I no longer lie awake at night listening for hoof-prints on the roof or the hissing steam and squeaking metal of the Polar Express. Iâ€™ve given up searching for a sleigh through a childâ€™s eye.
Seasons change. Traditions evolve. We all grow up. For me, Christmas remains one of my favorite times of year â€“ the spirit and memories of my childhood remain, tucked tightly into the bright white lights lining my tree.
Last year was the muppetsâ€™ first Christmas; it was the first holiday I didnâ€™t spend at home in my childhood twin bed. Christmas was a VERY big deal as I was growing up. But now, I think about Search and Destroy asleep upstairs, waking up in the middle of the night, conspiring with one another throughout the night with the excitement my brother and I once discussed (every hour, on the hour).
I am determined to keep some of my own traditions going, along with the new ones (such as creepy elves on shelves) we will discover as the boys grow up. Yesterday I braved the circus of a store to procure supplies for my favorite yuletide culinary creations: Yule Log and Murder Cake. Bouncing around, I happily began burning baked goods to the tunes of Foo Fighters and Linkin Park.
Jon: Who let you in the kitchen anyway? Did you obtain the proper visitor permits?
Me: Let the Christmas cooking begin!
It did not go exactly as plannedâ€¦ but both confectionaries appeared edible. And for what itâ€™s worth, you are never too old to lick the bowl.
I called Aunt J to commiserate. She was in the middle of mashing fruit for a homemade applesauce. â€œWho are you and what have you done with my domestically-challenged aunt?â€
Please note â€“ this is a woman who once asked, â€œWhereâ€™s the box?â€ when faced with the challenge to assist with Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. She mumbled something about Christmas dinner. â€œHave you ever made applesauce before? If you add too much waterâ€¦â€
I cut her off quickly. â€œNo. I have never made applesauce. Because you can buy it in a jar at the store. Already. Sauced.â€
Times and traditions change. Tonight I sit alone in my living room, embraced by the seasonâ€™s unmistakable scent of a freshly cut pine tree spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
The ghost of Christmas past brings memories of my brother and I running toward a tree overflowing with gifts, as my parents stumble forward with freshly brewed coffee. The ghost of Christmas present arrives with thoughts of my friends and family that make me smile. And with the spirit of Christmasâ€™ yet to come I see brothers running toward a tree overflowing with laughter and gifts as Jon and I follow behind them as visions of freshly brewed coffee dance in my head.
Amid the surround-sound of a self-made soundtrack and a glass of good wine, I raise my glass to you. May you always hear the sweet sound of Santaâ€™s sleigh bell.