On Tuesday, Jason and I celebrated our 21st anniversary. Originally, we had planned to spend a weekend early in December in a remote location near a state park, where we could hike and such during the days. That all go canceled of course when Morrigan suddenly needed to come home, and we’ve had a lot of house-crazy since then (seriously – we’ve had to rip out several windows due to the incompetence of the original house builders, KB Homes, in addition to having our oven break down completely a few days before Christmas). It was destined to be a quiet anniversary.
Jason took the whole week off of work for our anniversary and Christmas, and subsequently for house projects (sigh). So on Tuesday morning, we had a lazy morning for a bit, then went out for a walk/hike at a nearby park. After that, I got to work on some house-chores while Jason got to work on house-building. We had a break in the middle for a Red Robin lunch delivered via my in-laws. The afternoon returned to various House Stuff, until it got dark and we decided to spend the last part of our anniversary together. Jason made chocolate chip waffles with orange mascarpone cream for dinner, and we ate that while listening to Christmas music and opening up our first package from the Blair Witch mystery box game. So it was a very low-key anniversary, and I’m sure we’ll plan for our quiet weekend getaway sometime later when covid isn’t surging everywhere and it’s a bit safer to go out.
Then there was Christmas. What a normal Christmas looks like for us: Lots of traditions (movies, cookies, ornament books, etc) leading up to the 24th; a Christmas Eve Day at my aunt and uncle’s house with my dad’s side of the family; an evening home celebration where we each get a single gift; Christmas morning at home; followed by Christmas morning at my mom’s house; followed by Christmas afternoon at my dad’s house; possibly followed by a day-after-Christmas gathering at my maternal grandparents’ house (though this is often reserved for NYE, where we have a big bonfire and chili potluck). It’s busy and full of family and absolutely wonderful.
This year, of course, looked nothing like it. Instead, our spread-out-covid-times Christmas looked like this:
Dec 23rd: Morrigan’s longtime girlfriend, Katy, came over in the evening, where we all sat out on the back porch with masks to do our little family Secret Santa gift swap. Then, after Katy left, we went back inside and logged on to a virtual Sibling Swap opening/reveal with Jason’s side of the family. Both gatherings were short, but nice.
Christmas Eve: Most of this day was taken up by house construction again. I went out for a festive hike in the morning with one of my hiking buddies (and her doggos), then spent the day reading while wrapped in a blanket. The house construction meant cutting a 6×5 foot hole in one wall, so it was COLD in the house! But all that gone done in time for the day’s main plans. My sister, brother-in-law, and half-sister came over for a masked, distanced fireside chat in the evening. It was quite lovely despite the cold. After they left, we went inside and played this awesome Blockbuster Video game that Jason got us for Christmas shenanigans. Then we each opened our one Christmas Eve present, and got everything ready for “Santa.” (This year’s letter to Santa from Laurence – it’s always Laurence – involved a bunch of conspiracy theories based on The Santa Claus movie.
Jason Santa’s response began with “We hungered” and ended with “so now we ho and ho and ho and ho and h–“)
Christmas Day: On Christmas morning, I woke to find Nutcracker sentinels outside my door, preventing me from leaving my room. Ha! I made sure all the Santa stuff was in place, and logged into a Zoom gathering with my other sister, whose three young boys had been up since 5:30. Got to see her whole family plus my brother, who lives in the DC area, via this Zoom for a short while before my own boys were scrambling to get to their own stockings and gifts. Normally at this point, we would travel to my mom’s house. Instead, we FaceTimed my sister (the one who was here the previous night). She and her husband (pictured above) were at my mom’s house, so we got to do a bit of gift-opening virtually. Later in the day, there was yet another virtual gathering for yet another sibling swap, this time with my siblings. (Oddly, I was far more exhausted after a day of short virtual meetups than I ever was on one of those traveling-around-to-multiple-houses Christmases!) It was nice, though, as nice as we could expect for a covid-Christmas. Here are a few pictures from throughout the day –>
Dec 26th: Two socially-distanced gatherings today rounded off the Christmas celebrations. My mom and stepdad came over to exchange gifts on our back porch in the early afternoon. Afterwards, we went over to my dad and stepmom’s house for some drinks and cupcakes and talk in their back yard. It was perfect weather for outdoor gatherings, mid-60s and sunny and breezy. Just lovely. I didn’t get any pictures from these gatherings, because I was too busy enjoying the non-virtual meetups. Let me just say that I really hope that next year, we can have a real Christmas!!