Simply having…

… a wonderful Christmas.

I peeled a lot of potatoes today while Mom and Dad cut blocks of cheese and whole sausages into cracker-ready slices. There was a little bit of all the usual: the singing, the imperial order “Get out of my kitchen!” from the cook to the hungry waifs who wandered in before dinner, and the eager dash to set the table.

One unusual thing was the focus on practical gifts. For a few years now, I have asked for 1) necessities and 2) replacements.  This year, everyone seemed to be using the same guide for the annual question “What would you like for Christmas?”

One niece wanted lip gloss and facecream to prevent chapped skin when she’s running around this winter.  A sister-in-law asked for spatulas; one brother wanted a pan for stir-frying.   I received socks, a grocery gift card, and a cargo net. (I’ve never owned a hatchback car before, but Brother Carguy says it’s a necessity!)

My mother sounded a bit apologetic when my youngest brother (official distributor of gifts) pulled a bag for me from beneath the tree. She said, “You said you didn’t want anything, but we wanted to give you something.”  A neighbor and her twin sister knit beautiful lacy scarves for fun and (a very little) profit.  So my parents bought scarves for all the female relatives.  Mine matches my winter coat, as well as several work outfits.

Of course, I bought my mother something slightly frivolous: a crystal and freshwater pearl bracelet.  I picked it up from a jewelry-maker near me who makes no-clasp jewelry perfect for people with disabilities. Although Mom has regained most of her vision, threading needles and clasping bracelets pose particular challenges. This bracelet is a coiled wire that Mom was able to loop around her wrist with minimal effort, which pleased us both.

Now, of course, we return to the usual Christmas routine: watching old pictures run through the antique slide projector, putting the crying child to bed, feeding the teenagers the first round of leftovers, and finding places for everyone to collapse.

A Merry Christmas, and to all a Good Night!