It's been a Sad Christmas and a Blazingly Happy Christmas, all rolled together. I"ll give you the Sad first, so as to end on a happy note, hmmm?
My baby sister spent this Christmas in a teensy trailer pretty much alone, having filed divorce papers on her 2nd husband in October. She was very lonely, and although she kept talking about how far she was running every day (8 miles; hello Uncle Iroh), it was heartbreaking to hear her. I listened to her for a long time telling about the antics of her cat and her neighbors.
My friend Sandy N has restarted chemotherapy for her uterine cancer. The doctors predict she will die of it, as did her mother and aunt, but are not sure when. She was exhausted and nauseous for Christmas.
On the happy side, it snowed 6" on Christmas eve, and Small Son and Handsome Husband and I went out in it to shovel the driveway and sidewalks. Robert B's father, whose kidneys have been refusing to work for awhile, had them show up for work again a week ago, so that family was very happy.
My friend Lois and I have been plotting and planning all season around the Christmas of our mutual friend, Connie, who is somewhat of a Grinch and doesn't do trees or lights or festive earrings or sweaters or carols or anything, and who lost her father and a beloved aunt several months ago, within weeks of each other. Wanting to share a little of the love of the season, we got her a personalized needlepoint stocking and filled it with silly things for her 2 black labs, and little things for her. We each contributed one dog present and one Connie-present. My contribution was a squeaky rubber chicken, a chocolate orange, and a copy of Love Actually, a movie about how the people around you are the most precious gifts of Christmas. Lois contributed some chew-bones and . . . um . . . something, I can't remember what she said she gave Connie, and as it was wrapped when I got it . . . Anyway, on Sunday night, the 23rd, about 10pm, Small Son and I snuck over to her house, hung the stuffed stocking on her doorknob, and ding-dong-ditched her. We tried to see when she opened the door to get it, but since we didn't want to be seen, either, we were unsuccessful. HOWEVER, when we got home, the phone rang and it was Connie and she acted very Un-Grinchly and thanked me for my efforts and I babbled because I was so excited to be able to give her something for Christmas. It's my favorite part of Christmas: giving people things they will like. Connie seemed very touched. So that was wonderful fun.
We had enough electric candles for every window visible from the front, and even had 2 left over for Small Son's room in the back so he could have the Christmas Spirit in his room, too, and our house looked beautiful without any Going Outside and Attaching Lights to High and Cold Places. As Daughter #2 says, that made me happy.
The pie crust and dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls ALL came out beautifully!! Yay!!
And the presents I found for people were well-calculated. For Daughter #1, the first season of Dr. Who and a hand-knitted tam to replace the one that was stolen, plus a matching pair of mittens. Wah-hoo!!! For Daughter #2, two jackets and a Minnie Mouse nurse watch and some earrings that will not hurt her ears. Wah-hoo!!! For Daughter #3, a 10" Ang the Avatar action figure that lights up and says Avatar-like things when you press the secret button, plus a How To Draw the Avatar book. Wah-hoo!!!! For Small Son, a small set of bagpipes and some flannel Harry Potter sheets. Wah-hoo!!! For Handsome Husband, a new bedside radio, a balaclava for bicycling, and a mat to watch TV on the floor if he wants. Wah-hoo!!! People were squealing for joy yesterday morning opening those. As for me, I got the much-longed-for ghillie brogues, in LEATHER with rubber soles, in the correct size, plus a DVD of The Court Jester with Danny Kaye and the book Zorro by Isabelle Allende, and a cookie press machine which I have not had the chance to try out yet, and Small Son gave me a pair of kitchen shears so fancy they don't even deserve the title, so I have taken to calling them "zans" after Dr. Seuss' mythical beast--if his creations are mythical--and 2 square brownie-lifters, and I also received an apron that looks like a kilt and vest with a loaded and set mousetrap in the sporran. Wah-HOOOO!!!
It was a very full Christmas, and I am very grateful.