Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

On the way out of Longwood Gardens this Christmas Eve where we were dazzled by the meticulous light display, I remarked to my mom, "That's the most Christmas we've had in years."

And indeed it was. Since the accident, we've been celebrating Christmas in a more simplistic way. Before the accident, I remember Christmas being the big fancy dinner in the formal dining room (only outdone by Thanksgiving dinner each year), opening up one gift before heading off to the 11:00pm candlelight service. I always hoped that by going to the late service, we'd return late enough that the sleepiness would overtake any anticipation of presents the next morning. Before, Christmas encompassed stringing up lights, breaking out the countdown calendar and trying to guess which token ornament would be in the calendar box, picking out a tree (and picking up the fallen pine needles scattered around the house afterwards), rediscovering favorite ornaments and creating drafts and drafts of Christmas lists. Don't get me wrong, though. I think we always understood the true meaning of Christmas and we embraced being around friends and family. These memories don't stand alone; rather, they are little seasonal reminders of how much I love my friends and family.

Which is why, after the accident, the family has avoided having a "normal" Christmas because those seasonal reminders were just too much with one empty chair at the table. We stopped putting up decorations and avoided the candlelight service and Christmas carols because it just left us in tears thinking about how he used to sing at the top of his lungs, yet shyly (yes, that's possible). We tried to go somewhere (Paris one year, Barcelona the next) because breaking the routine helped distract us. But this year, we decided to venture back. And I'm glad.

This year, Mom put tiny little presents as ornaments on a "tree" for me to open on each of the last days leading up to Christmas. Granted, it wasn't a Christmas tree, but it looked festive and Christmasy. This year, we went to church. Not the candlelight service, but there were Christmas carols and they made us smile. This year, we went to Longwood Gardens with the grandparents. Not the same as driving around the neighborhood to look at lights, but hey, this was actually quite cool. This year, we had a baking marathon with seven types of cookies. This year, we tasted a little of the Christmas festivities. Not an entire meal, but enough to leave us warm and fuzzy inside and looking forward to next year.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
There is hope. And cookies and lights and Christmas carols, as frivilous as they may seem, can sometimes make all the difference in the world.

And with that, Merry Christmas all!

(You too, up there)

Note: And I'm not entirely sure why I'm writing this on a supposed food blog. Partly because I'm sharing my version of Christmas and this is what the holidays have been for me and the family. Partly because I want to document it (and Blogger doesn't come with a private post option, plus nobody reads this...yet).

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