system.
'Careful up there' said Max, distracted from her tinsel by the sight of Juno reaching for the highest point of the wall she could reach, 'that sofa isn't exactly sturdy!'
'Pffft, I'm fine, and if I do fall I'll have a soft landing...or you'll catch me...right?'
After a good hour or two spent reminiscing on Christmases past, discussing the difficulty of attaching flimsy paper ornaments to solid brick and much drinking of chocolate, the living room was mostly complete.
Max had found an amazing piece of taxidermy at a car boot sale for a fiver a few weeks before, and knew the stag's head would look perfect above the fireplace, especially adorned with baubles for the occasion. Juno was less impressed, as it totally ruined her original plans for the mantelpiece, but reluctantly agreed that it did look pretty damn awesome in context.
With the fire crackling happily in the stove, there was only one thing left to decorate.
After doing battle with the lights and the tinsel, Max stood back to take in her work.
'It was really good of your mum to give us her old artificial tree this year. The prices for real ones have gone up so much!'
Juno nodded, tutting.
'Tell me about it - fifty quid for a scraggly old pine that'll probably drop its needles before the 25th? No thanks! I still prefer a real tree though, artificial ones just aren't the same, but I can't exactly complain about this one, what with it being free and all. I just wish it didn't look quite so...'
'Yeah. Still, I bet if we cover it up with shiny things we'll stop noticing it'
'Gotcha, I'll get the box!'
As ever the decorations were a real mix of old and new - many of them were from an old set that had once belonged to Juno's grandmother, and were so incredibly twee and tacky that despite loathing that kind of thing with a vengeance, it just wouldn't be Christmas without them, so on they went.
'Well, what do you think?'
'I think it's time we got all this stuff tidied up and put away properly - tinsel included'
'Oh you're so lucky I love you, babe. I never want to so much as look at tinsel ever again after all that but if you insist!'
'I do. I'll put the kettle on...'
The act of gift wrapping was less of a priority this year.
Both Max and Juno had agreed not to buy each other anything expensive as they were saving for more furniture and things for the house, so presents this year were distinctly cheap and/or foodie. Baxter was the exception though, and there were plenty of new toys and treats for him under the tree. Well, not all physically under the tree - they'd learned that was a mistake last year after the Rawhide Incident.
They were still finding pieces...
The remaining week was cold and frosty; proper wintery weather, but no sign of snow just yet.
At last, the day dawned. Chocolate was eaten, gifts were exchanged, and in Baxter's case, destroyed within minutes.
As per tradition, they all spent the afternoon with Juno's parents. Max had tried to get her mum and stepdad involved again this year, but as usual, her invitation was ignored, so instead they stuffed themselves full of turkey, roast veggies and as many pigs in blankets as they could eat before Baxter noticed them, followed up by a terrible karaoke session to the cheesiest of Christmas songs, and a good time was had by all.
Boxing day brought food hangovers and...more interestingly, a touch of snow!
'Well, it's a day late, but I can't say I'm not pleased to see it!'
'White Boxing Day' doesn't quite have the same ring to it though somehow and it's more of a skiffing than an actual snow day...'
Baxter didn't particularly care about the date, he was far more interested in how much the landscape changed with all this cold stuff everywhere, particularly on the smell front.
To their delight, a few days later they finally got the White Christmas they'd been hoping for, albeit not on the day itself. Baxter was excited beyond belief so they headed out for a walk. Despite the snow, there was no breeze and the temperature was surprisingly mild.
Whilst they were otherwise occupied, Baxter ran on ahead. He just loved snow.
Eventually they noticed he was no longer running around under their feet and rushed off to find him, bumping into a few of their friends on the way. They hadn't known Cassie all that long, but she was a regular at Deja Brew and they'd struck up conversation over a plate of muffins one afternoon and that was that.
She was on her way to a friend's so after the usual 'Merry Christmas/you too' conversations, they let her go, just in time to bump into another couple of familiar faces.
'Oh hey guys, are you out with Baxter?' Aiden said, Jonas giving a halfhearted wave next to him as they approached. 'Jonas said he thought he saw him just there, but didn't think it could have been as you weren't with him'
Jonas nodded. 'Yeah, he seemed pretty hyper...'
Juno bit her lip sheepishly.
'Uh yeah, we got a little...distracted. Did you see which way he went?'
Aiden rolled his eyes and gestured vaguely.
'Over there maybe? I'm not gonna lie, I'm just guessing - Jonas was the only one who actually saw him.'
Jonas shrugged, a half smile flickering on his lips. 'Yeah, that sounds about right. Oh hey, I uhh, I'm not technically working this week but if you guys fancy a coffee or something, there's a really good seasonal staff discount at Deja Brew! I probably shouldn't be telling you that, but you know, it's Christmas and everything.'
Jonas was one of the baristas, and his quiet, soft spoken mannerisms were in huge contrast to the often decidedly extroverted ones of his boyfriend.
'So yeah, umm, just tell whoever's on the counter that day that I sent you, and that the super secret code is 'Espresso Patronum' and you'll get 20% off. I think Carmen's working the festive shift so she'll sort you out.'
'Oh wow, thanks Jonas, that's awesome, thank you! I've been meaning to try out the 'Winter Warmer' hot chocolate...also A+ on the Potter reference'
'Yeah, that's amazing, thanks!' gushed Juno, clapping her hands with joy. 'Oh and I love your jumpers guys, where did you-'
'Nope' sad Max, taking her by the shoulders and turning her around, 'we're not going there, you've got enough, Ju!'
'Lies. You can never have too many jumpers. Never!'
The mock argument continued as they searched for Baxter, eventually finding him snuffling amongst what must have been a particularly whiffy pile of snow.
The war for The Right To Own All The Jumpers continued and a snowball fight ensued...
Juno didn't gloat about her win too much (lies) but they called a truce long enough to finish building a snowman together...
...which unfortunately didn't last long...
'Oh god, Baxter, no!'
'Oh my god, you are the worst dog. Why would you do that?!'
Baxter just wagged his tail and trotted on ahead, infinitely pleased with himself. They'd spent ages making it, so it was only fair he left his own mark on it, #doglogic
They continued walking down the road until a familiar voice alerted them to the presence of Lexi; Max's younger half-sister.
She'd texted them earlier on in the hope of a meetup between Christmas and Hogmanay, and that afternoon was the only time they could manage it with one thing or another.
'Max! Juno! Baxter! Hi!'
She wasn't easily missed, decked out in the cosiest, most fabulously sparkly unicorn onesie imaginable.
'I can't stay long I'm afraid, Mum wants me home to help make food for the big stupid Hogmanay party she's hosting and I only just managed to escape for a few minutes!'
'I take it you like your present then?' said Max, nodding towards the onesie as she enveloped her sister in a hug. 'It was so hard not to spoil the surprise!'
'I LOVE it, thanks sis! Opening it was hilarious, you should have seen Mum's face!' She paused at the look on Max's own and her smile dropped. 'Sorry Max, I shouldn't have said that, I-'
Max shook her head, her smile fixed and unconvincing. 'Nah, don't worry about it, it's fine, I know what she's like.'
'I'm really glad you like it though, I was so worried they'd have sold out by the time I ordered it! Is it warm enough? It didn't seem that thick when I wrapped it...'
Lexi grinned. 'Oh it's toasty, don't worry. Besides, I got a whole set of thermals from Grandma - tights, tops, underwear, socks - the full works, including a couple of jumpers, so I won't be freezing any time soon!'
'Jumpers, eh?' Juno asked innocently. 'Would you say you've got...enough of those?'
Lexi laughed. 'Of course not, it's bloody freezing, I need all the jumpers I can get!'
Her phone buzzed in her pocket and she withdrew it with a frown. 'Urgh, I've gotta go, something about preparing some truffles or something? Urghhhhh. It's been great seeing you guys though, can we have a proper catch up soon? Maybe a coffee or pizza night or something? My treat?'
She hugged them both, ruffled Baxter's fur and trudged off in the direction of home. As they watched her go, Juno leaned in close to her girlfriend and whispered.
'See? There's no such thing as too many jumpers, even your sister agrees!'
Max said nothing, only choosing to fix Juno with an incredulous stare as she gave her a playful shove.
The snow wasn't as firm as she'd assumed however, and the pair lost their footing a few seconds in, landing with a crunch.
'Ohhhhh my god, that's so cold!'
'Well, it is snow, babe, it kinda has to be.'
'It's soaking through my leggings, oh my goooodddddd'
'No sympathy, you brought it all on yourself.'
'You pushed me'
'I don't control gravity'
Juno pouted and muttered 'I'll control your gravity'
Max chuckled and leaned in closer.
'Are you saying you're the Earth to my Moon? Just two celestial bodies deeply attracted to each other?'
Juno groaned and rolled her eyes. 'Oh my god you're the worst, that was the actual worst line.' She shuddered and brushed snow from her legs. 'My celestial body is more like the planet Pluto right now, billions of miles from the sun and deprived of any warmth'
'We've been through this, Pluto isn't technically a planet any more, I know we still aren't over it, but...'
'Don't you dare take Pluto away from me, just because it's tiny doesn't mean its any less important!'
Max chuckled and got to her feet, shedding lumps of snow from every surface. She held her hand out to Juno, who shook her head.
'I was going to get up but seeing as I'm already soaked, I've always wanted to do this!
After making a fairly decent snow angel and accidentally getting snow down her boots during the process, she got to her feet rather quickly.
'Brrrrrrrrrrr, ok but seriously though, I think my arse is going numb, these leggings are not as insulated as they were supposed to be!'
'Alright, let's head home. Need me to warm you up?'
Once they'd extracted Baxter from another pile of snow, the journey home was far less eventful, and with the fire on and a nice comfy sofa to curl up in, they soon found themselves dozing off later that evening.
But...not before the sofa turned into something of a battleground...
(It was too big to gif apparently 😒)
So, anyway, it's a belated Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmany from me, and the same from these guys!
There will be more stopmotions at some point soon, and with NaMoPaiMo
looming, you'll see model horse posts with more regularity as well.