Woke up early this morning even though the alarm was off. I'm too excited about Christmas to possibly stay in bed. There's a ton to do today with family coming for dinner tonight, and it's Christmas EVE!
I may love Christmas Eve even more than Christmas itself. Generally most of my work is done (although this year I do need to scrub the house top-to-bottom and hope to get outside for some winter garden clean-up), and I can sit quietly savoring the anticipation. I love giving presents, particularly to LT, wishing so hard that he feels through this holiday the enormity of my love for him, how he is ever-present in my thoughts. It's a little silly, makes me weepily sentimental (like the beginning of Love Actually, best Christmas movie ever), but I love it.
I'm especially savoring the Eve right now because everyone else (except Jasper) is still a-snooze, a bit after 7am, as the sky lightens outside.
On Christmas Eve, I treat myself to toasted panettone for breakies. There's a whole production on Christmas morning at Joe's mom's house, a whole raft of traditional foods (more on that tomorrow), but today it's just me and my beloved Italian sweet bread. Oh delectable delight, how I wish I could make you last all day! This year I'm feeling extra super-lucky that I found a personal panettone, just a tiny one, rather than the usual regular size, which then I am required to finish, in the week after the holiday.
A Little Time with the Year's "Tree"
When Laurent was little, we used to go and get as big a tree as we could fit in our low-ceilinged homes. Growing up in a Victorian as I did, I was used to really tall trees, but since moving to little boxes on the hillside, I've adapted to shorter heights. But always, as much as I love the smell of tree in my house, I felt terrible about the waste. Even if they ultimately get chipped up for mulch, there's a little heartbreak for me in all that tree-cutting. And Joe, who relies on cut-trees for a living, can't stomach the idea of cutting one for fun. We did living trees, but that felt even more like torture of something living, forcing it inside in the heat. And really there's a limit to how many pine trees a person should be planting across the street, in the vacant area at the bottom of the cliff. So we've gotten creative.
A Little Quiet Before, and After, the Storm
Outside fat drops of rain cling to the bare branches of Apple Tree #2. That tree's got one apple left on it, small and red, eye-catching just like an ornament. A jay is darting from fence to tree, tree to fence, chirping, a flash of blue that keeps drawing my eye to the window. It's quiet out. I know when I walk later with Jasper, there'll be that hush outside, that lovely holiday feeling of less traffic, more conviviality. And then, at some point, my work will begin. I'll make two batches of cookies, prep the rest of tonight's dinner, clean the house, wrap presents, maybe have to go out for last-minute things I've forgotten. So this quiet right now, the sky brightening, is so sweet, some silence before the hustle-bustle that will take over tonight about 6 and keep up, pretty much non-stop, until about 24 hours after Santa stops by. Sweet.
With a contented heart full of love, I am wishing you such a merry and bright holiday. Savor it like a tiny, delicious sweet piece of panettone!