Where did Christmas go?
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I don’t know why it is, but it seems time speeds up during the holidays, or disappears, even — you’re one place, then you’re another, and another, and you keep going even when you get to feeling worn out. I remember at some point this week it was midnight and I was trying so hard to keep my eyes open as I finished wrapping the last of the gifts. And another moment I was trying to pull on some rather plain gray tights so I might stay warm under my fancy dress and I lost my balance and wanted to just curl up there on the bed and sleep awhile. And another moment when I found myself covered with wrapping paper and surrounded by hollering children and I thought I might just pass out with joy and weariness right there on the floor.
It’s the in-between time now, before New Year’s Eve, and my mother says to me over the phone, “Where did Christmas go? It happened so fast.” It did, like any other beautiful thing that comes and goes in a life. It’s there and gone, and all that’s left is red and silver glitter all over the house, as if something magical happened since the last time someone vacuumed. Something meaningful, and lovely, and you can only take it with you in your memory. It’s like trying to hug a reflection, photograph an eclipse, describe the fall of snowflake. There and gone.
Perhaps that’s why we take so dang long to say goodbye to each other. You can count on half an hour at most dinners, and I confess I timed the goodbye at our large family gathering, and it was upwards of an hour and a half, from “Well, we should get going” to the actual closing of the car doors. It’s so cold out there, and we don’t know when we’ll see each other again, and, frankly, just being together all crammed down in the family room with the fire going and plates of chocolate cherry bars on the end tables and the tree on and the gift opening and laughter and stories of past Christmases is pure joy. Of course we don’t want it to end; we have finally found each other again.
It did go fast. So will the rest of vacation. And so will the next year. In the meantime, let us make plans for another gathering, and another, and another after that. Christmas will return in no time, as it does, and in the meantime, I think I’ll wait awhile to vacuum up all that red glitter. Let it sparkle awhile.
Here’s exactly the right recipe for New Year’s Eve, or the Next Football Game. Have some before things get going, and again after, though you’ll have to make two batches.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
8 oz cream cheese
4 oz buffalo hot sauce
4 oz ranch dressing
6 oz shredded cheddar
8 oz cooked chopped chicken breast
Mix ingredients together and microwave on high for a minute or so. Remove and stir. Microwave on high again until dip is hot.
Serve with Fritos or crackers or chips.