The day before Christmas Eve, I sent the Christmas Letter in to the printer, because that is the optimal time to get your Christmas Letters printed, practically ON Christmas. This is not conventional wisdom, I know, but almost there was no Christmas Letter, so sending it to print on December 23rd still seems like a win to me. Also, apparently in a COVID winter, all rules are out the window, because I was contacted 3 hours later to pick up said letters. Rather than the usual 3 days. Huh.
They didn’t hit the mail until today, mind you, but personally, I think I’m doing pretty well. Judging by our Christmas Card Hallway, a pretty big chunk of our friends just chucked the whole idea this year, unwilling to give even that much more effort to this year of horrors. I getcha. I do. What do you even write in 2020?
Anyway, the letters are out, and someday soon, allowing for proper COVID mailing times, so as not to spoil the surprise for those who happen to get a real, live paper letter, I’ll post it here, for all to see. Because I know you’ve been waiting.
I have to say it wasn’t as painful as I thought it’d be.
Christmas, I mean.
Cuz I was ready for painful.
We went into Christmas Eve with plans for a quiet and likely boring night, with a group Duo call to bring the hordes together. I went into the evening with plans for it all falling apart, so that the inevitable would be expected, and the unlikely would be pleasantly surprising.
My plan, for once, worked.
The evening was lovely, first of all, even though 6 of our 7 were far-flung and hamstrung, doing their part to impede the progress of this virus. Grandma and Grandpa next door were here, and the Last Kid Standing was as determined as we were to make the best of things as they came.
We played some cards.
We livestreamed the Christmas Liturgy from the couch and the rocker and the fireside, me only having to yell at my mother and daughter twice to grow up. Mostly the kid refereed the couch herself, reminding the old folks, “We’re in CHURCH, Grandma.”
And then we drowned in a spread of yummy hors d’oeuvres and Christmas cookies. There were only three varieties of cookie this year, because the only kid in the house isn’t even eating sugar. But they were the favorites. And the adults were perfectly capable of destroying them.
As darkness settled deep, we opened the paltry collection of gifts (remember, we’ve got 7 kids; you usually can’t find the tree), and prepared for the Duo call that would surely be a disappointment (at best, if not a total technological failure.)
And then I made the call, and not only did every kid pick up, the technology didn’t fail us. We had a rollicking good time even, and didn’t hit the final ding until almost an hour in.
The Great Ottinger Kids Gift Exchange, a tradition started by yours truly many years ago, but blissfully taken over by the Milwaukee Kid a couple years back, went off without a hitch. Even though several gifts hit the mail well beyond USPS’s window of safety, they all made it to their destinations on time, intact, and ready to act.
I’m sorry. I’m just giddy that we had a Christmas at all.
So we opened the gifts, and we yakked and laughed, and it was almost like a real live Christmas Eve. Did a mom’s heart good, it did.
I didn’t think to take a single screenshot. Because I’m dumb. But the Milwaukee Kid never forgets to screenshot, and graciously shared her bounty with me.
Now, I will admit right here and now that this is an exercise done much more for my benefit than yours, but I trust that you’ll indulge me. I took the liberty of parsing the screenshots and collecting one of each person that is somewhat flattering. I don’t know if there’s one original image that doesn’t have at least one of us looking like this:
So here’s a little montage of everyone looking a little more presentable:
There you go. You can thank me later.
So anyway, the letters made the cut, despite 2020, and Christmas prevailed, despite 2020.
The tree is down (I little early, as it stopped drinking on Christmas Day, and has been raining needles, and was also so robust that it sucked up more than it’s fair share of light, and ALSO because I was growing weary of being excluded from the family when sitting in the little cubby where my rocker resides. That tree was a monster.), and the first round of needle cleanup has been completed.
There is snow on the ground, and more coming this week, and I’m ready for it. Ready for a fresh and thick blanket of white to mute out the browns and grays that this year has brought. Ready for a new year, with new hopes and new dreams and new mask ordinances. I’m ready.
May your New Year be filled with peace and love and light aplenty.
And let’s not forget hope by the wagonload,