My husband is struggling with the online ferry reservation system to make sure that our truckload of Christmas cheer makes it first to Saltspring Island and then to Vancouver on the correct dates for holiday fun. Our sleigh will be loaded up with locally produced chocolates, wine and lamb and our bulky but still useful lawn furniture and a standing lamp to be dropped off at my parents new home.
It’ll be just the three of us following yonder star, Jerry, me and our 6 ft something son jammed cheek by cheek on the bench seat of his 1991 Chev1500. Guess who will be in charge of the radio – no Bing Crosby is my guess.
This is the start of a whole new era in holly-jolly for us, the very first year that one of our kids has suggested we move the party to their home. (We did bully our way into my daughter’s place one year for convenience sake in accommodating elderly relatives close to their homes.) But hark 2014 – the angels did sing when our eldest son invited us over. Not only that but the offspring collectively decided who should cook what and our names didn’t appear on the naughty list although I have extended both culinary and financial help since. Our son (or maybe it was his girlfriend) also organized an online gift exchange – called the “Funmas” draw. It sure is a lot easier to find one perfect gift than stoke the yawning maw of mass consumerism.
Our Christmas wonderland has morphed from a multi-month frenzy of home-made fir bough and ornament decorating with 4 young artists, a floury whirlwind of cookie, square, bun and cake baking, advent dinners, staff parties, mad dashes between choir, nativity play and musical recitals and endless last-minute additions of gift collecting to even everyone out – on an incredibly tight budget. And I shudder when I think of the times I had to harness up the reindeer for trips to the grocery store, especially the year that we had a total of 22 merry makers at the dinner table, and most with their jammies along too.
We said bah humbug to cutting down a tree this year as we aren’t hosting any holiday parties. Good thing too because all of our frankincense and decorations are buried in a trunk somewhere in our storage locker. (You may recall that our particular elephant in the room is how to tackle and organize this nightmare of collected junk and memorabilia.) In an effort to provide minimal decking of the halls, I purchased some small disco ball ornaments which now sparkle amidst the silk leaves of my fake Ficus tree and our kitchen window is illuminated with a string of coloured lights hung with Charlie Brown panache. I will add some strings of fairy lights about the room for our New Year’s get together with friends. All these items were purchased at a thrift store, so with the free holly and cedar picked up roadside on our walk today, Jerry and I splashed out in the range of $8, leaving us more to spend on the excellent comestibles for sale at the European deli and at Hot Chocolates in Courtenay.
Sometimes I miss the happy golden days of yore with all the sugar-plum dreamers at home but I’m really looking forward to this big city noel and the most silent of holy nights with my noggin nestled in a pillow at the very swish Lonsdale Quay hotel.
Have yourselves a merry little Christmas fellow bloggers!