What Christmas Taught Us This Year

….Christmas was certainly different this year for most people who chose to stay safe

Some things didn’t change. We cut down a tree with the family, albeit socially distant and masked, and I decorated it. The difference this year is that I totally decorated it on my own and it was up a full two weeks before Christmas. Normally I wait until my daughter can come over and help me and it often doesn’t get done until a few days before Christmas.

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As much as we love being with family on Christmas we found new ways to celebrate the holiday. We exchanged gifts but this year the gifts were exchanged in front of the house. I still filled everyone’s stockings but this year everyone took them home. Gaelan brought special donuts from Hamilton and we exercised the dogs for a few minutes in the park down the street.

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Our son and his family live in London, England so this year we opened our gifts early. We always open presents on Christmas Eve but 3:00 in the afternoon was early even for us. When everyone got back home we had a Zoom Christmas so that everyone could watch their gifts being opened. It was a bit hectic but in the end watching Sevin celebrate her first Christmas was very special. Technology this year has kept us in touch and brought us closer to all our family members.

My husband and I decided to still make a special Christmas dinner for just the two of us. The only thing that was different is that we didn’t cook a turkey. Instead, we bought a nice big capon to roast and at the last minute I decide to make cranberry sauce. My husband is an amazing cook and I’m no novice when it comes to cooking but even after all these years of experience we can still mess up. The difference this year is that we could laugh about it. There were no guests to worry about or timelines that needed to be met. So when the capon was undercooked and we had to put it back in the oven, after slicing off the cooked parts, we just relaxed with more wine and started off with the wonderful salad that Kevin made.

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My cranberry sauce…..well lets just say that you should never walk away from a pot of boiling cranberry sauce. In the end I was able to salvage it with a little more sweetener. Kevin likes to tell people that we had twice baked capon and smoked cranberry relish.

We’ve learned that it’s the little things that bring us joy. Even though we knew we wouldn’t be together as a family for Christmas I still decorated the house. I pared back on the decorations but I’ve learned that you don’t need to put everything out. Simple things like lighting candles and playing Christmas music brought us joy and peace. In a way this Christmas prepared us for the day when we might have to spend more Christmases alone. There will come a day, perhaps, as the grandchildren get older they won’t want to come to Oma and Papa’s house on Christmas Eve or maybe some of our children will move further away. As for now, though, we hope we can have a few more Christmas Eve celebrations together as a family.

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It was certainly a less stressful Christmas this year. Hopefully 2021 will bring back some normality. We will probably all have to adjust to a new normal and hopefully 2020 taught us some valuable lessons about life and what is important. My husband and I learned that even though we love each other, more importantly, we actually like each and enjoyed our self imposed isolation in 2020.

Cheers and a happy New Year!

Carol

Wednesday’s Wacky Birds – December 30, 2020

….happy Birthday Gaelan and Brendan

Some days Kevin just can’t stop painting and sometimes he forgets that he’s already created a wacky bird for the week. This week he has three wacky birds to share.

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Both Winnie and I like the last one best. Reminds me of me with the first coffee of the morning.

Wacky Birds for Christmas

Kevin’s birds are a hit with the granddaughters

Well I’m not sure that the youngest really appreciates them yet but the five year old loves them. Last week’s drawings became gifts for the two girls. Winnie has already been given hers and the other is waiting to be mailed.

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Finally A White Christmas

after predicting a 20% chance for a white Christmas the weatherman was wrong again

Christmas Eve started out with rain, mild temperatures and grey skies. It looked like we would be having yet again another green Christmas. After our Zoom Christmas with the family in the afternoon I packed up a few more gift platters for the neighbours. The sun had just set as i set out to make my deliveries and looking up into the street lights I could see that the rain was changing to snow. All of a sudden everything seemed that much more Christmasy.

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The next morning everything was covered with a clean white blanket of snow.

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Frances and I went for a walk and came upon our first snowman of the season. Something was missing but I soon figured out that our little snowman had not been given a mask to wear during the ongoing pandemic. Problem solved.

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Drive-by Gift Exchange, Donuts and a Walk in the Park

….on Christmas Eve

We decided as a family this year to celebrate Christmas in our homes and connect via Zoom. On Christmas Eve, early in the afternoon our kids drove to our house to drop off and pick up gifts. Gaelan ordered special donuts to share with everyone. It was not a particularly nice day but our meeting took place between rain showers so we also managed to get in a walk to to the park at the bottom of our street.

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Everyone wore their masks, some more festive than others and some of us wore our special hats and antlers.

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I even got Frances to get into the festive spirit for all of 10 seconds. My husband said she’s slowing down in her old age.

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Our get together was short because we all had to get back home and do a Zoom Christmas with Brendan and his family in London, England. It was Sevin’s first Christmas and it was fun watching her open her gifts from the family.

The Week Leading Up to Christmas

the furnace broke down, two more COVID tests, my nephew’s quarantine ended, a drive by gift exchange, preparing plates of goodies for the neighbours

I was pretty much absent for the the last couple of weeks. In the week before Christmas there were a lot preparations for our non traditional Christmas celebration and during Christmas there were Zoom calls, phone calls, dinner preparations for two of us and just taking it easy.

The Friday before Christmas our furnace decided to break down and all of a sudden we had no heat on the main floor and in the basement where my nephew was staying. The repair man came that same night when we discovered our problem but it just so happened that the part that was broken was not in stock and they weren’t able to get the part until Monday. So for three days we were bundled in extra sweater and blankets. We did have one working space heater and that did help somewhat.

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A good friend of ours has not been feeling well for awhile and because she is on her own our daughter who lives close by went over a couple of times to make sure she was alright. Unfortunately, her doctor suggested that she might have COVID so our daughter went and had the test to make sure that she wasn’t infected. Thank goodness it came back negative. Then our nephew who was quarantining in our basement didn’t feel well and he went for a COVID test. Again the test came back negative and he left to visit his mother on the farm near Chatham.

On Monday the furnace was repaired and I ran around getting last minute items for stockings and the gift platters that I prepared for the neighbours. The next two days are a blur. I filled the stockings, made soup and our granddaughter made art. Even though no one was coming inside the house I spent a lot of time tidying the place up.

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When Christmas Eve finally arrived we were ready. It was the first time in my life that I wasn’t wrapping gifts right up to the last minute. It actually felt great.

….to be continued.