Unlike most late Novembers my Christmas spirit had not arrived in the mailbox, the living room or my heart.
Part of it, although I am looking forward to being with my beloved daughter and stepmom, is the dread of a too-long flight, going through
I can appreciate that my dad found Florida his Mecca with its snow-free winters and year-round golf. He settled into his life-long dream believing the world had given him everything in the world he wanted. Each generation has its own dreams.
I kept telling myself I had one of the two things that make Christmas, Christmas for me. Being with people I adore and with the additional hope of seeing cousins, a rarity that is all the most precious because of the few times it happens.
The other? Making sure real evergreens are brought into the house on the night of the winter solstice giving the hope of renewal in the coming year. (My elderly stepmom will not want the falling needles, nor would I ask. I want my daughter’s and my time there to create only lovely memories for her.) Plastic, no matter how well done, doesn’t cut it. However, most of my American Christmas’s have lacked that and I have happily feasted my eyes on the real greens with red or gold bows trim the metal fences around Boston, felt the chill air snap at my cheeks, gone to the Pops or the Revels and been filled with the good will of the season.
Back in Geneva this late November day, we are celebrating Thanksgiving late, a treat because it is not a holiday recognized here although some restaurants cater to the large American ex-pat crowd and make good meals at prices that necessitate selling your first born child to pay for. A few years back a book store/restaurant used to have wonderful dinners, but the new owners don’t follow the tradition.
Because I share a home with an American widow, she decided to do the dinner, albeit on Sunday not Thursday, and made the several forays needed to locate a whole turkey small enough to feed us yet would still fit in the undersized ovens here. Each of us (including her son) chose our favourite vegetable to include. Even cranberries were located. We talked off the importance of leftovers.
Last night the bird was thawing in the refrigerator. My housemate decided this was the time to start Christmas cookies. We sat in the kitchen or I sat and knitted as she mixed and dropped batter onto baking trays. She had brought her CD Player and the sound of Hark the Herald Angels Sing and the Little Drummer Boy made a soft backdrop to our conversation and the wonderful smells of baking chocolate and sugar.
And with the sharing, the music, the smells, a dollop of Christmas spirit entered my body.