By Caitlin Kelly
For some people, the holidays are a time of dread and loneliness, for others a riot of celebration.
We’re spending this Christmas at home. My mother and I have no relationship and my father (again) and I are estranged; last year we drove up to Ontario and had a lovely time with him and my half-brother and sister-in-law.
It’s been a difficult year financially — lower income and much higher health insurance costs have made this a low-budget holiday for us.
We might go next door for Christmas dinner to the Castle, (yes, it’s a castle!), a gorgeous hotel. It’s a rare, elegant treat, as cooking a whole turkey only for two seems a bit much.
A few of our holiday traditions:
— sending cards, with a letter, to about 40 friends.
— covering the back of our apartment door with every holiday card as it arrives
— savoring a fresh-cut pine tree, covered with winking lights and ornaments we’ve enjoyed for years (that smell!)
— scattering fresh pine boughs atop our cupboards and armoires
— hanging a wreath on our apartment door
— listening to a holiday mix-tape Jose made a few years ago
— enjoying these delicious German biscuits, which my late granny introduced me to
— attending a Christmas church service, belting out all my favorite carols
Christmas Eve has been a less-lovely memory for me since I was 14 and had a terrifying experience that night in Mexico. (I’m fine now.)
So Jose re-branded it by proposing after midnight church service, as the snow was hissing all around us.