And, to quote Bobbie Burns,
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley…
We actually did have some plans for Christmas day, intending to venture a bit out of our comfort zone and have a couple over for snacks later in the afternoon. Except by noon on Friday, I was sneezing and my throat was scratchy… and it sort of went downhill from there.
Today I am not feeling quite as bad as I did yesterday although I am still coughing a lot, but now by beloved is sneezing and has the scratchy throat. Trying to entertain tomorrow is out of the question.
So, we will spend a quite evening at home watching Love Actually and eating food that is normally forbidden for people who are trying to watch their weight, and reflecting on the blessings of Christmas and memories of happier times. The last Christmas we spent with our son was not exactly a happy time. He was in the nursing home, dying, and being cared for by hospice.
I won’t pretend that getting Christmas presents wasn’t an important part of the holiday when I was kid. I most certainly was excited about what Santa was going to bring, and I can even remember some of the presents I got – a chemistry set, a bicycle, and a green snake (yes, a snake)—among them, but what I remember most vividly was the thrill of decorating the tree. The ornaments for the tree were loose in a big cardboard box filled with shredded paper. And it was so exciting: going with Dad to choose the tree and bringing it home, and then Dad would bring in the big box in from the garage and we would carefully fish out the ornaments and put them on.
In the first years after we were married, and then after our boy was born, we spent Christmas with my folks and so did not really develop our own tradition. When we moved here, the annual ritual was for Richard and Nathaniel to go out in the back pasture and cut down a cedar tree. We never had much room for a very big tree, but that became something he enjoyed very much – cutting down the tree with Dad and decorating it.
Earlier in December, the town held a Christmas tree decorating contest. I doubt our little tree would have won a prize, but it has a place of honor on the old sewing machine.