Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tea and Solitude

It's Christmas Day. All the presents are opened. I've spent a couple hours looking through my cross-stitch magazines for the next project, finding a couple others that I would like to do in the process. I washed all the dishes last night, cleaned off the kitchen counters. I can make muffins and this cheesecake recipe I want to try. I bought a pizza and I think that's going to be lunch.

There's a collection of small tins of loose leaf tea in a variety of flavors sent all the way from Amber in Australia. She also sent the three Christmasy tins at the upper right. Methinks she's hinting I could be more organized.

Two pair of socks, the World of Warcraft page-a-day calendar and the Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong CD are from my daughter and son-in-law. The CD contains one of my favorite songs, "Gone Fishin'". You listen to that and you can't help but smile.

Under Pilchard is a tee shirt from Jinx, courtesy of my daughter. It's a World of Warcraft shirt in honor of their game-created holiday "Brewfest". Of course, the cat has claimed it to lie on. April and Perry sent a Steak'n Shake gift card. Maybe I should try their breakfast menu. And Santa delivered these cookie bites and "M" stickers. I am pleased.

This marks another year of spending the holiday alone. The first time I had to do it was in 2007. Carole had moved to Seattle. Working retail, she got from 6 p.m. Christmas Eve to 5 a.m. the day after Christmas to spend with her family. Hardly enough time to celebrate let alone come home to Illinois. I was lonely that first year. It wasn't how I envisioned Christmas at all, being alone with my cats.

But my attitude has changed over the years. I played World of Warcraft yesterday, in between soaking dishes. Several WOW friends expressed sadness that I would be "alone" over the holiday. Technically, I'm not alone, but, to them, the cats don't count. I'm not unhappy. Not in the least little bit.

I have wonderful memories of spending holidays with my grandmother or grandfathers. I also have wonderful memories of Christmas Eve children's pageants at church and of the bag of goodies given out after the pageant. I hope Carole has wonderful memories of Christmas Eve church services and Christmases spent at her grandparents.

We emphasize that being "together" is paramount over this holiday. The big, noisy get together with family or friends is what Christmas is all about. "OMG! How can you be alone over Christmas?" I was asked. I never really thought about it before this year. It's what my life is like. I get up when I choose. I eat what I choose and if I don't want to cook (see the above referenced frozen pizza), I don't. I open my gifts from Santa and I do what I want when I want. I'm not in anyone's way nor they in mine. I don't have to fake happiness with some extended family member giving me rum for Christmas. I can look at Mija and say, "Well, we'll see if someone wants this." (No, I did not get rum for Christmas, this year.) There's not chaos in the kitchen, overeating nor putting up with Uncle Norbert's diatribe on whatever political item has his underwear in a knot. I don't have any of that.

What I do have is a sense of peace. I would have liked snow this year, but there is brilliant sunshine instead. I have the feeling that I am cared about, loved, even. We have forced onto people the idea that this holiday HAS to be about togetherness. I don't need that. I don't need to be around others to know what this holiday means. It's about happiness and I have found that today in a cup of tea and a few gifts.

Beverage:  Edinburgh's Finest tea


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