Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy First Day Of Christmas

"From the end spring new beginnings."
- Pliny the Elder

Here are some moments and memories from the Streicher family Christmas Day celebration:

^ When my girls were small, I entertained dreams of starting each Christmas morning off with a pan full of homemade cinnamon rolls, warm from the over and smothered in sticky deliciousness. As the years flew by, my spicy dreams were shattered by the cold, hard truth: Christmas mornings with young children are a free-for-all, and baked goods - especially those involving multi-day prep - are a laughably unattainable fantasy.

Luckily, my first-born shares my ideals and has lately taken on this tradition for herself. That is a yuletide win-win if ever there was.

^ Santa came! Our stockings were indeed hung by the chimney with care, including one for Ranger and one for the cats to share. Interestingly, I went ahead and hung up my third-born's stocking, even though she is spending this Christmas in Vietnam, and Santa generously filled it anyway.  What a right jolly old elf.

^ Old and new, handmade and store-bought, trendy and timeless, our Christmas tree boasts ornaments of all variety. And while we will never win any prizes for themed, color-coordinated, decor-inspired designs, we are pretty happy with all the memories that our ornaments hold. 

^ There is a special sweet Christmas moment, just before the unwrapping begins, when I take a moment to stop and look, to appreciate all the thoughtfulness and generosity that has poured forth to make this special event come together. True, giving gifts is not the reason for the season, but the love and care that those gifts symbolize matters and pausing to reflect on that theme is one of my favorite Christmas milestones.

^ Dogs love Christmas Day. There they sit, surrounded by all their favorite people, enjoying either a romp through the cast-off trimmings or an extra morning nap, depending on their age, I suppose. Ranger, distinguished elder that he is, snored pleasantly through our proceedings, and woke up near the end for a festive photo shoot. Well played, laddie.

^ While the others got a jump on our dinner preparations, my second-born and fourth-born, Ranger and I headed down to the beach. The weather was cooperative and we found a small but festive crowd of similarly minded folk also enjoying the holiday at the beach. Despite the special occasion, we entertained ourselves in all the usual beach-y ways.

^ We watched the ferries sail away.

^We walked along the shore and then up near the lighthouse,

^ We watched the ferries sail back.

^ We watched the waves roll and eddies ripple in currents across the water.

^ We stood in awe as the clouds filled the sky in threatening formations, only to drift apart and wash themselves in golden light.

^ We watched the waves crash on the rocks at high tide and shivered in our boots at the thought of its undoubtedly frigid temperatures.

^ Ranter did not share our wimpy concerns and boldly plunged in for his own polar bear swim.

^ And as we were leaving, a bald eagle soared majestically overhead. Though we are lucky enough to live in a place where we see these glorious birds all the time, it's never a small thing to watch one slide overhead, enormous wings spread as sails in the wind, circling upward on the thermals as it prepares to hunt. These are the moments that make any day worthy of celebration.

^ We arrived back home, and I noticed how our outdoor decorations stood pale and washed out against the daylight. Once the sun goes down, I know that the lights will glow warm and bright against the night, the gold ribbon on the wreaths will shine, and the strong, dark circles of evergreen boughs will appear bold and welcoming. This spirit of waiting is part of Christmas too, and even though this year's wait is over, I don't want to forget.

^ And as we passed through the front door, on our way inside to cook our Christmas feast and wind down our happy day, I was reminded that this is just the start. Christmas, at our house, is celebrated for twelve full days and that means the fun has just begun!

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Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas with me!

The Ninth Day

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