I dabbed at my eyes as I hung up the phone. The quiet hum of my apartment was quickly replaced with the melancholy vocals of Karen Carpenter’s “Merry Christmas, Darling.” It would be a merry Christmas, just different.
“The greeting cards have all been sent, the Christmas rush is through. But I still have one wish to make, a special one for you ...” she crooned.
My greeting cards had not all been sent. Or made out for that matter, but I was working on it. At a very leisurely pace.
I had just called my aunt to get her address and catch up for a minute. It had been a while since I’d spoken with her and I was feeling a bit guilty. We were never really a phone-call family, we always caught up at family gatherings; which as I grew up were fewer and farther between. And now that my grandparents are gone, it’s harder to get together.
This year we decided to spend the holidays with our respective family units. There are a lot of thoughts and feelings and mixed emotions about this. As the one cousin without a spouse and kids, I felt kind of weird about it. What do I do? Where do I go? The obvious answer is my parents’ home. But that question opened up a world of opportunity for me. What do I want my holidays to look like?
Last month, The News ran a section on Christmas memories and a lot of our subscribers shared their holiday traditions. And I loved it. I loved hearing what you, my dear Henry County friends, do to celebrate. And so my wheels started spinning.
Do I want to get away for the holidays and go someplace warm? Do I want to go somewhere I know I’ll have a winter wonderland to wake up to on Christmas morning? Maybe someplace I can learn to ski?
Do I want to create my own recipe for cider of eggnog? No, definitely not eggnog. I’m sorry, but that stuff is gross.
Do I want my home to be a gathering place? Do I want to bring my loved ones together under my Seven-foot tree and delight them with my hostess abilities and create memories that will last a lifetime. Yes. Yes, I do.
So this year I thought I’d start small. I mean, I have to because most of my friends have their weekends until Christmas booked solid and I only have two chairs in my apartment. But all traditions have to start somewhere. So I invited my parents to my apartment for Christmas, where we can sit next to my Seven-foot Christmas tree — them in chairs and myself on the floor — and I can test out my culinary skills. And next year, I can plan ahead, get the invitations out and maybe even invest in a few new chairs.
But for right now, I’ll just turn up the volume to The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait and finish writing my Christmas greetings.