This is the morning when in millions of homes people opening presents, and in some areas present opening was already done last night. Mostly there will be happiness, sometimes dissapointments...
For weeks I've been watching people running around like crazy, kicking each other on the metro (a brand knew pair of rosewood knitting needle minded that), fighting in long lines, and walking up and down in the shopping malls with huge bags and long lists, checking who else they have to buy for.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I am not the master of modesty, I never thought less is more. More is better for me, especially if we are talking about yarns or clothes, but Christmas?
It is a well known fact about me, that I do not like winter, in fact I despise it, I can't stand the dark, the cold, the wet, when I look out of my tenth floor wondow, my stomach churning. This also a season when so many bad things happened to me, I have been saying that I would be gladly give up Xmas and my birthday, just not to have to deal with that.
This year I felt something different. Year by year, little by little I formed holiday traditions. I refuse to get into the whirwind of shopping and running around, and this Christmas morning I feel better than I felt in decades in this day.
Those traditions? Let me see...
Long time ago, just after we came back from Miami, I baked some poppyseed cake which my father loved so much he asked for an other one for Xmas. I also have a ton of cookie recepies, some of them really special from crossing the hungarian and american traditions. That year my present to my father and family (the wife there cooks really well, but not too good with baking) was a big box of holiday cakes and cookies. My brother and family way moving the weeks before Xmas and had no time to really prepare for the celebration, and I thought since I am already here knee deep in baking why don't I surprise them with a similar box? Both was a great success, and for years I kept on sending them boxes of cakes.
As for my friends and other family... I am lucky to have friends who love crafts. Honestly, since my life is so deep in crafts I am not sure I would want to be friends who do not. Of course one cannot select their family members, but I am coming from a family of crafters where everyone appretiates handmade presents. The only one who does not? Well, there are people like that, I can undestand that. My only problem was that she did not had the gall to tell it to me, when I (trying to be good, since she does have a peculiar taste, asked what would she like), I had to hear from someone else. for a while I was thinking on some hurtingly inpersonal present, but then decided to let it go...
Anyway usually they get something handmade and a special Xmas cake for what brought the original recepie from the US, but I modified so much that it is my special recepie now.
The handmade thing? Most of them have kids or childish soul, Some year it was a red stuffed teddybear. In an other reeindreer shaped hot water bottle cover, in yet an other waldorf dolls. Handknitted socks, gloves, scarfs hats... Last year I made a felted slipper for someone.
So for this year:
My brother divorced since and my sister grew up so they get less baked stuff, but I put something handmade in there. My close friends get handmade stuff and Xmas cake.
Others with hom I am not close enough to give handmade presents get the Xmas cake.
For cooking I also refuse to get into the daylong preparations... this is the time to enjoy ourselves not to slave in the kitchen? I am making Mákos guba on the 24th and cheese fondue on the 25th. We are usually going off on the 26th no need to get prepared for that.
For other cookie baking, especially for gingerbread (we make it with honey). I have a friend whom I know for like 16-18 years, and ever since we are making a point to come toogether for a day (afternoon) before Christmas and make it toogether. She brings the dough for the gingerbread (it is never as good when I try to make it) and I am responsible for the biscotti (she cannot manage that one as good :-) each of her own, or what)
The only thing I am spending money for is to make it special for Christopher. He is reading this blog so let's just say the tree appears miracoulosly on the balkony on the morning of the 24th. We decorate it and presents are appearing while we do something else...this year while we were eating dinner...
I will come back in other posts with pictures on Christmas presents, but let me list the highlights this year I will remember fondly.
Travelling on the specially lighted tram with Chris.
Eating fried sausages with him in the middle of the advent fair in while the snow was falling on us.
The Christmas concert in his music school where he played a song with the violin.
Friends coming over to wish me happy birthday (in the holiday crazyness my birthday usually gets forgotten).
Baking the gingerbread with my friend.
Having an other friend come over late night on the 23d to exchange presents...
Catching the last bus after the movie on the 24th (public transportation stops at 3.30, but I promised a movie weeks ago to Chris).
Decorating the tree, which stood in its stand so easily (not like last year).
Walking to midnight mass holding Christopher hand, and listening him to sing all the songs...
And knowing that under the coat and sweater and baggy jeans.... he had his Xmas present Dr Who pijamas on.
Hope everone has a list like this , or longer.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.!