This Christmas

This year (2012), I had the feeling for Christmas starting shortly before Halloween. Crazy!! Was it because of the job loss / rapid job(s) found-ness? Of course, but I’m not quite sure how. Any way, I put off those feelings as best I could for a long time. I was even good about not listening to Christmas music being played in stores… at least for the first three weeks of November. Somehow, I managed to pretty much “ignore” the desire for Christmas until Thanksgiving week. Then I (very eagerly looking forward to the start of the Christmas season on Friday) used Thanksgiving to distract me for the final stretch.


Thanks to Dad and Colette taking Amber for her first overnight, and a girl’s night out cancelled, I had a whole Saturday morning and was rested and up for it. (I went to a movie by myself that night, and very much enjoyed it!) So I decided to use the morning to get a real Christmas tree this year! Which turned out to be not too hard, and cheap! Home Depot to thank for that. I got a $60+ looking tree for $25! I got the tree, got it home, and got it in the stand, and still had time for misc other house things.

But it was getting the tree up that settled me so. I was happy to have it set up, and when I woke up the next morning and walked out of my bedroom to see it down in the living room I felt “this is how it’s supposed to be” – as in how the house is supposed to be, with a Christmas tree right there. I was calm and happy and everything all at the same time.

After that day things were they’re normal busy, and so I didn’t get all the rest of my Christmas stuff up. I got the house inside decorations up – all except for the display shelves – as well as all the linens in place. I got lights on the outside of the house, which took extra long because one of the strands was half burned out and I spent an extra two nights testing each light bulb socket to see which bulb was burning out (none) and then getting the teeny tiny fuse box open to see which of the two fuses was burnt out (neither), and then yet another night restringing that line of lights… arrrg *sigh*. The star and lights got on the tree, but no ornaments. I just wasn’t interested enough in ornaments to make the time (read: give up sleep, or something else important) for them.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. I had been sick with a monster chest cold over the weekend, to the point that I wasn’t getting enough air when I breathed (which I didn’t realize until I followed my Mom’s advice and got some mucus thinning expectorant and in about an hour felt like I was inhaling fresh air!). And, of course, Amber got my cold. We get a “Christmas” sickness every year, but it got worse for Amber later on Christmas Eve. Between all the preparation and mad dashing and church services (8pm children’s cameo service, and 11pm candlelight service that I was serving as a Communion Deacon at) and dinner, I was debating if I should get medicine for her, and if so where could I even get some on the night that is Christmas Eve? I ended up not having time to get any before 10:30pm anyway. But between the two services I kind of realized I needed to get medicine for Amber, even if I didn’t use it, because I didn’t want her miserable, and so I felt a little like a bad Mom for not having found the time. I went to serve at the 11pm service.

The 11pm service was GREAT. I was greeter/usher and handed out candles, as well as one of the Communion deacons. Communion was excellent, I loved serving it. The whole service was wonderful, I was so in to Christmas, I couldn’t help but smile, especially when walking down the aisle to the minister to return the Communion trays after the bread and then the cup. I was glad they let me go first on my side of the church. After the service, Bob (our Senior minister), while talking to a minister from another who had attended, paused to Thank me. He described how wonderful it was to be serving communion and to look up and see “there was Jennifer walking towards us with this big smile”. I said something along the lines of You’re welcome or No problem, and explained with enthusiasm that “I love Communion. I love Christmas. I can just FEEL it!” The other minister said something to the effect of they were going to refer others to me as an example of Christmas. I just kept smiling, I couldn’t help it!

And yet, the best moment of Christmas was still to come.

Afterwards I called, and it turns out 24-hour CVS on the other side of the city was open even then – YAY! I was out there searching through pediatric medicine at 12:15am on Christmas morning for another 15-ish minutes because I was SO tried and most of the medicines said “under 6 years old: do not use”. (I’m just glad I had the presence of mind to even look for that!) But there was one brand I found that used only homeopathic ingredients, and said “under 2 years old: do not use”, AND had a version for Amber’s symptoms – Woo! Score one for Mom, many thanks to CVS! On to home for crash to sleep.

Christmas morning, Amber was up before everyone else, as expected. I got up with her, and my Mom was soon afterwards. Mom finished her Christmas wrapping, while Amber and I did standard morning things, all of us waiting for the time when we could wake up Michael so we could start Christmas (meaning gifts). I decided I wanted pancakes and bacon for breakfast. I offered to cook breakfast for Mom, and she half happily, half warily accepted. Amber doesn’t really eat pancakes, so I also made eggs. I briefly thought about the stupidity of trying to cook all these without the electric stove-top griddle I hoped was under the tree for me, but realized I couldn’t ransack the Christmas presents, and so proceeded without. It took nearly 30 minutes, as expected. But about 5 minutes in I realized something was missing – music. So I pulled out my laptop computer and turned on some Christmas music. Then Amber came over to the kitchen and said she wanted to help me. So I put her sitting up on the counter next to the refrigerator. I let her help me stir the pancake batter and scramble the eggs, and as I made pancakes 3 at a time I would give her a small one to eat from every other set. (The only way she eats pancakes is if there’s nothing else ready to eat yet!) It wasn’t too long before I was dancing to the Christmas music while I cooked. Amber even got into it a little bit. But it was all just so perfect. The perfect moment on Christmas: dancing to Christmas music with Amber while cooking breakfast for the family. I loved it. It all felt right. :)

When I got around to taking Christmas down… it was okay. I was ready, had been for a few days. I wasn’t ready the weekend after New Year’s, but by the weekend of the 12th, it was okay. I wasn’t let down by taking the tree down, the space it left didn’t look wrongly empty. I was ready for the streets to get a little darker at night as people’s lights were taken down or turned off. (Usually that makes me sad. Though this year it was a slow decline, unlike most years where everyone seems to turn them off on the same weekend.) The Christmas season had been GOOD this year, and at least long enough.

Only, when I finally got around to putting Christmas away… I saw the tree ornaments in their box as I put in new ones Amber and I had gotten for Christmas… and I remembered how much I love some of my ornaments, what they each meant, and I was little sad I hadn’t put them up. I must remember to do so next Christmas.

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