Anyway, back to Friday morning. You might ask, why am I sitting sipping tea at ten o'clock on this beautiful day so close to Christmas? Is my tree up? Nope. House decorated? Nope. Baking all finished? Nope. Nada. Not done. And I'm not stressing about it. We're not stressing about Christmas at all this year.
Of course, we'll still have a tree. It's out in the garden shed waiting for me; Hubby has already attached the tree-stand. I heard the chain-saw this morning, so I think there were some slight alterations needed to make it fit. We'll still have a big turkey dinner on Christmas Day. And I'll still make my usual Christmas Eve tourtière. But this year, I'll be experimenting with different vegetable dishes, salads, and desserts that are more heart healthy. Since it's just for Hubby and me, I'm excited to try new things instead of worrying that they'll be an utter culinary failure.
|National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation turkey disaster scene.|
I really love Christmas, but it's often so stressful, isn't it? All that shopping, cooking, decorating, partying. And we always want everything to be perfect. But when I think about past Christmases, the non-perfect, near-disaster ones are the most memorable.
Like the time when I was a kid and our tree froze sitting out in the barn, and when my stepdad brought it into the house the ends of the branches had all curled up. It looked terrible. Like an old man with arthritic fingers. So mum named it "Arthur" and I think we loved it best of all our trees. It had character. Or the year we had a freezing rain storm late one Christmas Eve in the 80's, and most of Ottawa lost power. Hubby's mum, who was hosting, and his cousin and aunt, who had power, played pass the turkey on Christmas morning... one drove it to the other's house, who cooked it, who brought it to the third house which ended up hosting.
Or the time in my early twenties when I shared an old house in Ottawa's Glebe area with two friends. Neither my housemate, Elizabeth, nor I could afford to fly home for Christmas, and, both single, we decided to make our own old-fashioned Christmas. I remember we carried our Christmas tree home, for blocks and blocks down busy Bank Street, looking for all the world like we were taking it for a walk. And in our romantic Christmas idealism, we decided we would make all our own trimmings. That night we watched It's a Wonderful Life on TV, while attempting to string popcorn for garlands. Who knew that would be such a colossal pain in the you know what! Half an hour later we added butter and salt to the bowl, snapped open a couple of beer and decided to buy our garland... we were missing too much of the movie.
|"Atta boy Clarence!" Final scene of It's a Wonderful Life.|
But, back to Friday morning.
So... I'm sitting in my rocking chair, sipping my second cup of tea and listening to a really smart and engaging writer talking about her latest book on CBC radio. Then the interview ends and Joni Mitchell's song "The River" comes on. And I sit, rocking in the sunlight, listening. Through my window, I can see our own river sliding by and hear the geese that are landing in front of our house. It's been so warm, with no hope of snow, or of the river freezing, for a while yet.
|Geese landing on the river in front of our house... this time last year.|
And I think... in this moment... life is pretty darned good.
Now if only it would get cold. And snow. And maybe we could skate on the river come Christmas morning.
Are you stressing about the upcoming holidays? Any disastrously memorable holidays in your past? Do tell.