Christmas Week in Full Swing

Nikayla and dragon

Brigid places a dragon on Nikayla, who doesn't mind as long as there are gifts to upwrap!

Sometimes, Christmas can become a bit of an ordeal, particularly in families where multiple branches must be visited in a few days, so that the day itself becomes less of a quiet family holiday and more like a carefully choreographed campaign—leave house at 0900, grandmas at 1030 to 1130, Uncle Eddy’s from 1200 to 1330, other grandma and grandpa from 1645 to 1750 ….


Although being a professor is not as relaxed a gig as outsiders sometimes seem to assume—just ask most profs how they feel near finals week when the hours per week seem to exceed 60—but it does definitely have its advantages. Time off around Christmas is one of them. And a perk of advancing years is for our home to become a destination, so that we live in the place that’s over the river, through the woods and down I-380, where people’s Toyotas know the way through the white and drifting snow.

Today, we hosted the Sheller family get together. Sadly, Anne was unable to travel this far, and Toni had to work, but 5 of us were there. A few from the next generation and the one after made it, too—it was fun to have some bumbling toddlers around. We had a 16 to 14 player game of “Scum” going for a while, and that was fun, too.

It’s nice to have the holiday get together be informally and fairly relaxed. It seems that Christmas for me has almost expanded into a weeklong series of events, but that’s OK, since the events seem pretty low key. Toni will be over Christmas day and we’ll see Katy and Wyatt and Brandon and Theresa in the next few days—and we got to Skype Amanda this morning, and hope that she enjoys her Christmas trip in the UK.

Tuesday, I played with the Mount Mercy University bell ensemble at the annual staff Christmas party, and that party is something I always look forward too. It’s always a treat to hear Carolyn play the pipe organ in Stello Hall, and the meal afterwards is a relaxing time to chat and eat cookies.

Sledding group

Katy, Nikayla, me and Tristan

Tuesday afternoon, when I got home, Tristan and Nikayla were over, sledding in the back yard.

I’ve always thought a pristine field of snow, while it can be pretty, is not as cozy as a stretch of snow with angels, sled tracks, a fox and goose course, half destroyed snow forts amidst spent snow ammo, snow people and all other messy evidence of snow play. It’s good that the grandkids are already learning that snow is not something you curse or avoid—it’s something you take advantage of and play in. May that be their lifelong attitude.

Anyway, Toni, Anne, we missed you and thought of you—and of all the many others in the next generations. Everyone, family and friends, may your Christmas be merry and bright. Even if not all of your Christmases are white.

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5 responses to “Christmas Week in Full Swing

  1. Toni

    Aw, I wish I could have been there! Thanks for posting so quickly!

  2. Cate Sheller

    Blog Joe, blog!
    So how come the picture of Brigid putting a dragon on Nikayla’s head isn’t captioned? Are you worried about the blog hits such a phrase might attract?

    • crgardenjoe

      WordPress is nice, but editing photos is hit and miss. I thought I had captioned the dragon photo, and will try again. And I expected some hassling from you over my typo that refers to “angles” in the snow when I meant “angels.” That’ll be corrected too.

  3. Katy

    I think unless we get a sudden boiling temp heat wave, we have no fears of not having a white christmas…

  4. Anne

    We had a somewhat patchy white Christmas on the south coast of Ohio. I roasted a turkey Christmas Eve – given by the store, and that was the day that fit my work schedule best. Didn’t sing at Midnight Mass, didn’t even go; I had a cold, bad cough and sore throat. Christmas day I disassembled the turkey – 8 baggies of meat and 7 pint tubs of turkey broth now are in my freezer.

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