It’s been a quiet Christmas around here, and that’s a nice thing after the frantic activity of the last few weeks.
We stayed home rather than head out east to see my side of the family, and Kim’s side of the family decided to celebrate on the Ukrainian calendar this year so we’re good until January. It was just the four of us, then, together.
We’d gotten things ready, because that’s what you do no matter how many other things you have to do. There was baking to be done – mounds of pizzelles, among other things. They make the season smell right.
And there was a tree to decorate. It’s nice to have children old enough to decorate unsupervised and young enough to want to do so. We cut our own tree on the 15th, brought it in and got it into the stand, dragged up the boxes of ornaments and other such things from the basement, attached the lights, and stepped back. At that point Tabitha and Lauren took over and decorated the tree within an inch of its life – up to and including peacock feathers, which I am fairly sure is an innovation though for all I know I just hadn’t been paying attention before – and it looks lovely.
Of course, there were a few moments in there not directed entirely toward tree decorating. You have to have those.
We spent our Christmas Eve getting things ready for our celebration. There were gifts to be wrapped and last minute items to be purchased (it’s not really Christmas unless you’re out there on the 23rd or 24th looking for something, after all) and even though I spent most of it hobbling around like a running back on a Monday morning it all got done. Mostly by Kim, it must be admitted - my usefulness has been rather limited of late. But it got done.
There was then Skypage, as we opened gifts with my side of the family.
And then: food. One of the traditions we’ve managed to keep up is the Italian call for an odd number of kinds of fish on Christmas Eve. We don’t do the full seven kinds that my grandmother did, and we stick to shellfish these days since the only person in this house who will actually eat scale fish is Kim, but it counts. Plus, just as they are old enough to decorate the tree, so too are the girls old enough to help in the kitchen. With all four of us in there, it took less than an hour to get dinner onto the table.
We even made it to the late service down at our church, much to the surprise of the minister. He was gracious, though. Christmas is a gracious time. He keeps inviting us to come more often, and someday surely we will do so.
Christmas Eve is the big holiday. Christmas Day is sort of anticlimactic, really. We had a good time opening gifts in the morning, and there is a nice dinner about to be set out onto the table now, but in between the motif was “do as little as humanly possible, for it is a Holiday.”
I like those holidays.
I like this holiday.
It is a season of hope, and don’t we all need that now.