Thursday, December 9, 2010

Betwixt and Between

Here we are, wedged halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gourds and turkeys are passé. Lighted trees, snowmen, and gift wrap set the stage for the next big event. (How did my Jewish friends manage? You really didn’t have a time buffer this year before Hanukkah started on December 1! )

I started Christmas preparations early. The plan was to have most shopping for family and friends completed before we left Prescott on December 1. The goal was achieved via the internet and some targeted purchases in Arizona. All that remains is for Ron and me to shop for each other. We need to show a little creative restraint, considering all the unanticipated expenses associated with our home in Prescott this year.

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated, lights sparkle at the front room windows, stockings are hung on the mantel, and wreaths are on the doors. We aren’t kids anymore ourselves, and don’t have any children with whom to celebrate – but we do have our own traditions and ways to capture the spirit of the season.

We mark December’s passing days with an Advent calendar made for Ron by his parents many years ago. (Each of his siblings has one too.) We take turns hanging the ornaments, with Ron assigned the even-numbered days, so that he has his birthday December 14th.

On the 23rd, we’ll go to an afternoon holiday concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It features music, dance, and a few skits. They also always have sing-along caroling. Our favorite song is “Christmas in Chicago”; so sentimental it brings tears to our eyes.

Christmas Eve is spent quietly at home together. We’ll have a dinner of special treats, like caviar, paté, and cheeses. Champagne will flow freely, and we’ll help Santa finish any wrapping.

On Christmas morning, we will hear the bells at the cathedral over on Sheridan Road tolling out Christmas carols that wash over the neighborhood. Ron will make pancakes for breakfast (a treat for me on special holidays). Then we’ll play Christmas music and settle down by the tree to open presents. Welcome interruptions will come via from phone calls from family, and we’ll share good wishes and love long distance.

Some important details are yet to be determined… Christmas afternoon will likely be spent with our sister-in-law’s gracious family in Evanston. And we need to decide when to go to church. But can you tell I am looking forward to this blessed season? Savor these happy holidays, everyone!

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