It’s no mystery why my first novel is set in December. Christmas is my favorite time of year. In our region, Mother Nature set the stage perfectly by dumping nine inches of snow on December 5th.
Our family holiday traditions started the weekend after Thanksgiving with the trimming of the tree (clear lights only), the assembly of Santa’s Express (all aboard!!), the arrangement of the Dickens Village, the draping of the mantel, and the wreathing of the house. We got out the collections we add to each year: my daughter’s snowmen and my son’s nutcrackers. Then we wandered over to George Eastman’s house for the annual gingerbread, Christmas tree, and wreath display before stopping at the local chocolate shop for turtles and sponge candy.
A week later we assembled our own gingerbread village. Somehow Grandpa turned the bakery into an outhouse. Gotta watch him every minute!
We made candy and cake bon bons; some for gifts, others, well, they’re inexplicably missing already. Then we made cutouts. Grandpa finally comprehends sugar cookies are merely vehicles—showcases, in fact—for frosting.
We became angels for two children we’ll likely never meet and spent hours trying to select the right clothes and toys for them. Can pink and purple be wrong for little girls?
A few Christmas cards are going out this weekend. They were going to include a family portrait. Of course, it helps to schedule a sitting. Instead, they’re glittery snowmen. The snowmen are better looking anyway.
After hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of our family for the twentieth year, we’re looking forward to Christmas Eve at my brother’s and Christmas dinner at my in-laws. We’d love to avoid the stomach flu that plagued us last year.
A couple things are missing this holiday season that can never be replaced. This is our eighth Christmas without my mom, and she is forever going to be missed. And we’re missing young children who believe—which sadly means we’re missing some of the Christmas magic.
We have yet to establish a New Year’s Eve tradition. Some years we party. Others, we go to the movies. Sometimes we just stay home.
So, any special holiday traditions you’d like to share?