Christmas has come and gone...
It was a good one. Not too crazy, not too glitzy. Circumstances dictated a scaled down holiday in the gift department, but that kind of fit with my own head this year. I didn't miss the crush of shoppers, the doubt that accompanies handing over money for something that may or may not be wanted or needed, or the madness that seems to strike the day after Thanksgiving.
Instead, I concentrated on the real reason for the season. We did limited shopping for the Angel Tree, having chosen three children. We donated sweatshirts and socks to the homeless shelter/mission downtown. There were gifts for family but many of them were handmade rather than bought. Books rounded out much of the rest of our Christmas.
There was church. I lectored at both Christmas Eve services, so attended both. The early service was for children, who each got a piece of the nativity as they came in. We sang those beautiful carols, the kids built the nativity (though Fr. R pulled the wisemen out, explaining that they weren't supposed to arrive until the 6th). The altar, which had loooked a bit over blown in the light of day, was soft and welcoming in the light of evening and candles. The sermon was short but sweet, informing us that when God became man, he took up residence in each of our hearts as well. If we ever went looking for God, all we had to do was search our own hearts. It was beautiful.
I had to leave in the middle of the later service. The incense was broken out and swinging and smoking its way down the aisle and I knew I was in trouble. Even since I quit smoking (can it really be 8 years now?) I've been super sensitive to any kind of smoke or particulate matter in the air. I got through my reading, feeling the itch and closing-off sensation the whole time. I got through the sermon aimed at adults, but that's about as far as I got. I had to leave. It's kind of ironic, as I've always loved when the incense was used. The smell is wonderful, but I just can't handle the smoke of it anymore.
Christmas morning was lovely. The pile under the tree was quite small (and mostly for Kylee), but we loved the gifts we gave and received. The frivolous gift this year for my son was a pan-pipe. He had spotted it in Ten Thousand Villages (a fair market store) and fell in love with it. Darling Man went back and got it later and the Boy was so thrilled when he unwrapped it. Then we plugged YouTube into our TV and watched Zamphir videos for a bit so he could get an idea of what a pan-pipe is capable of. Of course, it's very difficult to play, which might explain why Zamphir is the only player anyone can ever think of when asked for pan-pipe musicians!
And then there was food. I hosted my in-laws, my stepson and his family, my brother Jerry and my parents. 11 people in my not-so-big house. Mom and Dad brought a few extra chairs and a card table which I put with mine and wound up with two tables seating six people each (I hate being crowded at the table - better to spread out a bit). I cooked a turkey in the Nu-Wave oven, Darling Man made pies and peeled potatoes while I ran around tidying up and pushing furniture around. Mom brought some mac & cheese, a green bean casserole (but not that usual one), some brownies and left over ham and a sweeet potato casserole. We baked frozen biscuits from Harvey's as our rolls. I also made a chocolate bread pudding. It was a feast, but there wasn't much left over at the end. I boxed much of the leftovers up and sent them home with my stepson.
There was a brief gift exchange during which Kylee really raked it in. Little stuff, but lots of packages. And then people started leaving. When the door closed behind the last guest, exhaustion came rolling over me in waves. I sat down and put my feet up and we just hung out for the rest of the evening. Ten o'clock saw us all in our beds. Darling Man was already snoozing. The Boy was playing on his computer (laptop) before turning out the light, and I read a little but my eyes were so heavy, it didn't last long.
Another Christmas come and gone. It was a good one. I think we're finally getting down to doing it right.