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

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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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.

More Seasonal Drawings for W&S

….“can’t let down my fans”

After seeing yesterday’s Monster Monday drawings our 5 year old granddaughter requested a painting of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and our daughter-in-law in London requested a painting for her daughter’s room.

Kevin wasted no time and on top of the snowman that he painted earlier he whipped up a Rudolph painting. He’s a little angry looking but I think he’s had enough of COVID as well. This morning the commissioned monster painting was done, sized to fit in an 8 x 10 frame. Not sure if that one is ready for publication but as soon as I get the green light I will post it.

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The Greenest Christmas Tree Hunt Ever

….with very little snow on the ground

On Thursday the family who reside in Ontario all travelled to a Spruce Meadows Christmas Trees near Hamilton. It was very mild, sunny and there was little snow left on the ground. When Kevin and I arrived in our car we were the first of the family there and in fact we were the only people there for a short while. Apparently the weekend before the place was so busy that the entire field was filled with cars.

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It didn’t take long before the rest of the family arrived, all wearing masks and ready to trek to the tree field. My daughter, Gaelan and her husband, Brendan were looking for a tall tree to fit into their Victorian style dining room while the rest of us were more content with much smaller trees.

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One Word Sunday – Seasonal

…thanks to Debbie for hosting One Word Sunday https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/7279497/posts/3060650678

With Christmas around the corner and COVID all around us we’ve decided to decorate for the holiday season early. Every day I’ve been pulling out some decorations and lovingly finding a special corner for them. Now some of you might think that this isn’t early at all but for me, the person who decorates her tree on Christmas Eve, this is early.

We were suppose to get our tree on Friday but we had to postpone because one of our daughters found out that she had been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. As soon as we find out that she’s negative (hopefully) we’ll find another time to drive to a tree farm to get the tree.

So my entry for Seasonal is related to the Christmas season. Here are some of the decorations that are up in the house. The outside has been done for weeks already.

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First Snow and Christmas Lights

….pulled out the lights and strung them on the outside tree

On the weekend we cleaned up the garden and put away the lawn furniture. We took out the snow shovel and snow blower and put the garden tools and rakes back in the garage. I also found the outdoor Christmas lights and dragged them out as well.

On Saturday our eldest daughter came over helped me put up the lights. This has to be the earliest I’ve ever put up the lights. I’m usually the one who gets to it a few days before Christmas. This year because of COVID we decided to try and make the Christmas season as cheerful as possible seeing that there will be no Santa Claus parade, shopping mostly on-line or curb side pick-up and no family gatherings.

We’re planning on a Zoom Christmas for now. In Toronto we’re in lockdown again for at least four weeks. To keep our spirits up we’re planning on decorating as normal, doing a cookie exchange and doing drop off deliveries of presents and goodies.

Our first snow was pretty slim down by the lake but other parts of Toronto and north of the city there was quite a bit of snow. Most of it has now melted but I’m sure there will be lots more to come in the next few months.

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first snow by the lake

I’m glad we got the lights up when we did. It was probably the last nice day for awhile. Now that they’re up it helps boost my mood and I’m starting to pull out more decorations.

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Christmas is for Children

….of all ages

I was actually organized for the first time in my life and ready for Christmas Eve. Normally I’m still wrapping gifts as the family starts to arrive but this year I finished all my wrapping the night before and I got all my deliveries of baked goods to the neighbours done earlier in the day.

Our granddaughter came early with her Mom and she was clearly excited. We kept her busy with stories and watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Papa gave her an apron and chef’s hat so that she could help us set up the table with Christmas goodies.

Later in the day she helped her Mom wrap some last minute gifts that her Papa needed help with and brought them downstairs and set them under the tree.1BFC492D-8642-4A7C-8A41-D6387E922B20

When all the family arrived we opened our stockings and Winnie helped hand out the presents. It was a wonderful evening and as always we had way too much food. We’ll be bringing some over to our daughter’s place tomorrow when we celebrate her birthday. Her twin brother is in London, England so hopefully we’ll hear from him like we did on Christmas Eve, unless the second grandchild decides to come early.

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Taking silly selfies with Auntie JoJo.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or holiday celebration with family and friends this season. Wishing everyone all the best in 2020.

Carol