Monday, December 24, 2012

Good Things, Christmas Eve 2012

Right now: I'm sitting on the couch in front of our Christmas tree for possibly the last night this year. I'm sipping a little Baileys Irish Cream. I'm ticking off a list of things to pack in my suitcase. I'm trying to remember where the extra camera battery is. I'm trying to stop, breathe, savor.

Earlier tonight, we did a few traditional things (went to church, drove around to look at the luminaries, had a fancy family fondue dinner, gave toasts to all the good people and places that have been a part of the past year, read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, set out cookies and milk for Santa) and a few non-traditional things that might become new traditions (handed out candy canes and Starbucks gift cards and filled parking meters for strangers to practice random acts of kindness, went in the hot tub after the kids were in bed). We tucked in little girls who just can't wait for tomorrow morning, and I, for one, can hardly believe that tomorrow morning will be Christmas. Every year, in the rush to make another batch of cookies and send the stack of cards and buy one last gift, I forget that the 25th is really, truly going to come. I'm never sure if the rushing around is worth it, exactly, but tonight - when the rushing is over, when we have sung "Silent Night," when the gifts are placed with love beneath the tree, when the girls are snug in bed with new pink penguin flannel sheets, when the joy of tomorrow morning looms sure - is one of my favorite of the year. In spite of the rushing and the imperfection, Christmas morning comes every year, and with it the wonder and gratitude for another morning with my family, another moment to bank with the other good memories of the year.

Good things, this holiday season:

Celebrating Jemma's 6th birthday with a treat at school.

Annie, mid-laugh, at her classroom holiday party.

Chopping down the Christmas tree.

Favorite homemade ornaments.

Watching "Elf" with a fire in the fireplace.

Pumpkin bread.

That someone decorated this bench on my running route.

Snowy Saturday mornings in the hot tub.

Homemade peanut butter cups.

Making gingerbread cookies (and the kitchen looking like this!).

My favorite hands.

The KitchenAid mixer allllmooost not coping with the double batch of shortbread cookie dough.

Getting fresh kielbasa at Frank's for my family Christmas brunch.

A fun Friday night at the ultra-decorated Broadway Bar! . . .

 . . . with 3D glasses, followed by a horse-drawn carriage ride!
Looking pensive and pretty at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Christmas Eve fondue.

Annie's toast to Candy Cane before she heads back to the North Pole for good: "Tell Santa we're not perfect, but we try our best, and safe travels to you!"

Setting out milk and cookies for Santa.

Taking turns reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

My view, right now.

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