‘And So This Is Christmas . . .’

Our plans are simple enough this Christmas. As we have for the past few years – since we moved here under the oaks – the Texas Gal and I will spend this evening, Christmas Eve, here at home. We’ll have a dinner of cold shrimp, potato salad, sausage and cheese – a menu that’s becoming a tradition – and then probably watch a movie or maybe play a game or two.

Up until dinner time, it will be a bit busy: She will be in the kitchen for a chunk of the day, baking cupcakes and making deviled eggs to take with us tomorrow to my sister’s home, and I will be out for a bit finishing up on some shopping and checking in with my mom.

Tomorrow, we’ll pick up my mom in Sauk Rapids – adjacent to St. Cloud – and head the fifty miles to my sister’s home in Maple Grove for dinner and gifts and stockings and all of the things that make up a Christmas celebration.

This is the tenth Christmas we’ll celebrate in Maple Grove. For about twenty-five years before that, our celebrations were at my parents’ home on Kilian Boulevard. Before that, nearly all of my Christmases were marked at my grandparents’ home, with most of those celebrations taking place on the farm and a few in the small town of Lamberton after Grandpa and Grandma sold the farm. Add in four one-off celebrations – one in the mid-1970s in Maple Grove, one solitary day in Minneapolis, one Christmas in Fredericia, Denmark, and one in Texas – and we can account for all sixty Christmas celebrations of my lifetime.

So what does that prove as the cupcakes bake? Maybe nothing more than the fact that, like Ernest Hemingway’s Paris, Christmas is a moveable feast. Locations change. And the cast changes; my dad’s been gone for ten years now, my grandparents and my Aunt Tudy for many more years than that; my sister added a husband and then two kids; I added the Other Half for a few years; and after I flew solo for a while, the Texas Gal joined us in 2000.

But for all those changes, Christmas remains. For many, of course, it’s a spiritual moment, but even for those of a decidedly secular bent, it’s a time to gather, to remember and to celebrate. We’ll do all of that this evening and tomorrow. May all of you be able to do the same.

And here’s the group called Gregorian with a 2006 cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”

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3 Responses to “‘And So This Is Christmas . . .’”

  1. Alex says:

    Weird and haunting version of this song!

    All the best to you & yours!

  2. Yah Shure says:

    Well said, whiteray. There are probably more cupcakes baking than chestnuts roasting, but Christmas is still Christmas.

    Happy holidays to you, the Texas Gal and the four-pawed kids.

  3. jb says:

    Greetings from here as well. Our celebration is much the same–just the two of us tonight, the rest of my family tomorrow. Some years we are with Ann’s family, but this is not one of those years–we’ll see her brother and his family the first weekend in January. In recent years we have added celebrating with distant friends online to our Christmas Eves, and we enjoy that immensely. Best to you and yours, and may we hoist beers together again (in the same physical space) sometime soon.

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