Christmas, 2020.

Like most folks, we were trying to have a semi-normal Christmas in the safest manner possible. Most years we end up having several big family gatherings of varying sizes. Last year was a banner year: four get-togethers greatly aided by temperatures in the 60s most of the week. Two days we were in the front yard hitting golf balls.

We could have used that weather this year. Christmas Eve, the windchill was down in the low teens. I made a quick run to the grocery store first thing and did not enjoy the 30 seconds I had to be outside. There would be no hitting golf balls this year! Or eating outside, as we did back on Thanksgiving.

We hosted the single family gathering of the week, a dinner on Christmas Eve. We kept it fairly brief, and a couple households dropped out because of sick kids. Still, I won’t lie and say I wasn’t nervous about bringing 15 folks together for a couple hours.

Christmas morning was just us and the in-laws. S had to round on babies for the first time in several years, so I actually got to sleep in a little. Well, I heard her leave and got up at 7:00 to have a few moments of peace and quiet. It had snowed overnight – less than an inch – but the ground was white for the first time in three Christmases. I started waking the girls up at 8:15 which might be a new Christmas morning record.

Each girl had a theme to their gifts this year. M asked for clothes. C, things to decorate her room. L, stuff for her gaming.

M got those clothes and some pink Chuck Taylors. C got a mirror, floating shelves, and some wall organizing stuff from Ikea. L got new headphones, a microphone stand, and a macro control deck. They all seemed pleased.

No Christmas morning brunch or afternoon dessert gathering for the entire family. I still made two breakfast casseroles but with only us, my in-laws, and my mother-in-law’s two daughters eating them I’m still working on leftovers Monday morning.

From there it was a quiet Christmas weekend. I watched several movies and finished a good book. S and her step-mother watched most of Bridgerton. The girls chilled in their rooms with their own devices.

It was kind of boring, to be honest. Although there is a part of me that dreads all the Christmas gatherings and all the stresses and inevitable sibling bickering that comes with them,[1] this Christmas felt a little empty without them. Once the presents were opened and the breakfast eaten, it was just another cold, winter weekend. I’m already wishing for April and the early warmth of spring.

Hopefully this is a one-year diversion from the standards of the season, and when the 2021 holidays roll around, we can get back to normal.

  1. From siblings young and old.  ↩