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On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me several inches of snow, and leaving work two hours early to get home ahead of the second wave of frightfulness.

This will teach me to pay better attention to weather forecasts.  This morning I specially set my alarm to wake up early, since I thought I would need the extra time to get to work.  Except when I looked out the window at 6 am, there was only a slight dusting of white on the ground.  So I decided that the weathermen were alarmists, the much hallooed-about blizzard was not going to materialize after all, and I now had plenty of time to get ready for work.  So I dawdled along until 6:45, when I happened to look out the window again, and noticed that my car was now in a fair way to get buried, and the roads were covered with slippery wet stuff.  So I quickly finished getting ready, decided that I didn’t have time to root out my snow boots (yeah, that was my second mistake), and got out the door for work.  And with some significant luck and grace (Dear 2nd gear: thank you), I made it.  Which then brought up the problem of how I was going to get home again…

Thankfully, my boss (who did not come in today herself), let me know that she was just fine with me leaving early.  So when I saw a break in the forecast, I decided to jump on it.  I’m glad that I did.  It’s now coming down thick outside again, and I am deeply grateful to be safe and warm inside with nowhere else I need to go.  Until tomorrow morning, anyway, when I will need to head for work again (oh, the woes of not having enough PTO!).  But hopefully the storm will be well over by then, and the roads will be much more clear.

Meanwhile, so far it’s been a lovely Christmas.  Christmas Eve was very full, but everything came off well.  Even the decorations at Mom & Dad’s house turned out beautifully, even if we didn’t have much time to get them up in.  The picture at the head of this post is of their magnificent nativity set, with the twenty million figures, the lights behind the blue velvet backdrop, and my innovation this year, snowflakes hung from curly willow branches tucked behind the stable.  Well, the branches were Indy’s idea – they were left over from the gorgeous floral arrangements she put together.  (It is our family tradition dating to when I lived with my grandmother to have gorgeous flowers, particularly roses, in the house at Christmas, and no one does flowers quite like Indy.)  But I decided to cut out some tiny snowflakes and hang them from the slenderest ends of the branches.  The prettiest and most delicate snowflakes, however, are left over from those cut other years by Mariah, AnniPotts, and Indy.  I’m pretty good at snowflakes, but they make me look like a Kindergartner with a pair of safety scissors!

It was decidedly odd doing Christmas stockings so early, but a lot of fun nonetheless.  I had Mr. T’s stocking this year, and filled it with various goodies wrapped in men’s undershirts (it’s what he asked for).  He seemed to like that pretty well.  Boy-O had my stocking, and filled it with Bengal’s logo hot pads (exactly what I needed), a fake mustache, and silly string (I’ll find a use for those too).

My favorite stocking, though, was Sweet Pea’s.  She loves orange things, and things that are the right size and shape for her to throw, particularly now that she can crawl after them.  So when I saw a tiny beanbag pumpkin on super sale after Thanksgiving (similar to this, except no fangs), I picked it up for her stocking.  I figured that, although Sweet Pea wasn’t born last year when we were picking names for this year’s stockings, our family is so enthusiastic about the various babies that surely it would be only one of many gifts.  But I was wrong.  Apparently, not only did no one else think to pick up anything for Sweet Pea, but we didn’t even have a stocking for her.  So Mom quick pulled out a pair of fuzzy socks, I tucked the pumpkin down in the toe, and filled the rest of the stocking with clementines.  And wow, you have never seen a baby’s face so filled with delight as when Sae helped her pull out clementine after clementine, and then the tiny stuffed pumpkin (which was looking very clementine like by that point) at the bottom.  She played ecstatically on the floor for the whole rest of the time we were doing stockings, mouthing the clementines before tossing them away from her and then retrieving them again.

I think my other favorite part of Christmas this year was Midnight Mass at St. Anthony’s.  It was everything that Midnight Mass should be: lights and candles and pine and carols and organ and incense, and all the glory of Christmas come at last.  It seems that this is no secret.  I got there at 11:36, and I was lucky to find a parking spot.  But it was worth getting there half an hour early.  Among other things, the choir sang For Unto Us A Child Is Born, part of Handel’s The Messiah.  I don’t know how it is that I haven’t listened to The Messiah yet this Christmas season.  It’s one of the things that makes it Christmas for me.  So that was wonderful to hear.  And then after Mass the choir sang us out the doors with the Hallelujah Chorus.  It was glorious.  I’ll always be glad that Pippi gave me the excuse to go.  I think I’m going to have to make sure I go back next year, no matter how tired I am the next day.

Thankfully, Christmas isn’t over yet.  We still have Family Movie Night to look forward to, and Mom & Dad’s Anniversary, and Family Gift Giving Day, and then Extended Family Presents.  I’ve got almost all of my immediately family gifts done – just a few doll clothes, the presents for the babies, and another item for my main family present to make, and then I’m done.  The presents for my aunts & uncles are mostly done, except for Uncle S’s sweater.  There’s no way that’s getting done in time, but that’s ok.  If there were actually a chance that I could finish it, I’d feel pressured to try, but since there’s no way even I can knit half a sweater in five days, while also finishing my other projects, working, and getting enough sleep to not be a zombie, I feel just fine about wrapping up the bits that are done and giving those.

Merry Christmas!  I hope all of you are safe and warm this Christmas season!