Monday, December 24, 2007

Of Christmas past... and future

It is Christmas Eve, and I am about to get ready for our tradition of dressing up and going out to eat Chinese Food. A new tradition, but a fun one that Oscar and I came up with to celebrate the holidays together.

I reflect back to the things that made my holidays the best times of the year, and each memory is of being together, and not of presents and purchases. I remember the fun of having my dad home from work more, and that in and of itself was one of the biggest treats.

We would go out together to find the perfect tree each year-almost always a Frasier Fur; tall, fat, lots of strong branches and smelling just like Christmas should. We would decorate it together, and invariably I would clump all the tinsel together into one big mass that would drive my parents to distraction. Little did they know that I enjoyed irking them on this one, predictable activity... I am not proud of it, but I am a tease.

There was always baking, and I must say I got pretty good at it after a few years of making rum cake, raspberry-almond thumb-prints, molasses cookies, the required M&M cookies for my brother (he shares my excessive sweet-tooth) and other assorted delights. Dad would get to making our favorite foods through out the holiday season, and I loved the way his traditional New England baked beans (made in a REAL baked bean pot) made the whole house smell delicious.

Mom has a flair for decorating that balances whimsy and style, without EVER traipsing into the realm of tacky. Her best season is Christmas, and the house shines with Carolers, greens, flowers, and other artistic crafts that represent all that is wonderful about the winter holidays. She used to make a pot of the best smelling stuff, put to simmer on the stove that smelled of cinnamon, oranges and other aromatics that added that final touch to the holiday spirit. It was the complete picture when she was through.

We would spend the time in the family room in front of the huge wood stove that Dad packed with logs to make the whole house warm. They put up with my desire to watch EVERY Christmas special, no matter how cloying or annoying, and before it was time to go to bed we got together for my dad to read "Twas' the Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve (it never gets old, really. I wish I was listening to it now...).

The season was great because we spent it together. So if you are worried about what you bought each other for Christmas, or if it is good enough, trust me, it is just fine as long as you make the most of your time off from work, and your time together.

Make your own traditions, wish for peace, bring joy to the world (or just your part of it), love each other a little more, and have a wonderful Holiday Season!

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