Like yours, our family starts celebrating Christmas long before the 25th. The bigger the family and the older we get, the longer it takes to fit in all the traditions and celebrations we’ve established over time.
Our Macy/Williams side began with its annual brunch feast at The Jory, a restaurant associated with The Allison, a local resort and spa. We have to reserve early in order to win the private room that seats all 12 of us at one table.
We always stop and take a big breath while a long line of accurately ordered servers carrying our food parade around our table and place steaming plates simultaneously in front of each family member. As they leave I resolve that next year I will be prepared to capture this phenom on film.
John Macy always comes prepared with his camera and tripod to document one year of change in our appearance.
These cousins (Will, Brynn, Lincoln, Oscar, Sage—clockwise) spend a lot of time together and adore each other just like the picture implies.
John Williams with Oscar. Rachel’s absence from this photo in no way illustrates her absence from our thoughts and hearts, especially at times like this.
Linsey and Pete, Lincoln and Will Macy
Erin and John, Brynn and Sage Macy
I’ll update the Family in Photos page after I post this. It includes family updates.
The parental units.
Our family celebration then continues at John and Erin’s house for a “stocking” exchange.
It was so fun to see this displayed in a prominent place in their new home.
It as also fun to watch Lincoln master the balance board we gave him.
Soonafter, we saw it on social media repurposed as a foot rest.
Still a traveling musician, Mauri has minimized his travel gear to carry in with one trip: guitar, stool, and amp. In days of yore, he hauled a trailer full. We’re heading in to Friendsview Retirement Community to provide some Christmas cheer for the Parkinson’s support group.
We got to pick up the girls from school, a two-block walk away, and entertain them until their parents reclaimed them. I include this so you can see our tree and lights. Another area to minimize/simplify.
Leading up to Christmas, I’m sent (or snag from social media) pictures from far-away family. Here’s Beth with Avery, Emery, and Declan—and that jolly guy too. I had to narrow my photo choices because Beth, not wanting her kids to miss anything, took them on at least one Christmas outing every single day.
The Carlson family at Beth’s parents’ home.
Here’s another batch of cousins, grandchildren belonging to Beth’s parents, Tim and Trish. Yes, they represent two sets of twins with a recent announcement that another set of twins, this time boys, will become brothers to that sweet, unsuspecting boy in the middle.
After a retirement absence of four years, Mauri again led the handbell choir at NFC’s Christmas Eve services. They played great! [Apologies for cutting out one top-row ringer; I guess I was making sure the director got in the photo as they rehearsed.] I helped Mauri lead the singing portion of the services, preempting my ability to take other pictures.
Meanwhile, the Anderson clan filled one whole row at one of Redemption Gateway’s Christmas Eve services down in Arizona.
Next Christmas Eve, services will be held in their brand new facility. We might need to plan ahead . . .
This new tradition awaited us after our second service. I had to go back to the invitation to tell you what it’s called. Charcuterie, pronounced SHär’koodərē. Got it? This one’s an expanded version that includes more than meats.
We were happy to be included in this new tradition (replacing one that had reached its appropriate closure) that includes our kids’ family and friends.
This photo of two enthusiastic sis-in-law cooks instantly sent me back to 2005, when I caught this one:
I tell ya—I’d like to meet anyone who loves her pictures more than I love mine.
And—poof—it was Christmas morning, when Mauri and I and of course Darcy enjoyed some traditions of our own. How does she know that present is for her?
She got one-on-one attention from her adoring master, a sun-shiny walk through the George Fox campus and a rest on this picturesque porch.
And on Christmas evening we were, yes, eating again! Lighting inspired by hygge, pronounced HUE-gah! John and Erin have a lovely new home with lots of space that allows us to all eat around one table and other gathering spaces that allow us to . . .
. . . assemble a puzzle!
Sage stayed with it start to finish! She even found the three missing pieces that had slipped under the sofa.
I sure love the camaraderie element of puzzle work!
The day ended viewing with videos and photos of our Carlson littles reacting to Santa’s generosity and a peek at them playing with the gifts we sent.
Then today, two days after Christmas, FedEx delivered a bonus gift—three layers of Christmas temptation. Thankfully, the sender was clearly marked on the box. Two gifts came this year without identifying the giver. One mystery has since been solved,
…but this gift will go unacknowledged. Unless, of course, it’s from you, my dear friend. You’ll let me know, right?
Thus ends my up-to-the-minute Christmas report. Now we move toward New Years. By then Mauri will be settled out at Twin Rocks for Sabbath by the Sea while I keep the home fires burning with the dog. There’s plenty to do here, even for one newly retired. One luxury is time to reread all the letters we received from you and others who don’t follow this blog. I love communicating with friends and family by any means possible and look forward to all opportunities 2019 holds. You will no doubt be included in many of these connections.
I’ve been writing a Christmas greeting since 1971, the year Quinn was born. Like with this blog, I use my notebook of letters for reference because the memory I carry around in my head sometimes needs a little assistance. On my list for the months ahead is to scan all the letters and then update it until I can’t anymore. HERE’S the one I’ll tack on to the end.