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“Are you ready for Christmas?” seems to have become the standard holiday greeting, as though kindly store clerks and my fellow moms are wondering if I’ve prepared for the big meeting or finished my taxes. Personally, I miss the days of more joyful holiday wishes. Besides, organization has never been my strong suit; so being reminded of all the work I still need to do cuts deeply.
I take comfort in the fact that my family’s done all the most important things like watch Christmas movies with the kids and bake cookies. The tree we cut down ourselves stands twinkling in the living room. We’ve seen family and gone to recitals. I’ll get to the shopping, eventually. I hope. read more »
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I (really) love to put out a spread of great food and drink, but the last few times I’ve hosted a big party, I’ve felt like I spent the whole party taking coats, mixing drinks, getting appetizers from the oven to the serving tray, instead of actually, y’know, spending time with all these people I like, So lately, as part of my ongoing quest for more meaningful interactions, I’ve been throwing smaller parties of four or five where I really have the time to enjoy the festivities. A few close friends, some good food, and a couple great bottles of wine is always the best.
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Elizabeth and I spend hours each December discussing which version of A Christmas Carol is best (This year I’m kind of leaning toward the Muppets one?). It’s a tough choice because they all have their moments. But the 1951 version is in the running for me every year because of the Cratchit family’s reaction to the goose Bob’s bought –– the sheer joy of a family in tough times savoring a simple pleasure gets me misty every time. I’ve always wanted to get in on some of that Christmas goose joy. But the Christmas goose is a weird thing.
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A few weeks back, I took a press tour of Bold Rock Cider. Our group of journalists, writers, and bloggers visited the Bold Rock cidery, tasted some of their offerings, and met John Washburn and Brian Shanks of Bold Rock, as well as Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore who was there to kick off Virginia cider week. Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry by a mile and it’s crucial to the state’s future, so it was great to hear Secretary Haymore discuss his stewardship of the state’s agriculture. The focus of the evening, of course, was Virginia apples, so a host of growers and cider producers were also in attendance. read more »
Last Saturday, we picked up our Christmas tree. Brian wanted to drive to the nice in-town place where we got a tree last year, but heading out to the country to chop down our own was very high on my things-to-do-now-that-we-don’t-live-Brooklyn wish list, and because he could see I had my heart set on it, we drove south to a tree farm. As we crossed the county line south of town, I realized that the “just over the river” place I’d picked was actually 30 miles past the river –– over winding backcountry roads of varying degrees of pavedness through the rain-soaked Virginia hills and forests shrouded in fog. We arrived, were given instructions by a kind older man with a very specific central Virginia accent that is best described as Southern meets Canadian. We set out to find our tree and after some slogging through wet fields selected a Norway spruce. Instead of chopping, Brian sawed it down with a dull hacksaw. After we carted it back, paid, and tied it to the car, we happily made our way home, stopping at our favorite rural pizza place (our favorite pizza in Virginia!) on the way back.
But in the backdrop of all this merriment, are a few stressors. read more »
I’m pretty sure that the work week after Thanksgiving is the longest of the year. And this one, especially. Christmas preparation and hard news are a strange and terrible combination.
Brian and I have been staying up late discussing the week’s news, exchanging links, and sharing social media discussions. After such a long, heavy kind of week, I’m looking for holiday escapism –– getting our tree, ice skating, making cookies, and all that. But first, my weekend links. read more »