I admit, I’ll be sad to put the Christmas tree away tomorrow. This season of merriment has been one of the best in my adult life, likely because it’s been filled with family, fun activities, and delicious food. In that same vein, I’ll have trouble saying good-bye to 2014. We had a great year, complete with a move, a family wedding (just got to see the amazing pictures!), and countless adorable kid memories. Many of our friendships with longtime connections and new neighbors flourished, and we got more involved with our local community. I also had great luck in getting my freelance editing business going, and I hope to continue to build my network and grow my income in 2015.
Nevertheless, tomorrow I’ll enjoy the final day of the year celebrating my nine-year wedding anniversary and packing away the Christmas machine. (Though I think I’ll keep a winter mantel for a few more weeks.) I always enter January with reticence, aware of the month’s bleakness. I am hopeful that my husband’s odd work schedule, big football games, and Downton Abbey will be enough to keep January interesting and bopping along with minimal winter blues. Though I have no control over the weather . . .
Before 2014 comes to a close, here are some highlights of this year’s holiday season:
Meeting Santa more times than we could count on our hand. We saw Santa on a firetruck, on a motorcycle, at light shows, at the mall, at preschool, and even at the Philadelphia Flyers family day. The kids enjoyed their Santa encounters, though Nora was curious about why Santa’s outfits kept changing (she’s always quick to notice the different boots). I’m certain next year I’ll have to explain that Santa has many impersonators who help him out during the high-demand season!
Spending Christmas with my brother and his wife. We enjoyed a five-day visit from my brother and his wife, who arrived Christmas Eve. They were fresh horses for my kids who have been subject to their parents’ holiday fatigue and were wonderful to chat with throughout the at-home days of Christmas. We loved seeing my parents at Thanksgiving as well as Steve’s more local family throughout the season. As I age, these family gatherings mean the most to me at the holidays.
Enjoying the neighborhood lights. In our new neighborhood, everyone loves to decorate their homes for the holidays (Halloween too!). Here’s a favorite just a few blocks away. We added a few minutes onto many car trips to view the local lights, including ranking our favorite “blowups.”
Cooking holiday standards as well as new additions. I’d never made this veggie pot pie before, but it was an excellent contribution to Christmas dinner. I can count on Moosewood to deliver a good recipe! I also made our traditional peanut soup and mushroom brioches for Christmas Eve. Steve cooked a ham for Christmas dinner as well.
Watching the kids open their presents. While I would love to not be materialistic, I love giving presents at the holidays, and seeing my kids open their presents gave me such joy on Christmas morning. My two littles made out between Christmas and Hanukkah this year. Favorite gifts included this blow-up dinosaur, Imaginext figurines, art supplies, Pinkalicious games and books, and new bean bag chairs. I am fully aware that the requests for phones, headphones, and gift cards are only ten years away, so I really love these toy-filled Christmases.
Decorating for the holidays. I had so much fun with my pounds of cinnamon and star anise this year, and I even made a Christmas centerpiece for the table with these spices. I know I posted frequently about decorating the house, but it gave me such delight to turn my tudor into a cozy and sparkly space for Christmas.
I could go on, of course, but I’ll edit myself and leave you here. Until 2015, my devoted readers!