It's Christmas Eve and I still don't feel the fullness of the holiday spirit. I blame the temperatures and the humidity and the open windows. Christmas is supposed to feel like Northern Europe or Vermont. There is supposed to be snow, despite the fact that I have never actually experienced a white Christmas.
But I ate Christmas cookies for lunch and last night we slept in red footed pajamas. Pajamas that I am still wearing well past noon.
And last night we ate shepherd's pie with friends and we exchanged presents, and the bigs kids all spent the night at my parents' house, and I enjoyed a few childfree hours. And it was merry, and it was fun, and it begged to be repeated in years to come.
But now my house is in disarray and I should go start searing short ribs for tomorrow night's feast, and a bit of panic about gifting blind spots is starting to infect my subconscious. And still I sit, worrying about the magic of Christmas that may have been lost when I let my two oldest children stop believing in Santa. When I started to steer them away from the toys they so thought they wanted, while explaining the concept of landfills and sweatshops.
Tonight we will drive around looking at Christmas lights on the way to my aunt and grandma's house. The tables will be loaded with the sugariest confections you have ever seen. Crab soup will simmer on the stove, while people balance plates of food on their laps in the rooms my mom and her sisters grew up in. Hopefully two small children will fall asleep on the way home. And we will tuck the two older ones away in their beds shortly thereafter. We will quietly pull on presents from hidden corners, and pile them under a tree that is too dry for my liking. I'll wrap the presents that somehow got neglected and I'll stuff stockings and I'll eat the cookies Arlo will leave out for Santa. I might make myself a drink with Tom while I try to clean up the messes that I simply don't want in my Christmas morning pictures.
And tomorrow, when we wake up so early that it will probably not yet be bright, all the spirit I felt was missing will pour in through those open windows.