Sunday, December 30, 2007
The five days of Christmas...
Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope this finds you and your loved ones feeling stuffed full of joy, love, and good food.
Dave and I stayed in Amsterdam this year, taking advantage of our own encouragement for folks to come vacation here. We stayed at Helen van Herengracht the whole time and enjoyed the peace and quiet of our neighborhood. Our urban neighborhood turns rural during the holidays, with empty streets, markets closed, and- a few fireworks excepted - an atmosphere like Sunday morning under a warm blanket.
Starting with Christmas Eve, we've had five days dedicated to holiday-ing and don't plan on stopping until New Years Day.
In addition to lots of cat (or dog) naps, our holiday has been filled with leisurely walks in the alley, LOTS of backgammon, many movies watched (we covered the whoe spectrum...from Elf and the Grinch to Scooby Doo Christmas special, to Muppet Christmas Carol and White Christmas), a delicious meal prepared and eaten on Christmas Eve (our Hannumas meal...a combo of both Christmas and Hannukah fare...plus some doggie pasta for 5), gifts opened (5 also got in on this...by the 3rd present, he was shredding up paper and going crazy for whatever was inside), putting together a 1000 piece puzzle (talk about leisure time!!!), and a cozy tasty dinner at Koh-i-noor, our favorite Indian take out place, on the 2nd day of Christmas (no turtle doves involved...it's what the Dutch call Dec. 26th, which is as much of a holiday as the 25th).
There was a big gaping hole in the Christmas experience that can only be filled by friends and family. But we did our best with video chats and phone calls, which in themselves seemed like Christmas miracles from so far away.
Regardless of what holidays you celebrate and how you go about it, I truly hope you had a chance to experience a touch of the magical transformative power of the holiday season. Seeing a few extra smiles on peoples' faces. Noticing the lights on the trees and in the windows. Hearing a child (or dog!) squeal with delight over a new Christmas toy. Offering a warm handshake to the Grinch around the corner and witnessing his edges soften, even if just for a moment. Finding bliss at the bottom of a cup of cocoa. Getting lost in the thought that there just might be a Santa after all somewhere in your life.
Dave and Five and I wish you the very very best for your new year. Here's hoping that 2008 is a happy and healthy one...