When I was a kid, Christmastime was full of traditions: holiday parties, caroling, baking, Christmas Eve, and of course the big day: stockings, breakfast, presents, dinner…
As I got older, some traditions fell away as life got more complicated.
The last few years that I spent in New England were high stress for me. I never felt that I could buy or make something that anyone would want or appreciate, and I agonized over what to give everyone. There are a cherished few people who loved whatever I gave them, no matter how simple, and it was thoughts of those souls that gave me the courage to keep trying.
Last year, our first in California, was low key. We didn’t have space to have a tree or do much cooking, so we just spent the day together.
This year, we got a tree, shopped for presents, and made all the food. Nothing went quite as planned: Molly refused to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, so I was up later than planned wrapping presents, which meant some food prep didn’t happen, which meant we didn’t have a meal. Instead we ate the ham when it was done, made potatoes later, and snacked on cookies all day.
Was it a Norman Rockwell holiday? No. But it was the exact holiday I needed.
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