Our family celebrated Christmas last Friday, that would be Friday, January 7th. In the evening. After my husband returned home from work. We had the unexpected advantage that it snowed most of the day—giving us a white Christmas.
We had predetermined that the holiday would be a different kind of event this year, and decided to go to Tampa for several days. I wanted a direct flight someplace warmer, (another unusual request) with a short drive when we arrived. Airbnb served up a two bedroom condo right on the beach at Treasure Island. We had the fortunate bonus of having dinner with dear friends in Bradenton on Christmas itself! (And we mostly didn’t invite ourselves.) This was meant to be a time for our family of four to have the luxury of time together, walks on the beach, meals outside. Except, like so many others, our younger daughter was part of the many thousands quarantined in London, along with her likewise covid positive roommates. Our friends’ son, too, was quarantining in NYC at a covid hotel (a really awful sounding term, but a brilliant idea), where nurses checked in twice daily and meals were delivered three times. Cabin fever quickly overtook feeling ill for each of our offspring and we chatted on What’s App, the best alternative to being in person.
Our daughter was able to move her flight to be able to return home on the 28th, as we did, but both daughters had preset plans for the next several days. So we set our own holiday out until January 7th. I have not seen the kind of delight on my older daughter’s face when she learned that the school where she teaches would be closed that Friday because of the anticipated storm, in many years. So we had the bonus of being home with my younger daughter throughout the day. Although we all did some work in the morning, the afternoon brought shoveling, hot cider and anticipation of our family Christmas.
Once my husband arrived, we warmed up the cinnamon bread our friends had delivered in their pre-Christmas tradition, and we had frozen, to save for this time. We skipped the stockings but enjoyed the events and gifts we had chosen for each other, followed by dinner (Taco Friday-a first) and a movie together.
Like so many, our good time was not on the day itself. But it was no less fun. One of the slim silver linings to this pandemic is so many of us learning that we can be flexible with when and how we celebrate and enjoy one another. Of course it’s great to gather on the exact day. But with necessity offering up other weekends, or weekdays, who are we to turn away from these opportunities? My hope is that I can remember this in the future, even when reasons other than covid demand that our loved ones be away from home on an expected holiday. We played Christmas music, wore Santa hats, and watched our dog try to cuddle close to the gas fireplace. Happy holidays to all of you who have yet to gather your families in whatever fashion works for you!