Adventure 11: Christmas, Old Fashioned (recap . . . at last)

I am in no mood to write tonight. Ken has been away at a conference for the last few days, and life isn’t half as lovely with him gone. Also, it’s worth mentioning that temporarily single mothering three kids tends to drain the inspirado and drive right out of me.

I guess then, that since I’m in no mood to write, it’s finally the perfect time to write about not writing, and specifically, about not writing my Christmas recap.

It puzzled me for a while. I couldn’t quite figure out why I was dragging my feet so much when it came to writing up our old fashioned Christmas. Was it because, after three or four days of constant love and holiness and jollity, I had too much material to fit it all neatly into a single blog post? Perhaps. I’ll admit it is daunting to squeeze so much goodness into a few paragraphs.

Was it that Christmas somehow seems like a private thing? That each family and congregation’s celebration is somehow sacred to those who are gathered — whether in person or, as in the case of my family in Oregon and Alaska, on the phone — and it doesn’t feel quite right to muck it all about? Maybe.

Really, though, when it comes down to it, I think that the reason I struggled to write about our Christmas was that our Christmas just wasn’t special enough. That’s it, I think. Plain and simple.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Our Christmas celebration was wonderful — everything I’d hoped for and more. We baked cookies. We wrapped presents. We trimmed the tree. We made it to two out of three glorious and inspiring church services. (The kids were too sleepy to make the midnight candlelight service Christmas Eve.) We read the Nativity story aloud to the children. We watched and listened as the children told us the Nativity story with their Sunday school class. We welcomed family members to our home for fun and feasting and were welcomed in turn to their homes for more fun and feasting. I got to visit with my dear grandma and other extended family members I hadn’t seen in . . . far too long. We sang and sang and sang — here, there, and everywhere — until our voices were hoarse several times over and we were finally sick enough of Christmas carols to put the song books away for another year.

It was wonderful. But not, you know, special. Not in that Old Navy way. Not in that Coca Cola way. Not in that Radio City way or that Regency Court way or that Martha Stewart way.

Come December 28 (or whenever it was that I first started to not write this post) I looked at all the hype surrounding Christmas (ahem, THE HOLIDAYS), and it made my sweet and wonderful little old fashioned Christmas look so shabby by comparison that I was ashamed to share it. I kept waiting to see if the right rhetorical flourishes might pop into my head that would allow me to write it up in such a way that it might compete with the glossy perfection put forward by the advertising industry. I’m still waiting. I’m starting to wonder if there are enough rhetorical flourishes in the world to accomplish that miracle.

Christmas was what it was. Was it the “most wonderful time of the year”? No. I must confess, I prefer the sweet fragrance of apple-blossom time, the grassy green of the Fourth of July, the first crisp days of golden fall over Christmastime.

Still, Christmas was lovely. Here. Have some photos.

Baking Christmas sugar cookies.

Stringing popcorn for the tree. We got sick of this long before we ran out of popcorn or had enough to cover more than the top two feet of the tree.

A little popcorn stringing; a little popcorn eating. The trick was getting her only to eat what was in the bowl and to leave what was already on the string alone.

As Martha-Stewart-y as we managed to get this year. Yes, the ones in front are a little burnt. So it goes.


* * *

We did have a white Christmas Eve . . . briefly.

Our stockings were hung.

The presents were wrapped (though they were hardly the focal point of the holyday for us).

Hmm. I wish I could show you the rest of our festivities, but it looks like all those pictures turned out too fuzzy or grainy to be worth putting up.

Believe it or not, that’s okay by me. It’s more than okay, actually: those grainy photos that I can’t justify bothering to show you seem to form the picture perfect metaphor — the perfect wordless rhetorical flourish (or as perfect as I’m going to get) — for our perfect, imperfect, old fashioned Christmas.


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