Christmas started yesterday evening, really, with the vigil mass at 5 pm. We got there early so Clare could practice; she cantored, and played violin for Silent Night. With the two boys as altar servers again, we were quite well represented in our small church. Then home; we ate Mexican food and settled the little ones down. Aidan went to sleep with no trouble, but was up at 5:30 trying to get everybody up. Paddy on the other hand, could not sleep until midnight but then had to be wakened the next morning.
We had our quiet family celebration in the morning; stockings laden with sweets, and then a few presents. Among them: Palestrina, Canon Tallis, Mozart and Bach CDs for Liam, plus Christopher Parkening playing classical guitar, and the Romero Brothers. Clare had asked for the Scarlet Pimpernel musical soundtrack, and she got a Burt’s Bees sampler pack and some hair clips as well. Brendan had asked for wind chimes; loud ones. He got those, as well as a pocket knife (he says he already has one, so I’m going to trade him for a pair of good scissors, since I can use a pocket knife myself). Kieron had a Lego and X Box hockey, and Sean got a wallet and X Box football. The little boys got mostly Doug and Melissa things — a letter box, and a bead patterning box, and pattern blocks, and some regular wooden blocks. The younger ones also got swords.
Then we went down to our extended-family celebrations in town, driving down from clear blue skies and snow to fog and mist. We played a gift exchange game where you draw numbers and then pick from a pool of mystery gifts. You have the option of “stealing” a gift from someone who has already picked, or of taking your chances with a new one. With 21 players of various ages and preferences, the game went quite well.
Afterwards, we went to a park so Sean’s uncle could work on football skills with him, and I called my dear friend up in Oregon whom I still miss extremely though it has been 12 years since we moved from there. I am glad the first day (!) of Christmas is over, and the most challenging one. From this point on it seems like the year winds down, though it is more accurately UP since the winter solstice has passed and the days are lengthening. Either way, one season has passed and another has begun.
While the children ate their candy and played with their Christmas gifts, I moved through the house leisurely putting things to rights, throwing away trash (burning it when possible), straightening, making room for new things and putting away old things. There is closure in this. It was something I was having a difficult time doing the past couple of weeks, but now it seems easy and pleasant and natural.