Thursday, December 13, 2012

Celebrating Through Loss - Making Some Changes

As some of you are aware our family lost its Matriarch this past September.  This was a woman who's life was rich, full, interesting and active until her last day.  She was the dynamo at the center of our family and she is, and always will be, missed.  The first Holiday Season without a loved one is always difficult; we are blessed with a large, functional family of people who, while they all don't live close by, love each other and enjoy each other's company.  Who could ask for more?  Not I.

So, as my better half and I contemplated this Holiday Season we found ourselves re-examining the "holidays as usual" program we've been adhering to for the past 15 plus years.  Somehow, it felt that this year we needed a change - not a return, maybe a new way to celebrate.

Every year for many years, we have been holding an Open House on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day was Family, but Christmas Eve was our "event". We'd send out a huge email, tell folks that they needn't RSVP, and that they were welcome to bring a friend, come and stay, or just drop by for a nog and to hang a decoration on our tree.  Neither one of us could envision THAT Christmas Eve for ourselves this year.  The more we talked, the more we realized that what we were trying to clarify in our minds was that we wanted Comfort.  We wanted warmth and pretty and a bit of sparkle and love.  We wanted familiar and predictable and laughter and good food and candle and fire light. We didn't want the doorbell ringing every few minutes.  We wanted to sit back, relax and soak it all in. So - what would that look like?

It didn't take long for both of us to come to a very similar conclusion:  let's investigate if some of our nearest and dearest, instead of dropping by our Open House, would be up for an evening long sit down dinner, with holiday songs playing in the background, a big sparkling tree, a long warm, groaning table and  some well, what else can you call it, "hanging out together".

We decided we needed and wanted that big hug that comes from being in the company of close friends and loved ones while having a few cocktails, eating  fabulous food, and sharing hours of conversation and laughter.

Bless them, a number of folks said yes!  The leaves will be added to the table and it will be placed in front of the fireplace (an outcome of raising two puppies at the same time leaves us with a relatively empty living room as two of our chairs spend the holidays at the upholsterers!).  We intend to look for the biggest tree we can find and we have dug out a lot of decorations and dishes and other chotchkes that we haven't used for a long time.  Somehow, seeing them is making us love them all over again.  For some reason, we've also become more obsessed than usual with natural decorations, dried  reeds, wood, handmade things, etc. It just all seems to be falling together along those lines.

For me, the lesson is to realize that loss is loss and the emotions around loss don't make a quick exit.  That said, it isn't necessary to be maudlin; to soldier through regardless.  It is necessary to be good to yourself and say, "What do I want?".  That's OK.

We can't wait for Christmas Eve!  I promise that I will share the Christmas Eve menu post event.  Some things are surprises, after all!

Enjoy the process, the preparations and the celebrations!

By the way, here's a little chart that I came across recently that I think is useful.  Lots of these spices are in heavy rotation at this time of year!  Good and good for you!


  1. Lovely! I hope it's everything you dream it to be!

    1. Thank You Snowglazed! We'll see and I'll certainly let everyone know!