Been working hard to get it all done before the big events start with your tribe? Take a break and join me for a cup of your favorite beverage. I don’t want to put dessert out before dinner, but you’re welcome to taste anything that’s cooking – just to make sure it will be perfect.
As we rush the final preparations toward completion, we approach the Holidays not as a discreet event, but as part of a mosaic which includes all of our holidays past, and which carry the traditions and lessons learned from all of those who have gone before us. A look over the holiday letters of Christmas past may tell us quite a bit about where we were and how far we’ve come. Indeed, those letters may be the first draft of the history that our children tell on us long after we’re gone.
1987 "Mary was a bit overwhelmed, when she realized that the wedding would be held in a Scandinavian Church, officiated by a Scandinavian pastor, with the reception in a Scandinavian hall. But things were too far down the pike, so she decided to go with the flow. When she appeared upstairs in the church, for pictures, wearing a Viking helmet adorned with white flowers and several yards of netting pinned to the horns, she feared she may have gone too far, as Louis, upon seeing her, began clutching his chest. . . ."
1990 "We headed away from the hospital with the baby firmly belted into his car seat. The high seatbacks made it hard to see him, so Mary listened intently. About six blocks later, Mary became concerned. ‘Louis, I don’t hear the baby.’ ‘He’s fine.’ ‘Louis, I don’t hear him.’ ‘Just relax, he’s fine, we’ll be home soon.’ ‘Louis! The baby’s not breathing!’ whereupon Mary went ass-over-teakettle into the back seat. Turned out the only one who wasn’t breathing was Mary."
1997 "Lou asked Mary what she wanted for Christmas, and she said ‘I’d really like a new floor in the front hallway.’ She was tickled pink to find it there this morning!"
1998 "Lou asked Mary what she wanted for Christmas, and she said ‘I’d like the floor installed now.’"
1999 "Gone is the ugly yellow linoleum. Gone are the fake wooden beams and the wrought-iron lighting fixtures. Gone will be the first kid who rollerblades on the hardwood floor."
2001 "We ran downstairs, only to find that one of the cats had dragged a chipmunk into the house. The chipmunk had escaped, and was loose in the living room, but somewhat dazed from his ordeal. Like Cassandra, Mary stood atop the stairs and cried to the kids ‘whatever you do, don’t pick it. . .’ ‘Aieeeeee’ Before heading to the emergency room we called animal control. ‘Did the chipmunk seem hostile or aggressive’ ‘Aggressive? For a victim of an attempted chipicide?’"
2004 "We decided that the kids needed a little lesson in political action, so we loaded them up and took them to the Kerry rally in Madison. The music of the Foo Fighters and Springsteen kept everyone’s attention as we waited for Kerry. It was one of those perfect fall days, and people were hanging out of second floor windows up and down the street in a way that you only see in campus towns. (sigh)"
2005 "We hadn't managed to find housing before Lou had to start work, so we packed everything in PODS and he went on ahead while Mary and the kids stayed behind, left with little in the house but mattresses and paper plates. This arrangement had all the charm of grad school, and none of the good drugs."
2006 "We spent election day on the front lines of freedom. The big kids took advantage of a day off of school to pursue whatever it is that teenagers pursue, and Annie got a real lesson in participatory democracy as she came along from polling place to polling place, getting preliminary counts and waiting for final results."
Of course as we look over the holiday letters it’s always nice to have a little treat to nibble on. I’ve got enough going that I’m not up to anything tricky today. Here’s one that’s nice and easy, but makes a pretty presentation:
1 package dried apricots
1 package whole almonds
1 microwaveable dipping chocolate
Stuff each apricot with one almond;
Microwave chocolate for 30 seconds; stir. Repeat in 15 second increments until chocolate is smooth and glossy;
Dip apricots about 2/3 into the chocolate. Place on waxed paper;
When all apricots have been dipped, place the dish with waxed paper into the refrigerator to cool and harden 10-15 minutes.
These look especially pretty alongside a scoop of ice cream, or arranged in a circular pattern on a plate.
Got a favorite holiday letter? Got a favorite holiday treat? Why not share them here.
And may the higher power of your understanding bless you now and throughout the coming year.