Letters from Home

Our First Christmas

Of course it isn’t.

But it is, really. Because Colin and I are spending Christmas, each of us–for the first time in over 18 years– at home.

Here’s our first Christmas tree together. We got it pre-cut this year from a great little family-owned, fifth generation nursery called Q-Gardens. Next year we’ll probably cut one down ourselves at Jones Family Farm. This one is a Fraser Fir from Quebec… it came tagged with information from the farm it was raised on and even a blurb about the family who raised it.  Sorry I lost the tag in the bustle of decorating, but I do know that Fraser firs are less likely to drop their needles and they are soft! Surprisingly so, especially compared to the Blue Spruces in our back yard which bit the heck out of Larry and I while we made my first homemade wreath since Girl Scouts.

Yeah. Christmas at home. Colin and I decided not to go anywhere this year, to stay put and enjoy a family Christmas of our own. It wasn’t even a difficult decision, for some reason, even though I love my holiday time with my family and I really enjoy hanging out with his as well.  I am not sure why, but this year in particular I was truly longing for time at home, for time to make my own cookies, to wake up in my own bed on Christmas morning (not that I don’t appreciate a good air mattress or futon!) and to putter about in pajamas, hopefully with the sight of snow-frosted evergreens out our windows.

Although rain is expected tonight and it will be sunny and 46 on Christmas day, we’ve been lucky enough already with six inches of pretty snow to give us another good excuse to be glad we were staying put this year.

Stratford’s weather is usually pretty mixed, so of course with the snow we got sleet, freezing rain, and now our Hilltop Drive is a sheet of sculpted ice and the snow outside had a hard crust on it that makes walking a slippery and jarring event.

I don’t mind much. After all, I am home, and Colin’s cold is receding. We are heading to our new church for service on Christmas eve and afterward some friends are coming over for eggnog (Colin’s favorite) and cheese log (my favorite). Then in the morning, for the first (and hopefully for the last!) time, Colin and I will be opening presents on Christmas morning by the fire, just the two of us.

The holidays are such a rush, with so many expectations and often a LOT of guilt involved. If there is one thing I’d like to get rid of as a family tradition at the Howlips household, it’s guilt and expectation. Holidays should be what you need them to be– a time of love, giving, and restoration. Colin and I need that this year and we are enjoying it.

We love you all, and can’t wait to see you, maybe at Arbor Day.