I love Christmas time with its bright lights, mistletoe, carols of peace and scents of kitchen baking. Our internet connection hasn't been working at home for awhile but finally, with the holiday just over the horizon, I am able to share a small part of our world.
There was a late November day when my husband and son climbed 'up on the housetop' to string Christmas lights; their afternoon dotted with warmth and an azure sky. Little did they know that several storms would ensue such as today's blizzard, raging against a steel-gray sky. It was a day set to a slow-paced tempo as unsolicited help climbed the ladder to join them...
My daughter and two of her friends joined Santa (disguised beneath his beard as their classmate, Wes) after an early morning round with the ACT. They murmured Christmas wishes beneath sleepy eyes and taxed minds then began their own shopping for those on their lists...
Late nights have been the norm as finals loomed close, presents were wrapped and oblivious basketball games pursued their harried schedule. Friends spent the night when ice storms stranded them at our house, yet there were always ways to find entertainment! Midnight gigglers hoped and watched for signs that school would be canceled for the day (no such luck...just a two-hour delay)!
Sledding parties in sub-freezing temps and fresh, white powder scooped from drifts for making snow ice cream were part of our white December. Laughter and teasing, music and singing filled the air as plans were made and cold winds blew outside our snug, little home.
Dough was made, chilled and rolled for sugar cookies as four sets of hands cut reindeer, stockings, bells and stars. Though a fresh batch of dough was needed before the final results (!), memories of floured fingers and snatches of cookie dough will fill their hearts in the days to come.
Decorations went up as little trees filled each room: white lights and silver bulbs on the 3-foot white tree, gold spun around greenery with old-fashioned ornaments and memory-filled trimmings that adorned one downstairs. Garland and Santas, snowmen and greenery became commonplace along stairways and doorways as elves poked their faces around every turn.
With days filled to overflowing and nights just too short, we didn't get "the tree" until just last week. Though I love the perfection of the artificial trees, nothing can compete with the aroma and stature of a real tree filling the house. I have never "not" had a live tree. As a child we would cut down cedars from the pasture and throughout my adolescence and into my adulthood, a true evergreen always held the place of honor in our home. This year we were a bit industrious, choosing a tree of great proportions. Even my 6'2" son had to stand on the couch to put on the star! It's berth gives its height great competition and we have picked it up off the floor on more than one occasion after a tumble from the stand! But with its arrival and its presence, it is now officially "Christmas".
The shopping is all but finished and though I am behind on my baking and cards, I am thrilled to have time off from the busy-ness of school to relax and enjoy the beauty of this season.
It was wonderful to wake up today, knowing that there was no place I needed to be but home and nothing that had to be done. There is great comfort and peace in that.
So with just a few gifts to be wrapped I can leisurely catch up with family and friends as I write out my annual greetings. "White Christmas", "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Holiday Inn" are on the agenda for the days ahead, a visit to my Mom and Dad's and friends over for Christmas dinner. With more family coming in a week and more memories to be made, I am more aware than ever of the blessings I've been given. And even though a storm throws its tantrum outside my window, in its absence it will leave a white palette of beauty that will sparkle and shine.
May your days, too, be merry and bright...