I’ve been reading quite a few blogs over the past few days, and the general consensus seems to be that this holiday season has become anything but peaceful. “Crazy ideas of a perfect Christmas” is how one blogger describes her preparations. “Worst traits of humanity” is how another blogger observes the shoppers. “Madness that are the weeks leading up to Christmas” is how another blogger sums up her last week of activity.
I’m a perfectionist to the nth degree in many things. I have the potential on any given day to detail something to death. And sometimes I do. This is balanced at Christmas, quite thankfully I must say, by the fact that I am not a shopper, and I really don’t like to cook all that much. It has simplified the Christmas holiday immensely.
So while others are rampaging through the stores for yet another gift to add to the pile under the tree, I have placed just one. It is a power tool for my Spousal Unit. And I didn’t even have to buy it. He had been looking for this particular tool for months, and when he found it, he bought it. Then he gave it to me and said, “Put it away, and give it to me for Christmas.” (He must have anticipated this post by Robert Fulghum: Tools.) He, in turn, has placed one gift under the tree for me. I bought it some while back because it was exactly what I wanted. I gave it to him to put away for me for Christmas. This has become a tradition. You might think this takes a lot of the surprise out of gift giving. But some days I forget what I was heading to another room to get, so it is not hard to forget about a gift that was bought some time ago…
By the front door there is a gift for the neighbour who lives nearest to us. We aren’t close friends, but we know we can depend on each other to be there when a neighbour is exactly who you need. They always give us a box of fine chocolates. We always give them a bottle of good wine. This is a tradition.
By the front door there is a small pile of gifts that will go to our daughters house on Christmas Eve. Two of the gifts are for the people whose names we drew in the family draw. The rest are small bits and bobs that will be put in each persons stocking. We’ll spend Christmas Eve at someones house. It varies from year to year. We always go home early, and then listen to Christmas music and watch Santa’s progress on the NORAD radar site. It’s become a tradition.
On Christmas Day we will go to our daughters house. Our children and grandchildren will be there. We might or might not have dinner with them, depending on what their plans are that year. Wherever dinner is, it won’t involve a turkey or a ham, and it won’t take very long to make. This is our Christmas Day tradition.
On Boxing Day, we will have a large gathering at the Red House. Our parents, our children, our grandchildren, and assorted others (this part of the list changes a bit from year to year) will arrive with bowls of food to round out the menu for this festive meal. We will cook a turkey and a ham. The turkey will always take longer to cook than I had forecast, and I will be a bit peeved at the bird for that. The Spousal Unit will look after the ham, which usually upstages the turkey. A son-in-law will make the gravy. It will simmer away on the stove for much of the afternoon. I will have baked row after row of gingerbread men (or maybe hedgehogs this year because the “man” cutter has gone missing). Everyone will spend the afternoon personalizing the cookies with icing and candies. Each family will have one little gift to give to the grandparents, usually food related. This is a tradition.
And that is it. Just enough preparations to make Christmas a special holiday. Not so much preparation that the Peaceful part is gone.
I can’t end this post without sending you to this wonderful post by Robert Fulghum: Christmas Explained to an Anxious Heathen
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”