As of yesterday, the season of Christmas is officially over until December of this year. I miss it. I love Christmas. I love buying and making presents, big get togethers, and baking, of course. So much baking.
Last year, I spent Christmas in Northern Ireland with a good friend and her family. It was the first time I’d ever been anywhere but at home for Christmas, so that was a bit strange.
This year, I looked forward immensely to seeing my whole family and doing the usual Christmas things that I missed last year. All six of the siblings in my family (plus a new in-law!) came over before Christmas for a Christmas Eve’s Eve celebration.
We did the stockings then, which was different since we normally do them Christmas evening. However, we still did the usual squish-on-the-couch routine that we’ve done ever since the littlest of us was a wee one. Mom was worried we’d break the couch. While we couldn’t all be together on Christmas day, we managed a very good Christmas Eve’s Eve, if I do say so myself.
Christmas morning felt a little more normal. The older siblings had to be dragged a bit to coerce them downstairs. Pancakes awaited us, so it was worth it. And then, the presents were exchanged. Nathan always wears his elf hat which I made him years ago. He distributes one gift at a time so we can enjoy the process and each person can see his or her present opened by its recipient. I like doing things this way a lot.
I made a few new hats for Christmas this year, being slightly shallow in the pocket from my recent travels abroad.
Nathan is probably the most fun to give gifts to because his reactions are so gratifying. I’ve never seen a child get so excited over a gigantic history book before. A day-by-day account of World War II is actually something this little guy likes! That and an air soft gun, of course. Matt figured out that a monster hat would actually suit this child well, though I’m not sure Stonewall Jackson approves…
Emily’s ukelele was a hit. As for me, I got mini pie pans, loads of decorating and baking supplies, an ice cream maker, and a snuggly bathrobe and blanket which promptly put me to sleep for a good part of the morning.
As of late, our family has begun to spend a lot more time out at the new family farm. There was snow there that actually stuck, so it was pleasantly pretty. I can endure cold so long as there is also snow. And I don’t have to drive in it.
A beautiful evening walk in the snow offered lovely views of the house. I love the illusion of being in a winter wonderland, isolated from the rest of the world. The cows added a nice touch to the landscape for my photographic needs. The next day, we tried to make friends with the cows, but they would have none of us, no matter how much we attempted to assimilate into the herd.
We also went sledding. My brother Timothy promptly smashed his chin into a water pump, but we found a better hill with no water pumps to halt the fun so abruptly. (Timothy is doing fine)
Slightly melted and frozen over snow made for a slick, glorious ride down the long, steep hill. Sledding is good exercise, too, what with all the hiking back up the hill to go just one more time. I anticipate many more winters sledding down that hill. Hopefully without any water pump or similarly concluded incidents.
I will never claim to love winter in and of itself – I’m too cold-blooded! – but I appreciate that the cold darkness of winter is illuminated by Christmas lights and sledding adventures. I might even admit that it’s worth the icy weather.