I love Christmas. I mean I really really love Christmas - or rather the holiday season in general. I love the period of time betwen Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love everything about it, the preparations, decorations, even the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking and baking. I especially love the time spent with family.
It begins just before Thanksgiving for me. I put my tree up and decorate inside and out the week before Thanksgiving, but I don't light anything until Thanksgiving day. It's become a tradition for me. I used to decorate the day after Thanksgiving, but since my family doesn't spend Christmas day at my home and they are here for Thanksgiving, I decided to do it before.
This year, I decided to have my traditional Christmas Eve supper the Sunday before. Partly because we spend Christmas Eve with my brothers and sister and this year my sister decided to have it earlier than the usual six thirty, seven pm time. It made more sense since we always serve food - we alternate the day between us, by the way-so this left little time to have our dinner. The other reason I decided to have it the Sunday before is because most of children couldn't join us for dinner on Christmas Eve. This worked out so much better this year. I love being surrounded by my children and grandchildren. Unfortunately there were still a few who couldn't join us. I guess that's always going to happen, but most of them were there. It made for a much more relaxing day. We had all day to enjoy each other's company and didn't have to rush to clean up after dinner and hurry off like we usually do on Christmas Eve. Not only was that day and dinner more relaxing, Christmas Eve itself was more relaxing. I didn't spend the day in the kitchen cooking like I usually do and I had plenty of time to get ready to go. No cleanup, no muss, no fuss.
Christmas Day we spent at my son's this year. It's nice not having to prepare dinner for everyone. Usually, I pay for the main course and everyone brings a dish to share. It works out well. This year, my son bought and paid for the main course, so I brought a dish to share. Well, two actually. I made noodles from a recipe my mother in law gave me and my kids love and homemade cranberry sauce. Again, it was a relaxing, but fun filled, noisy day.
Since my son's home is on the small side, we had to open gifts in shifts - the young children first, then the older children and finally the adults. I love the joking and teasing that goes on between the family. We're a large family and our get togethers are very loud. Someone once called us obnoxious. Maybe we are, but we enjoy it.
There's always a let down feeling when the day is over, or maybe it's more of a sadness. The long awaited day is over. In another week or so, everyone will have their trees down, outdoor lights will no longer be lit. The cheeriness of the season will be gone. The anticipation of the day will pass and the long winter doldrums of January will set in with only Spring and Summer to look forward to. Days, weeks, and months will pass slowly. The fun and activity of the holiday season will turn into memories.
Maybe it's because I'm getting older and I know my days are numbered that I feel this more so this year. I look back on Christmases past and remember the fun we had when I was a child and the Christmases when my children were young. Thank God, I still have enough young grandchildren to still enjoy.
I love Christmas and I guess I always will.