This is the first year I feel settled with Christmas. Over the years, I have sometimes felt excitement, anticipation, anxiety, dread, but this settled feeling is new. It is not bad. I decorated, but didn’t worry what others would think about my mishmash of things that make me happy – my dog ornament tree (I wish I could find another ornament tree for my cat ornaments, but these kind of trees seem to have gone out of vogue); my music boxes that play Christmas music, my little woodland animals (Lady disassembled one). I hung shimmery things from our antler chandelier, and put the Santa ornaments I used to collect on all the door handles and hung them from the window locks. It’s not anywhere near the chic Christmas displays I would have been trying to copy when I was younger. When I was child, I used to think it was terrible that my grandparents did not decorate beyond a small artificial tree and swore to myself that I would never become like that. Yet, here I am, the same age as they likely were at the time, with no big tree or fancy decorations. Yes, my grandmother was right again about never saying never.
I got presents for people, but this year, I don’t feel the anxiety over whether they will be pleased. I didn’t feel the need to make every package a masterpiece as I used to do. One year I dehydrated orange and lemon slices and used them on packages with cinnamon sticks and cloves. That year I stressed over glue gun whisps. This year I mostly let the stores where I bought things wrap the presents. The dogs will get new squeaky toys and new heated beds. I know that Talu and Lady get very excited about the new squeaky toys, but this is our first Christmas with Parker, the Blue Tick. Judging by his likes, he’d probably just be happy with a treat or a bone. And my friends and family will know I was thinking of them.
I made some homemade vegetable soup yesterday, so that is what Lamar and I will have today on Christmas Eve. I used to go all out to find something special, but really, is there anything better than homemade soup and bread? Tomorrow I will cook a rack of pork, my “famous” broccoli soufflé and some baked sweet potatoes. I’m going to splurge and make two individual trifles for dessert. It will be a simple meal, but we will enjoy it.
I feel fairly happy. Part of that is my desire to put behind me the sadness that has been this year. Loss of a beloved dog, household problems, my anxiety of getting my hound’s heartworm treatment behind us. Next year may have new issues in store, but right now I am blissfully ignorant about them.
It will be just Lamar and me and the dogs this Christmas. I wish there was more family, but my family is scattered up north and Lamar’s family have their own families, and my friends are all over the country. I hope that some time this year, some of them will find themselves in Central Alabama, and come by to say Hey, as we do in the South. In the meantime, I’ll just say Merry Christmas.
Until next time. Elsie