For the first time in twenty five years--or more--I'm not getting the Christmas stockings down from their shelf in the closet and hanging them by the fireplace, "with care" or otherwise. I haven't had the time to walk into any stores lately to buy gadgets and candy to put in them. They're VERY pretty stockings--with needlepointed scenes of winter and Santas and angels and snow. But hey... nobody would say I'm up to my usual standard this year!
I've baked two batches of cookies, and eaten my way half-way through one already. The Christmas tree is half the size of the trees we've had for decades. The good news is, it's so small we don't have to anchor it to the ceiling to keep from tipping over, and it needs only one person to hang the lights. The bad news is, it's Christmas eve and it still doesn't have a stitch on it. And when we DO dress it up later today, it's likely to be with a handful of non-breakable plastic ornaments. I think this year we can leave all the blown glass and hand-embroidered and collectible bird adornments in the boxes.
We're still in the aftermath of "the new puppy," a Border Collie-mix who moved in at the end of August, gave me whiplash in October when he knocked me off my feet, and cheerfully folllows me around like a tiger cub chained to my ankle. He weighs forty-two pounds now, a large enough package of mayhem and creative gnawing destruction that attention must be paid at all times.
It's been yet another unconventional Christmas, in a string of several. A couple were marked by tragedy or emergency, the one before was marked by my kids putting to good use the "axe" shaped cookie cutter they found in the cabinet while baking, using red sugar crystals for bloody effect. I've joked that this year it's going to be "the gift certificate Christmas" since I've been juggling too many plates in the air to do any shopping, even by catalog.
And yet...it will still be wonderful. Because at some point all my children will be in the same room together, and be glad of it. It may not be on Christmas Day, but somewhere around there we will alight at various holiday tables and give thanks that we have each other, play a few games, tell a few stories, quaff a few drinks. The dust bunnies that didn't get vaccuumed will still be there the next day. We'll also be celebrating the arrival of yet another four-footed family member, a six-week old kitten named Linus that my youngest son just arrived with. There is absolutely nothing cuter than a kitten, and this guy is underscoring that truism BIG TIME!
But...the doggie beauty parlor just called to tell me there's been a cancellation in the schedule and if I hurry I can get the pup in for a shampoo so he smells a bit less like a herd of buffalo in time for Christmas. Happy holidays to all! And for a window into my grinch-transformation Christmas of a couple of years ago, here's what I wrote back then...
Causes Mary Wagner Supports
Washington County, Wisconsin Human Society
Crohns and Colitis Foundation
Chicago Writers Association