Kissing Christmas 2019 Goodbye

Kissing Christmas Goodbye: “At least we’re together in the box.”

Kind reader, I feel compelled to correct a sentiment from my previous post. There, if memory serves, I lamented about how it took hours to put up Christmas decorations on, for example, the foyer staircase but only two minutes (if) to take it all down.  I was dragging my feet, if you recall over even getting started on packing away Christmas for another eleven months.  My family will attest that I usually have everything down and put away with lightning speed on January 1st!  But this time around was different.  Chalk it up to this whole aging thing I suppose.  I simply was not ready to stop my nightly ritual over the past month of sitting in the near darkness of my living room to admire the lights and decorations on the Christmas tree and fireplace mantle.  I wanted to keep all the Christmas memories alive from years past, swirling in my head and heart..yes, even the not so good memories.    I did not want to forget the stories of some of my most treasured tree ornaments: The ornament from our week in Hawaii or our long weekend in Alaska… or the two that represent baby’s first Christmas, nor the ornament purchased years ago in a German Christmas market on a frigidly cold day in December….

…so many ornaments (simple and inexpensive, I might add) and with each, a recollection dear.

So, when I took the tree down on January 6th, I managed to spend as much time (if not more!) with its “undressing” as I did in its adornment.  I didn’t plan it that way but after five minutes into the process, it evolved quite naturally and I think it may become my new post holiday ritual.  It came, however not without caloric implications.  Sigh. 

Indeed, I do believe I actually gained a pound in my effort to slow the process of putting away Christmas (which is not quite how I wanted to start my New Year’s fitness resolution).    How did I accomplish such a feat you may wonder?  My strategy was genius–so it seemed at the time–and took the better part of the day.  So, if slowing things down is on your list of things to try, say for next holiday season, here is what you must do:

  1. Take one or two (max) ornaments down from the tree and take special care to wrap them just so and place them thoughtfully, mindfully, in the appropriate storage container…
  2. Then take a break.  This step is paramount.  Step one was, after all, emotionally taxing…
  3. Fix yourself a cup of coffee and grab a holiday cookie.  In my case, I had a large holiday cookie tin filled with homemade Pizzelles.
  4. Sit down and savor the cookie whilst admiring the tree. Then, of course, you’ll need to spend time cleaning up the powdered sugar that has fallen everywhere.
  5. Return to step one to begin the process again.
Until next Christmas Mr. Nutcracker

So, I have packed it all away, save for the outdoor lights which is not in my job description (hint, hint Rocket-man!) and am officially kissing Christmas 2019 goodbye. Now begins, in earnest a scaling back on all things coated with powdered sugar and the like.

I’m okay with that. Christmas 2020 is 351 days away. Besides, patience is a virtue, right?

There is bliss in that.

It’s a wrap…well, without the bows.

Twelfth Night Blues

Photo by Cristina Crawford

Peeps…I’m dragging my feet today.

No…It’s not due to fatigue, although I am tired from a small get-together I threw on Friday evening. It’s been many moons since I’ve properly entertained, and it was a spur of the moment decision, so I was anxious about the whole thing.  I was relieved to have my sis’s help hours before folks started ringing the doorbell.  While the planning, cooking and cleaning was a wee bit stressful since I was out of practice, in the end–I’m happy to report– it was all a delightful success.  We noshed on an assortment of Italian munchies I had put together such as an Italian version of deviled eggs–uova in funghetto— which are boiled eggs bathed in a spicy tomato sauce.  Polenta bites and dips of delicious sun-dried tomato and chickpea and spinach and artichoke were a hit.  It was the muffaletta sliders that would steal my husband’s heart.  Stuffed with my favorite Italian “deli” meat, mortadella, as well as provolone, soppressata, cappacolla, and a heavenly olive tapanade, he would have eaten a dozen of them before guests arrived if allowed.  My heart went for a new recipe I tried of stuffed mushrooms–so delicious was this recipe that my soul was singing with joy as the smell of garlic, cheese and white wine permeated every room in the house.

…and don’t get me started on dessert.  Between my ricotta cheesecake squares, pecan pie from Mom’s pie shop in nearby Occocuan, and homemade pizzelles at the hands of my nephew Alexandre-the-Greatest, you can, kind reader, understand why I am not hopping on the weight scale anytime soon!

To be clear, I’m dragging my feet for an entirely different reason than post-party “hangover.”

I’m simply not ready to pack Christmas away for another eleven months.

I believe I am not alone in thinking that this holiday season flashed by in blink of an eye.  For me anyway, It is still a blur of lights, wrapping paper, bows and pomegranate martinis.  Furthermore, it confounds me every year that it takes days to decorate for the holidays but minutes to take everything down! For example, it took me the better part of an hour to get Christmas greenery with lights and pretty silver bows to look just so on the entryway stairs. It took two minutes to take it all down.  Two minutes!

Now It is the last night of the twelve days of Christmas, the eve of Epiphany when the Magi visited the newborn baby Jesus, carrying with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  There is an intentional slowness about me today knowing that tomorrow morning I’ll be taking the Christmas tree down and once again, packing away with a certain tenderness, mixed with nostalgia, all the ornaments and Christmas decor.  I struggle too with memories of Epiphanies long ago when my children were young.  How excited they were about the coming of La Befana, the Italian good witch…an old woman flying around the world on her broom bringing sweet treats and small gifts to children everywhere.  In our home, on the eve of Epiphany,  I’d leave a basket by a window and watch with delight as the kids found La Befana’s gifts of candy and a small toy the next morning.

Sigh. My eyes well up with tears as I type. So many memories.  It’s all good though…even the less than stellar holidays.  I’m lucky to have them all…so much better than the alternative!

So kind readers, Happy New Year! Cheers to 2020. May the year be filled with love, joy, kindness and even 2020 insight. But, more importantly, may there be an abundance of blissful moments for you and yours.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash