This Christmas was a new experience. It was our very first Christmas in – no plans, no parties, no family. Just us and our fur babies enjoying a holiday staycation of sorts. I thought it would be stress-free – last week I even posted about it, but I wrote that post two weeks ago (I usually try to write most things that aren’t event/time specific a few weeks in advance) and last week was a high emotions, and then somber week.
A relative passed away and for matters of privacy, I’m keeping things private. It’s hard to imagine I’ll never see this person again. She was someone who a person couldn’t meet and not be touched by. She was one of the most colorful people I have ever met (I use this word in in the best way, not a polite yet negative one). She was good to us and her family and she will be missed. It gave me and my husband comfort knowing her death, while fast and unexpected, wasn’t because of an injury or prolonged illness. She lived a long and full life (she was going to 98, and yes I get “how was it unexpected” but with the use of a walker she still got around and was very active – arguably more active and in better health than my grandmother, fifteen years her junior) and when the time came, she was with her family. It’s the best way to go, and we should all be so lucky. In this way, this death has been one of the easier ones to process, but even if these facts bring comfort, there is still sadness and it happened just a few days before Christmas.
We didn’t do any of the things we were going to do. The things we planned to bake the week before never happened. Tuesday and Wednesday, we were processing. On Thursday, I surprised my husband with a way to honor this relative. I recreated our last meal with her, which was back in May at a French Bistro she frequented. I did easy versions of everything, but there is no such thing as an easy French recipe. I also wrote down some memories I had of her, and made a photo album and got a huge Poinsettia. Thursday we could have done stuff, but neither of us wanted to do anything and we didn’t. The night was in honor of this person and we drank the wine I always remembered her having and toasted such an amazing woman, and life lived.
Friday we baked half the stuff and the rest we did on Christmas Eve. Even though we didn’t go anywhere, we both caught up on much-needed sleep so we didn’t finish wrapping each other’s gifts or preparing for our own solo Christmas until well into the morning Christmas Day. The good thing is we could sleep in – nowhere to go and we’re both a little too old to have excitement-induced insomnia because of what Santa might bring us… The bad news is my husband woke up three hours later, ready to go, inadvertently waking me up. So we got up and got ready, made cocoa and then did the stockings and gifts. Of course, we did the animals’ stockings first, and then their gifts because like real children – they’re not much for waiting. 😉
As far as the hubs and me, we both made out quite well. I got him most of the stuff on his list and then a bunch of things he didn’t ask for that he loved (two of those things were from the animals, just like he got me stuff from them too – we are hopeless saps). He was very thoughtful with me – he said he hates going “off script” because he feels my list is very predictable, but anything not on the list… it’s likely it won’t be a hit. He got it half right – whenever he goes “off script” he always knocks it out of the park (unless it’s a last minute mad dash, that is less thought and more convenience). He is really thoughtful and creative and like any decent sap – the thought resonates much deeper than the actual gift. Sometimes he has made me things, or gotten me subscriptions he thought I would enjoy. This Christmas he got me a few subscriptions geared towards professional writing and then another subscription to my guilty pleasure reading. I love them!
The rest of the day was easy. We ended up getting a bunch of different meats and cheeses and just did “fancy” sandwiches for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. My husband napped and I jealously wished I could too (my body won’t let me sleep during the day – it hates me). We also rented a few movies from Redbox – we could have gone to a movie at the theatre, but really just wanted to stay in.
Despite the somber ramp up to Christmas weekend and a few bittersweet moments, this was the best Christmas I think we’ve ever had. It was really nice to do it “just us”. Family is great, but seeing everyone (my family, and his) seems a lot less stressful before and after the holidays. I hope this is the start to a new tradition – at least until we have kids. We didn’t overdo anything and because there was no schedule – even though we were behind because of very sad events, there was no pressure to catch up. It was very “whatever” and “it will get done when it gets done”. I’ve never lived like that before and while I don’t think I could do it every day, during intense times like the holidays I have to say – it’s quite nice! 🙂
I guess now it’s back to the real world…
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! 🙂