Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Here's an interesting way of looking at time: a week from today, Christmas will be behind us. Just between you and me, our little Christmas tree will be more than ready to retire. Were I in Poland, I would not think of putting up a tree until right about now (or on Eve itself). But no, I have happily adapted to my new country's holiday habits. I send out cards at the beginning of December and the tree goes up ... early. (And goes down soon after Christmas Day -- unthinkable to a Pole, who will keep it going well into January.)

I know that to some people, this characterization of the holiday may seem not quite fitting, but to me, ever since I've had kids, Christmas has always been very exciting. It's a holiday that's rich with music, food, family! It oozes color, it demands that you put your artistic and culinary talents to work. For those of us who take the holiday to heart, Christmas does not just happen. You have to think about it. And in preparing for it, you have to put in hours of solid work.

The excitement and the work -- they are, of course, what ultimately make for a very beautiful holiday season.

It's a mild and lovely December day. Today, still limping, but eager to move on, I do spend some time outdoors: in the morning, tending to the animals, in the afternoon -- playing with Snowdrop.

(Walk from barn back to the farmhouse...)

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Breakfast. Still cheerful after all these years...

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I try to use this day to push through my to-do list. But there is always time for a pause, if you love your milky coffee as much as I do. (With a Polish kernel of gingerbread.)

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And in the afternoon, I bring Snowdrop to the farmhouse. Playful, energetic, full of ideas on pretend games we can play together.

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(She is back to being on friendly terms with the cheepers).

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No snow? No problem! The sled glides easily on mud!

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(Back inside, making up a "guest list" for Christmas dinner.)

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Excitement. It's such a beautiful thing when the reason for it is family coming together, meals shared, music played, traditions repeated, though with modern twists and turns.

We're all pretty excited by now. Ed? He's amused.