There were threats of sleet this afternoon, so I took my laptop and left work at 4:00, making it home by 5:30. So far, the sleet has not made an appearance, but my house is cozy as houses can only be when there's weather outside.
The tree is up in the living room, and I've put the garland on the upper stairs, but not the lower. I have a cache of gifts, being a person who shops year 'round, but I've yet to wrap anything. When my four were little, every single one of these days before Christmas was filled with terrific excitement. I used to begin to prepare the kids for Christmas by having us sing carols together, beginning Thanksgiving night, and we did this pretty much every night, for half an hour or so, right up until Christmas. We'd snuggle up together on the couch with this wonderful book, Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book, and make our way through the carols. This worked so well that when Alex started preschool, her tired bus driver dropped her off one hot September afternoon and said, with a bewildered look on his face, that he had no idea that there were several verses to Jingle Bells, and that three year old Alex knew all the words to every one!
I sewed an advent calendar that we always hung above the fireplace, and I spent endless hours embroidering 25 small felt ornaments for that tree, happily anticipating the pleasure we'd take in it. And we did; the kids took turns putting up an ornament each day. They'd argue about who got to put up which one, and where was the best place to hang it, and so on. We baked and decorated cookies, and there were tons of presents to be wrapped, and tags to be written with elaborate clues. I remember the look on Alex's face when she got the pink Swatch she wanted but didn't think she'd get, and the look on Chris' face when he finally got his strait-jacket...but that's a topic for another post (Hey! He was into magic as a kid, OK?!?!). There were never enough minutes in the day to accomplish everything that had to be done to ensure a wonderful Christmas.
But these days my house is quiet. Even with work and the commute, there's plenty of time to do the few things I need to do to get ready for Christmas...but the urge to do them isn't what it was, and so most of them remain undone. I'm not giving in to this general malaise, though. This Friday I'm flying up to Chicago to see Alex and Chris. I especially want to see Alex, who is pregnant and due in January. I'll fly back to Dallas on Monday, and then Wednesday night Mike will fly in from Tucson, and that will liven things up a bit. I can't wait.