It is not that we’ve spent every winter holiday season at home. We even spent another white sand Christmas under the sun in Mexico. But, even in those years where we left home, we first had our own tree and our own decorations pulled out of several dusty boxes we dragged out of the attic. There are few of our possessions that carry such a weight of sentiment as our holiday decorations. Gifts from family and friends and trinkets picked up during travels, collected over a lifetime. Brought out each year following our late November Thanksgiving feast and hung on the tree or about the house.
Being in a life of wandering over this season is different in much the same way our life is different as we travel. It’s lighter, simpler. Knowing that whatever decoration we buy here or put up will be left behind and whatever gifts we give that are not consumable have to be carried for the next eight months limits the possibilities. And, just as leaving those things we have chosen to burden ourselves with at home has liberated us, so has the simplification of Christmas. I don’t think we’re really any less excited about tomorrow’s holiday.The girls were adamant about the tree; we must have a tree. They found one complete with battery operated fiber optic lights that stands 30 cm (a foot) tall. We picked up some green and red paper, tape, and along with some paper cut-out ornaments the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Information Center was giving out, we made a magnificent chain. I have not made a paper chain in decades, the girl’s only chance at it was in preschool or kindergarten, I suspect. Our paper creation is draped from a curtain rod, over picture frames and shelves to the other end of the living room, and may just be my favorite decoration ever. Partly because we made it and partly because it demands nothing from me. No careful repacking into crates and carrying back up the stairs after the first of the year; a decoration with all the cheer and without commitment.
There is no eggnog here in the stores, a huge issue for Hannah. So, in her usual style, she fixed that. She and Marlie made a big batch from scratch. None of us have ever done that before. It is really tasty, although now we see how many calories and fat are really in eggnog. Too bad, some things are better left unknown.
So, we have brightly wrapped packages waiting under, or rather next to, the tree. Most are full of wonders like marshmallows and good coffee and chocolate. A few do actually hold things we’ll have to carry. But the cheerful colors of the wrapping paper and magazine pages we used when the roll ran out make us all smile and not really miss Christmas at home in the snow.