Since 1975 we have always had our children home. In 2011 we had a magical Christmas in what is now our former home on the mountain overlooking Roanoke, Virginia.
We had a wonderful old-fashioned tree and even got snowed in for a day or so. All our children and our granddaughter were with us. We even made peanut brittle and played rook. Both are holiday traditions in our family.
We knew this year would be different. We sold our Roanoke home and suspected that it would be harder to get together given the longer drive to our coastal home. It turned out that illness not distance kept our children at their respective homes.
My wife and I ended up spending Christmas alone. She wrapped up a bag of peanuts in the shell for me and I declared a box of chocolates that I got at the drugstore her present. By some measures this was a stress-less Christmas. There was no series of holiday meals to orchestrate and clean up. There was no last minute panic to wrap presents.
We had a pleasant day. I went kayaking and and enjoyed the warmth of temperatures in the mid-sixties. This nice weather has been lingering here on the Crystal Coast for weeks and it made for a very pleasant Christmas day. I thought that I might be stuck in our inlet but the weather was so nice that I spent most of my time in the middle of our big coastal river, the White Oak.
Our neighbors invited us over for dinner and we had a wonderful meal and a good time watching their grandchildren play with their new toys.
It was probably the most relaxed Christmas that we have celebrated since we got married. It was a little easier since we had just spent four days with two of our three children and our granddaughter.
I ended up filming three Christmas services at our church. By the time I had edited the first movie for our church's cantata and turned it into a DVD, the Christmas spirit was well entrenched in my mind.
My early morning hikes around our subdivision haven't even been interrupted by all those holiday breakfasts that I enjoy cooking for everyone.
While this is a break from the normal, I am happy that this is just a temporary situation. One year off from all the holiday excitement will just make next year's celebration that much more special.
Thankfully our weather has changed and brought some frost with it. The holidays are now almost over. I would rather have winter now than in the spring. It is time to get on with winter or we will never get to tomato season and when the fish are biting again.