Even though I have this entire week off, I am still down to the wire for Christmas, as I am every year. Actually I think this last minute shopping and creating is what Christmas is all about. I'm totally immersed in the season and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the last minute hustle and bustle, the advent calendar countdown and especially the baking. Well, actually I love eating the baking maybe more than making it, but still...
We have several traditions at this time of the year. Each year we spend Christmas with close friends as our families are all in the far east (much like the star in the Nativity story). This year Christmas dinner will be at our house and we will be missing one very special person, but she will be with us in our thoughts and we will be having slightly burnt sausages with the turkey in her honour.
We also go to the Calgary Zoo, usually a few days after Christmas, to see Zoolights. The entire zoo is covered in lights and displays with ice carving, firepits and hot chocolate to round out the event. It can be cold, but it's always magical and brings out the child in all of us.
While I was out shopping recently I realized that something was missing and it dawned on me that I hadn't yet done one thing that I do every Christmas. We've all seen them: the red kettles manned (or womanned) by a person usually in a Santa hat. In my younger days, I remember them ringing their bells and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. While they have been silenced in some of the malls (and yes, I do miss the bells), they are still an obvious presence. Yes, I'm talking about the Salvation Army. I remember my parents always putting money in their kettles and started to do this myself when I was old enough to be out shopping for presents on my own. While Christmas sometimes seems to be all about buying, it really is about giving. Finally, this week, I was able to give in my own small way and it suddenly really seemed like Christmas.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and hope that you are blessed to be with family and friends.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!