Just in case you might be wondering, here is an entry that describes what my, our, Christmas has been like. If you read my O Christmas Tree entry of a couple of weeks ago, you will know that we began our Christmas by selecting a living tree. I am looking at it as I write this. The little Norway Spruce still has never really adjusted to being inside the house where it is warm and is, therefore, still dropping needles.
If getting the tree was an ordeal, it was the start of a few that have made our Christmas a bit different. We might give up on some of the gift giving next year. Finding presents for each other is simply getting to be complicated.
Our traditional Christmas activities are changing. I really only have to get one present, the one for my wife. Although, I have often bought a little extra for the kids. This has been impossible and no presents from me. My wife warned that we got our new house, and just spent a lot of money on a storage system for the garage, so, no presents. She was right, despite my resolve to find something.
One item on the list is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I have been reading about these machines and they seem to be a vital utility in the kitchen of anyone who wants to do some baking, but, one must get a good powerful one if bread dough is to be attempted. My wifey, however, hummed and hawed over the models and the whole idea to the point that we did not get one, yet. Another possibility is a non-stick skillet. Eggs and pancakes and such, are really a pain to cook in our stainless steel pans that work best on high heat. We have been looking at this for months now.
Part of our Christmas plans this year was a trip to the U.S. on the day after Boxing Day, for a bit of shopping. This plan has been part of the reason we have not been as dedicated to buy before Christmas this year. My son ended up working, so he did not come. During the whole trip, we found very little that we ended up buying. So, the trip became mostly a trip only.
We almost turned back in the morning, on the way down. Seems everybody had the idea of seeking those Boxing Week specials and the lines were nearly impossible. Once we discovered the back up, we beetled cross country, and I mean country, to the very small border at Aldergrove. It was a nice drive and the wait, although still somewhat long, was much better than the other crossings. Once across, we were in Lynden Washington. Some of the rural landscape I recognized because my grandparents and my uncle used to run the Skateway roller skating rink, bowling alley, and pool hall. Lynden was our stop-over when we used to drive from where we lived in Portland Oregon to visit our other relatives on my mother’s side in West Vancouver and later to our summer place on Bowen Island. This was before the I-5 highway and the drive was much longer than it is today. We learned to skate, bowl and play pool there.
If you think that Christmas festivities simply change hands as family members grow up or grow old, think again. There is more to it these days. I remember Christmas as being the time we all could get together. And there were gifts everywhere, and food everywhere. My sister and brother-in-law now spend Christmas in Hawaii. We usually get a short Skype call on Christmas morning from them. This year, our daughter was away at her first year of university and flew home, as it turned out, just hours before my sister was to fly to Hawaii. That meant a fancy brunch at the Airport Fairmont Hotel. Not quite a cozy Christmas visit at home, but, the food was pretty good.
Our gift from my sister is Christmas in Hawaii next year. They will supply the place, we have to get there. That may be financially tricky, but, we’ll see.
Speaking of cozy, we were a bit late on Christmas Eve, so we had to shop a bit for a late church service to attend. We decided to go to the last offering at the Lynn Valley Full Gospel Church. It was warm and cozy and we were able to connect with some people we had not seen for a while. It was really nice, so, not everything is going off track this year.
If you have been following my blog, you will remember that I have cooked a couple of turkeys on my new BBQ rotisserie. This takes some care in doing, as a turkey off center on the rotisserie spit, and they can shift during the cooking process, will cause the motor to fail. I just got my replacement the other day. I plan to get a more powerful motor, one rated for 40 lbs. not 20 lbs. Taking the stage again, I was to cook the Christmas dinner with my wife, but, somehow, the whole idea vaporized and we ended up at my wife’s brother’s family home. We have been there many times over the years, nevertheless, we have a new home, so we wanted to start reciprocating. Perhaps, next year.
Even our traditional Christmas Day brunch had only a small turn-out. Well, the food was plentiful. We just got a new Belgian waffle maker and the recipe that we chose was for chocolate waffles. Wow, so chocolaty. We were so full that I could only manage one plate at Christmas dinner that night. I think there are still a couple of left-over waffles in the fridge.
Christmas family festivities seem to go through transitions these days. Even Grandma Axford’s traditional New Years Day Evening Chinese food feast plans are up in the air. Some do not even like Chinese food and others want pizza, still others do not want to go to Grandma’s, but, want somewhere else. I’ll have to let you know what happens.
Families change. Some members get old, not being able to do what they used to do, some pass away (we lost Grandpa Axford a few months ago) and are no longer present. New members arrive, either through marriage or birth (we had a wedding and a birth this year) and kids become teenagers and decide they are independent and gain their own Christmas agenda. Christmas transitions, with other family members taking on roles and injecting their own notions of how to celebrate. Somehow though, we all get to celebrate and we should never forget what the celebration of Christmas is really about—the birth of God’s Son, in human flesh, Jesus.