Holiday Gatherings

Bill and I awoke Christmas morning at the crack of dawn, eagerly anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. No, just kidding. We were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Uber driver who would take us to the airport where we would leave on a jet plane for our winter in AZ.

It’s the same routine as every other year. For the last week before Christmas, we wrap gifts and buy last-minute items and grocery shop two or three times in preparation for the two big meals that we prepare on December 23 and December 24. On Christmas Eve Day, we take down our two trees, remove the lights from the trees outside, take down the pine wreathes; in other words, remove any semblance of Christmas except for the presents to take for dinner that night. By 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve, all of the food has been eaten and all of the gifts have been opened. We have Joy to the Worlded, Silent Nighted, and Hark the Herald Angels Sanged until we are blue in the face. We have given thanks to God for sending us his only son via the Virgin Mary at a lovely church service. We have collapsed into bed, knowing that the alarm would sound sooner than we hoped.

I will be perfectly honest with you. It wasn’t until the Uber driver was due to arrive that I even thought to tell Bill Merry Christmas. The thing is, by Christmas Day, I’ve pretty much moved on. Christmas is dead to me. I have moved on and am planning what to make for our New Year’s dinner. Valentine’s Day looms in the distance.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sad about that at all. I have celebrated plenty and am just looking forward to settling in my airplane seat and let someone else cook for a few days.

Our Christmas with Court and his family was lovely, as usual. I asked him a week before our celebration if he wanted something different than the racks of lamb that I always make. Duh, no. So we ate our lamb and Brussel sprouts and big slices of pecan pie before we opened our gifts. The flurry of unwrapping resulted in three happy kids. Happiest of all was Cole, who proclaimed any gift that he thought interesting to be “MINE.”…..

The next day we changed up tradition a bit. Bill and I generally go to the 4 o’clock candle service with Dave and Jll and the kids. This year, there was a 9 o’clock service, and Jll was convinced her kids would enjoy it. So instead of a sit-down meal, we had heavy appetizers with them, and with Allen and Emma. Emma, who was born and grew up in Paris, France, served us foie gras that her mother had sent from France. It was delicious, as were all the appetizers…..

We opened gifts – lots of gifts – and then headed to the 9 o’clock service. As it turns out, it wasn’t such a great idea. The service was beautiful, but the kids were tired. All the kids but Addie slept through at least part of the service. Maggie Faith full-out fell asleep on the floor of the church between the seat and the pew ahead of us. Jll woke her up to walk in the bitter cold to the car after the service ended. That, as you can imagine, made her very happy.

This time, unlike last year, Bill and I had our correct seats on the airplane Christmas Day and didn’t cause one little bit of disturbance. It’s true we flew a different airline since Spirit didn’t welcome us back after last year’s debacle. Just kidding. They would have taken our money but we chose Frontier for their roomy seats. Just kidding again. As usual, we flew to Phoenix with my sister Jen.

We finished our day with my brother and sister-in-law David and Sami, who had prepared an astonishingly good New York roast – something with which this nana was not familiar. Dessert was prepared by our niece Brooke. Carmel apple pie. I’m glad Santa saved us a piece…..

We have entered our Season of Beef, beginning with the roast Christmas night, continuing with Jen’s traditional Boxing Day beef tenderloin that we enjoyed last night, and on to New Year’s Eve Prime Rib. Let the clogging of the arteries begin.