Happy Holidays, for those who celebrated! We all got nestled in our beds by about 11 Christmas Eve, making sure to leave some goodies for Santa on the kitchen table:
We were up before the sun, the kids woke up first, ran down to make sure Santa had come, and then ran back up to report to us. Golfer, who had been over to his cousins the night before, remarked that even though Santa had been here, we still had less presents under our tree after Santa came than his cousins did under there tree even before Santa. It’s tough to explain presents (or lack thereof) in economic terms to a 10 year old, but we tried. “Christmas is about giving, it’s about love and family!” we told him. His look let us know he didn’t really agree.
But a happy time was had by everyone, we were left with an explosion of wrapping paper and discarded boxes in our living room, and kids scattered to the four corners each to play with their own toys.
I spent lots of time in the kitchen, preparing for the Christmas feast. I love everything about the holidays, but this ritual is my favorite. I put on my little apron and begin to create the holiday staples: cinnamon rolls, roast, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, rolls, sweet potatoes, peach cobbler, and candied carrots.
When I’m elbow deep in bread dough, kneading and punching it, I feel like I’m welcoming in all the women who came before me in my family. I think about my spunky great grandma, who lived long enough to know Naturalist, and who I adored. I think about my dad’s mom, who lived long enough to see me into college. And I think about my mom’s mom, who passed away from cancer when I was barely 2. Maybe because I have so few memories of her (eating apples and cinnamon oatmeal at her table is one), I think about her a lot. Many of our staples have come from her cookbook, and I know that she was doing the same things at Christmas for my mom that I am doing now for my family. I hope my thoughts welcome them all into our home, in one form or another, as these amazing women are the foundation of everything I am.
And that’s kind of what Christmas means to me…creating traditions and memories that will last throughout our lives, no matter where my kids end up, or what happens to me. I love that part of celebrating together! I know that years down the line, when they’re baking cinnamon rolls or playing games or something, they’ll think of me and I’ll be with them even if I’m not.
And, the large family gathering–some years we’re close together, and some years we’re spread apart. This is one of those years when all 4 of my siblings (and all the cousins…it seems our family grows exponentially!) are close by:
And of course I can’t forget all the holiday hugs:
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