Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It was Christmas


I had pretty amazing Christmases, growing up. We lived three hours north of our entire extended family, in the snowy wilds of rural upstate. On Christmas eve, cars would pull into the driveway. Dad would go pick grandma up at the bus stop. The house would fill with relatives I didn't see often enough, and presents, and enticing cooking smells. I became a sugared-up whirling dervish, spoiled and scooped up by aunts and grandparents. The huge back room of our house turned sweltering from the roaring fire my dad laid in the hearth; I ran around the dining table half-naked. My mother was a frazzled blur of efficiency and wonderful food, always with a turkey baster in one hand. She didn't just host Christmas, she ran a three-day, three-night bed-and-breakfast, complete with presents, Santa, and--oh right!-- my birthday thrown in for good measure.

It was always perfect. The food, the abundance, the presents, the house full of family appreciating a reprieve from city life. The bar was seriously high as I started thinking about hosting my first Christmas this year.

This time, the family would be coming to me. We're a little smaller now, even, than we were then. I invited my friend Alexis and her fiance to balance out the age dynamic, and because I love them, and because they are family. I planned Christmas eve dinner and Christmas morning brunch, and got the house together. I made beds and collected blankets.

Something about spending the night. It was an essential element. Sharing a meal is happy and fun and enjoyable, but somehow, sharing shelter is even more meaningful. It's kinship. It's feeling like-- being able to pretend-- that you're all part of the same village, the same tribe, even just for one night. The same people. Does that make sense? I don't know. That's how it felt, after we tottered home from caroling and meeting Santa at the park-- a Gilbertsville tradition-- and had wine and dessert and more wine, and basked by the fire. 

Everyone thanked me, in the end, for good food and warm beds. But I'm really the lucky one. Here's my family, delighted, eager and willing to make a tradition out of Christmas in Gilbertsville. The biggest, most meaningful gift of all.

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Becky said...

Yes, It makes perfect sense. So happy you had such a loving and cozy First Christmas hostessing experience!

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