It seems hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone and it’s already time to start packing the decorations all away. It’s always a funny feeling the day after Christmas. I always feel bittersweet. Part of me hates to see all the green and red disappear for another year and part of me wants it all gone. I want my house back to some sort of normalcy (if there is such a thing), yet I miss the ambiance and the comfort and wonder that the added lights bring. My house is always a wreck during the Christmas bustle…. a messier kitchen with endless dishes piled in the sink due to more family members being home and more food being made. Wrapping paper, bows, and boxes are strewn throughout the house.
The cats have been wild with their new toys (of course that could be due to the “wild and wacky catnip” in them). Ever try finding a cat toy without catnip? It’s not easy.
Our other cat, Dakota, is camera-shy and not an easy specimen to get a picture of. He’s very skittish and he’s afraid of my youngest son. I’m not sure if it’s my son’s tall stature or his deep voice or just the fact that he isn’t home much and Dakota hasn’t gotten to know him very well, but he stayed in his safe place much of the time when my youngest was home.
This year I put up my mother’s little artificial table top tree and it was plenty tree for me. I will leave it up until Epiphany. It’s the third time I’ve used it since her death. I first put it up in 2006, the year she died. You see, my mom died about 2 1/2 weeks before Christmas. She had been sick for over a year before that and in hospice care for 9 months. It was a difficult time. Dealing with a family member’s death is never easy, but to lose a mother right before Christmas is just plain hard. A few days after my mother died, it took a therapist to convince me that the world would not come to an end if I didn’t put up our usual family “live” Christmas tree (it was always tradition for our family to go to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our tree). It also took that same therapist to convince me that the world would not stop revolving on its axis if I didn’t send out Christmas cards that year. She convinced me wholeheartedly that I needed to give up some of the holiday stress because I was dealing with enough stress and grief over the death of my mother. How right she was. I did forego the live tree that year and I didn’t send out cards or do my usual Christmas baking and guess what? The world didn’t come to an end. I found tremendous comfort in our nativity set that year. After all, that’s what this season is all about.
I didn’t miss the putting up of the live bigger tree or the taking it down or the sweeping up of dead pine needles. And there’s something about viewing that little tree with the white lights, gold bows and gold ornaments — the same little tree that sat in my mother’s picture window for many years and the one that replaced HER larger tree when her daughters all left home. It brought me peace and comfort. I do miss the smell of a live tree so this year I burned lots of pine scented tea lights and balsam candles.
Both of our sons came home for Christmas so that was a real blessing. I know as the years go by, we probably won’t always be together at Christmastime so I will cherish the years that we’re together.
On Christmas Eve, we celebrated with my husband’s family. This year we ventured to The Hancock House for a Christmas meal. The Hancock house is a little colonial revival log house (built circa 1823). It was a stage-coach stop and later an antique establishment for 60 years before being purchased by Roberta and Carl Hancock, who have been the owners for 40 years. Roberta and Carl are gracious in their hospitality. This was my second time eating there and both meals were delicious. They set a nice table too.
After eating at The Hancock House, we went to my in-law’s house and opened gifts there.
I love the colorful ornaments on their tree. Years ago, my mother-in-law had handmade ornaments made that were created from old jewelry she had. I thought that was such a creative idea and they’re so bright and pretty.
On Christmas morning, we had our traditional Christmas brunch at my sister’s house.
My great-niece who turned one year old last week didn’t quite know what to make of all the Christmas festivities.
After returning from my sister’s house, we opened our own gifts. And then we had a relaxing day at home.
We’ve had very warm Christmas temperatures… I think it made it to 74 degrees on Christmas Day. I heard on the news we broke some sort of 123 year record for the warmest Christmas!
On Christmas night, we jumped in the car and drove around looking at Christmas lights. That’s another tradition we started when our kids came along. Most of the time, our wee ones were asleep in the back seat before we reached our favorite neighborhood with all the pretty lights so it was usually my husband and I admiring the festive scenery. I think everybody stayed awake this year.
When we got home from looking at Christmas lights, we played a card game my youngest son brought home. I had never heard of it. It was called Skip Bo and it was fun.
I watched some Christmas movies and shows this year— A Christmas Story, The Polar Express, Christmas with the Kranks, Elf, Christmas Vacation, The Homecoming (The Waltons), Prancer, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Dr. Seuss) , Jack Frost, Rudolph, and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. My goal is always to watch one Christmas movie a day in December but the hustle and bustle of the season always seems to get in the way.
Every year I try to do some Christmas related reading. I
read reread The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna by Liz Curtis Higgs.
I also read The Power of Christmas Prayer by Stormie Omartian and One Incredible Moment: Celebrating the Majesty of the Manger by Max Lucado. I enjoyed all of these books immensely. They all brought calm to my Christmas season.
Christmas shopping seemed more stress-free this year. It has taken this 57-year-old many years to realize that shopping is so much easier if you have a list in your hand and know what you are going for before you ever walk into the store. That and not to wait too long before shopping. This year I didn’t have too much of a choice on that as I was sick with some sort of respiratory bug for the three weeks after Thanksgiving that knocked me for a loop, so I got a very late start on shopping. Knowing I was getting that late start, I decided I would do a lot of my shopping on-line. But thanks to some malware, our computer went down right about that time and was down for almost 2 weeks. So much for shopping on-line this year. Our dear neighbor was nice enough to look at our computer for us and he not only looked at it, he fixed it. We are grateful for him. Santa brought a new computer so now at least we’ll have a back-up should our old one go down again. It’s a shame how dependent you get on the darn things. I truly felt out of touch with the world, especially since neither my husband or I have smart phones or do any texting (we’re not ready to move out of the Stone Age just yet). My youngest son gave me a tablet for Christmas as he remembers me telling him how lost we were without the computer, how his dad as a charge nurse, really missed it as he does his nurse’s scheduling on it, etc. I’m so technologically challenged and have a lot of reading to do!
Since our mother died, my two sisters and I always try to do a Christmas outing together. Over the years we’ve seen The Rockettes perform at the Grand Ole Opry, we’ve seen the Nutcracker ballet, been to concerts and various Christmas plays. This year we went and saw a production of A Christmas Carol.
As always, I’ve eaten way too much this year and I’m scared to even get on the scales. Boy do I ever need to change my eating habits and exercise more. Guess I need to stop talking the talk and walk the walk.
I’m definitely going to have to focus more on health this year. Having had not one parent, but two with colon cancer, I had to start having colonoscopies at age 30 and am supposed to have them every 5 years. My last one was due in 2012 and I haven’t had it yet. That’s a big no-no. My beloved G.I. doctor retired since my last one and boy oh boy do I miss that man. I decided to go with a partner of his in the practice only because I saw him on a local noon day show talking about colonoscopies and I thought he seemed really nice and knowledgeable. I’ve seen him twice, but I didn’t seem to connect with him like my previous doctor. Maybe that’s why I’ve put off the colonoscopy. I did have it scheduled for last January but got hit with a wicked Mycoplasma bug and had to cancel. Never rescheduled it. There never seems to be a “right time” to have a colonoscopy. It’s not the test I dread, but the prep. I’ve never been able to drink all the GoLYTELY before the puking begins. Never. I will schedule it for after the New Year. I know I’ll feel so much better when it’s all over and done.
So that was Christmas. My youngest has left as he had to be back at work yesterday. My oldest is still here for a while longer as he has more vacation days to take. Night before last he and I went out for a movie and saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (a prequel to the Harry Potter film series by J.K. Rowling) and stopped for a burger at Sonic on the way home. It’s always nice to spend time with both of my boys. I hope you had a good Christmas. Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.