Here are some things that, from the beginning of my married life, I have done in preparation for Christmas:
–Sewed shirts for my husband\’s father and brother. This was when men–some men, anyway—wore attractive—to me, anyway—peasant shirts with decorative trim at the neckline and at the bottom of the (loose, flowing) sleeves. Not having much money to spend or experience shopping for men, it came to me that Ed\’s father and brother might enjoy some funky shirts. I was a mere child at the time, which is why it never occurred to me to think about these two men and what kinds of shirts I had ever seen them wearing. I remember staying up way past midnight at my sewing machine to finish those shirts so we could send them in time for Christmas. I remember my husband getting a puzzled look in his eye when I showed him the shirts. I don\’t remember ever seeing his father or brother wearing them.
–Stayed up (again) stuffing a large Snoopy-like dog I had sewed for our firstborn. My husband helped with the stuffing, and by the time we finished our arms were sore but that dog was as solid as a rock. Unlike the shirts, the dog was a success, and both our girls drooled on it, slept with it, and hugged it for years, until one day it disappeared from our lives.
–Made from scratch every crumb of food for a party of seventy-five guests, fellow faculty and administrators at the college where I worked. I still have the long-range planning document that I drew up a couple of months ahead of time, detailing every step of the process. Can\’t remember much about the food,, besides some pates and dozens of petits fours. What was I trying to prove? Amazingly, the party was a success, and I stayed up having fun till all hours.
–While grading final exams, made breads and cakes and god-knows-what-all in preparation for the Christmas guests…lovely and loved relatives who came from afar to spend the holidays (a week or two) at our house. One year we hosted twelve people and nine dogs….
–Fell in love with all things herbal and decided that everyone on my list would receive a basket of herb-related products made with my own hands, from my own herbs: bowls of potpourri, jars of herbal teas, lingerie sachets, sleep pillows, bottles of herbal cordials, pomander balls, and bags of herbal bath salts. Our relatives are probably still sneezing from all that grassy stuff.
Ah, the days of wine and roses, the snows of yesteryear….
Our descendants and their beloveds are due in just a few days, and here I sit, blogging.