Saturday, December 24, 2005

Shhhh, It's Christmas

When I was young, before my dad moved to Oregon, I spent every other Christmas at his house. Early in my adolescence, he began a tradition of reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol aloud, in its entirety, on Christmas Eve. My then-stepmom chose not to participate (which was fine by me), so my dad and I took turns reading alone on the living room couch near the all-red Christmas tree, drinking egg nog the whole time so that our tongues stuck to the roofs of our mouths as we read. On years when I was with my mom, I guess they listened to Patrick Stewart reading it on tape. My dad moved when I was fifteen, so I think we only actually read it together twice. In fact, I can only remember one time clearly, but if there were two times, they would look the same in my memory, so I may have compounded them into one.

I was just sitting in the dying light in my living room, listening to Diana Krall's homesick Christmas music and rolling yarn into a ball so that I'll be able to crochet cozily at Eric's parents' house this weekend. And I suddenly felt sick with wanting to reclaim my dad's short-lived tradition. Christmas will be fun this year, but loud and busy. I love Eric's family, but it's incredibly different from my own small, still family. There are so many people with such raucous senses of humor that I'm afraid it will be impossible to cultivate the quiet warmth that is my feeling of Christmas spirit. I think most of the family is showing up tomorrow, but we'll be leaving presently. So tonight maybe I can convince Eric to rent a version of A Christmas Carol (or find one on his parents' zillion satellite channels) and find a quiet enough corner to snuggle and watch it.


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