Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hang Up The Stockings or Put Out Your Shoes

Today could not be more beautiful if it tried.  Last night snow started falling at about 10 pm--the kind that looks like powdered sugar and settles on the ground as if diamonds were just thrown about.  This morning, in the dark at 6:30, much to our surprise, there was about 4 inches of icing sugar everywhere and drives to school to worry about.  Alas, not a snow day for us rugged mid-westerners who can plough through anything!  Our backyard has been transformed--the lake that we live on froze over to the smoothest silver grey glass with not a ripple in it-a beautiful mirror creating a reverse world where all of us must be doing things backwards! And the sky is piercing blue, the color that almost hurts your eyes when you look at it while the sun has everything sparkling!  All this beauty however does mean one thing, baby--it's cold outside!  SO glad I don't have to venture out in it unless I want to! A perfect day to get ready for the upcoming holiday.  Last year at this time, I was struggling with some health issues that required major surgery and to complicate things I scheduled it for 2 weeks before Christmas.  Shopping was done on line which I had never really tried before and let me tell you--I am a convert.   Being able to click a button and "proceed to check-out" is a gift in itself.  As much as I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I find that as I get older I would rather pick and choose what I hustle and bustle over.  Like giving parties and making gifts for people and baking great things that we save just for this time of year-- like gingerbread cookies and Italian fig goodies--following an old recipe that my great aunt passed down.  Having my daughters in the kitchen with me, one helping me bake,  her twin playing DJ with the Christmas music and my youngest testing the dough is exactly what I want happening in my pre-holiday routine.  Tonight is a biggie in our world--St. Nicholas visits those of us who have been good girls and boys.  I know this isn't a tradition celebrated by everyone--perhaps my eastern European ancestors brought it with them from Prague.  My girls still love digging in to find what was left in their Minnie Mouse stockings-(Mickey for my husband).  He is the biggest baby of all.  When they were little, Polly Pockets and gummy bears were enough to keep them happy.  Now i-tunes and Starbucks cards bring smiles.  As long as no one finds a piece of coal we know it has been a good year.  

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