Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rambling thoughts on the Holidays

This may be somewhat disjointed and a bit more personal than usual, but... I guess I'm just having a few thoughts about the holidays.

It's been an interesting week. We didn't officially close the tree farm on the 17th, as planned, because the weather was so nasty in the preceding weeks and we wanted to be sure people who had tagged trees would have a chance to pick them up. We're closed now, though and I suspect as I type, my DH is out gathering up all the directional signs on the surrounding roads which lead people here. So, now with 2 days left, we can try to prepare for our holiday!

While I was out delivering soap on Thursday, Bob and the kids (Rob and his friend) cut a tree and had it ready for me to decorate when I returned. The wonderful aroma of the concolor fir almost knocked me over when I came in! They also cleared the dining room table, changed the tablecloth and put out a few of our treasured holiday knick knacks... At least the house is beginning to look like Christmas and I must say, it is beautiful!

We (our family) have decided to do handmade gifts this year. I thought that would make the gift-giving easier, but as Christmas eve approaches, I'm not really ready at all. I have acquired most of what I need to make the things I want to, but... time is getting short. And I've been planning to bake some goodies for days now, but there was that soap to be made (finished now) and the orders to get out - oh, and the phone to be answered, etc, etc...

I may sound like I am complaining, but I'm not. As Rob has grown, the pressure to have the "perfect Christmas" has been released and I am basically "going with the flow". What gets done, gets done. Christmas will come and it will be wonderful and full of love and laughter whether all the little details are perfect or not.

Every year, at some point I think, "well, this isn't so bad, I'm not going to gain any weight this year. I'm not baking and we don't seem to be eating so much junk." And then it begins... friends, neighbors and some of our lovely customers bring food... cookies, candy and (thank heavens this year) fruit. We begin eating.... Then our family round of birthdays start and celebratory cakes and wonderful meals become de riguer(?). Rob has been home and his friend, Julia, is staying with us for a few days and, naturally, that calls for a few delicious, but calorie laden restaurant meals. And it goes on....

I begin to feel bloated and think, "Well, Christmas is almost here and we'll be able to stop this insanity as soon as it is over." But then I remember our New Years' extravaganza which usually involves a feast of seafood and more desserts! And, of course, the pork and sauerkraut dinner we MUST eat for luck on New Year's Day.

I thought, since it was a full moon solstice, it would be fun to do something special this year - like a big bonfire up on the hill to welcome the return of the sun... Well, not only time, but Mother Nature refused to comply on that one and it was an ugly rainy night. I should have at least lit a candle!

I've always enjoyed having lots of people around. Before I became all-consumed in motherhood, our house was like Grand Central. When we flew balloons, it was the gathering place before and after flights. Lots of laughter, people, excitement. Even when Rob was young - after the initial shock of having an infant in the house passed, we were still a gathering point.

There were a number of major life changes going on here too that just somehow made us more insular and not as social or a whole lot of fun to be around. But, we were still the place where everyone came for holidays.

After a few kinda sad scattered years, we have almost all become much closer as a result of Mom's passing and now John's medical challenges. It's really interesting and fun to have sort of an open door policy around here again. I've always heard of other families that adopt other people into their circle. For some reason, the generation before ours didn't seem to warm to that idea. Holidays were for family - period. If we brought friends in, it was always a bit uncomfortable. Well, things have changed and I love it!

Rob brings friends around. They join us at our get-togethers and seem to enjoy our aging but wacky, rollicking banter. Sometimes I feel like a way station - a safe house for traveling college age kids - and that's a good thing. We need their youthful infusion and Molly, the youngest free spirit around here, needs someone who doesn't speak "60's"! Julia, whose parents live in Brazil, has been with us for a few days and is leaving today for Chicago to spend Christmas with "real" family. Sonny should be arriving soon and he will be staying with us until school starts in January.

Since John has moved up with Tina, one of his friends in particular seems to have adopted us. He joined our "workforce" one weekend during tree season and seemed to really enjoy all the hustle and bustle of the day. He showed up early that morning with cider and doughnuts and really caught the spirit of the place - putting us to shame really! In the picture you can see our brother Mark, Scott (John's friend), Sonny, Bob - and in the front, Rudy, at the ready!

He just returned from a business trip and called (from the airport I might add!) to find out what was happening on Christmas Eve. We were planning to forgo that particular event this year, but - oh well....

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