Celebrating the luminosity of Christmas

We rarely all gather, my two brothers, their wives, their children, my daughter, my granddaughter (at her dad’s), and me. Even though we all live in the Austin area, each family has its own lives and interests. But on Christmas eve, we gather, and it’s very sweet.

We come together, catch up on each person’s news, enjoy a feast we prepare and share, give and receive gifts, and play games, then we separate back into our separate lives, staying in touch about important stuff, until we gather again the next Christmas eve.

We see each other not quite enough — enough to feel deep pleasure when we do gather, but not so much that we get entangled in differences in values about politics, lifestyle, and whatever else may sometimes seem to accentuate our differences from others.

Most enlightening for me last night: watching my brother Will and my other brother Frank’s daughter Grace, age 13, take turns doing silly card tricks.

Oh, and by the way, I got the best white elephant gift of all, a package of “Party Rats, colorful rodent lights for your fingers –Ideal for NIGHT BLOGGING. Whether you’re dancing at a rave with a few hundred of your closest friends, or plugging in for some night blogging, Party Rats are the fun way to have fun!” You slip them on your fingers, flip the switch, and voila! Colored lights shine forth from your fingers.

Watch out, y’all, for some wild and crazy night blogging!

The other funny white elephant gift was a beautiful basket filled with canned ham, Spam, Velveeta, Cheez Whiz, and other highly processed nonfood items. Will put that together, and Frank ended up with it. He’s planning to regift it to someone at work. Ha!

The night before I also gathered with relatives, at Artz Rib House. My daughter and I met up with (I need a list for this roll call):

  • my third cousin John (the instigator — our great-grandparents were siblings), age 77
  • my late mother’s first cousin Wren (my second cousin and the last of that generation in my family), age 93 (still quite lucid and driving)
  • John’s daughter Heather and her husband Michael
  • their six children Elena, Peter, Lidia, Mark, Nina, and Luke Rocco, who range in age from 11 to 2 months

Most fun for me Thursday night: watching my daughter interact with those adorable children, watching them hang all over her, making silly faces for the camera! She needed that.

Since my daughter grew up and left home, I love having absolutely no obligations on Christmas day. It makes it truly a holy day. I get to do all the family stuff before Christmas and have this day to myself (or not, if I choose).

Christmas is a fantastic day to get out in nature and go for a long, leisurely walk, if the weather permits. Crunch on leaves, see bare trees, hear the birds, feel the cold rocks, experience the earth laid bare in winter. Today, with temps still in the 30s and very gusty winds, probably not.

Christmas is also a good day for going out to a movie, an increasingly rare occurrence with Netflix. What would you go see? I’m up for True Grit, The King’s Speech, or The Social Network, if anyone else is up for going out.

If not, I could be perfectly content to stay in, snuggle with my cat, cook, eat, and read. Throw in some reiki, yoga, meditation, Facebook, and it adds up to sweet serenity.

Wishing you peace, moments of stillness, being centered, and delight.

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