Ah, the holidays! Some of my best memories are of Christmas with my family. Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday. It was always a Big Deal in our house, with the tree going up shortly after Halloween and the whole house getting decorated to some extent. It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun, too.
Mom would start baking around Thanksgiving, starting with the two pumpkin pies she always made (one for us and one for a neighbor) and continuing through the season with a batch or two of cookies per week, depending on demand. Mom would sometimes make different sweetbreads, too – pumpkin, cranberry, or poppyseed – from a Pillsbury mix, or maybe an apple or pumpkin cake. As I got older, I wanted to help with the cookies and I got quite good at it if I do say so myself. We stuck with the holiday classics: chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies. The most creative we got, I believe, was varying the chocolate candy we used to decorate the peanut butter ones. No matter – it was always fun and delicious!
Our favorite day to decorate was the Saturday after Halloween. That is, until Star Trek: Deep Space Nine went off the air! Mom and I would spend the entire day cleaning and decorating, and then fall onto the sofa just in time to watch a new episode of our favorite Trek series. Even after the series ended, we would watch “canned DS9” after our decorating binge via our small collection of episodes recorded on VHS.
I am a Pagan, and have been for a long time. Yule and Christmas have borrowed so much from one another, it’s actually hard to tell which one is being celebrated. The only difference for me is that my decorations won’t ever include angels or nativities – I like deer and Santas and kittens and dolls in Victorian dresses. My favorite tree ornaments are actually dragons! And you know, for a Pagan, I sure own a lot of Christmas music…
We don’t actually decorate at Casa de Lucard. There are several reasons for this, chief among them being lack of storage space. I had a small tree and a box of decorations, some of them fairly old, when I moved to northern Virginia, but sadly they had to be left behind at my parents’ because we simply had nowhere to store them during the off season. A tree would be a difficult thing to have with the rabbits anyway; they’re not dumb enough to gnaw my fake tree, but they would enjoy eating the light cords very much – very dangerous all the way around. My parents are using my smaller tree this year so at least it has a good home. And then Husband doesn’t really care about any holiday other than Halloween. So I have a few holiday related items on my desk at work, and I’ve set out my Christmas Yankee Candles at home, and that’s really it.
Do I miss the tree and lights and decorations and the baking? Yes. I didn’t feel it so much last year because things were happier and I got to visit my parents the first weekend of December. But 2012 has been such a bad year for us, that the lack of jolly holiday decoration has me feeling a bit blue.
I can’t go see Mom and Dad either. In addition to not being comfortable abandoning my husband and his sick rabbit for a weekend, my cat, Shelly, has now been diagnosed with hyperthyroid and gingivitis. Monday she has to have a tooth extracted and we’ll consult with her vets about her long-term treatment. It would seem that 2012 is determined to get a few last hard licks in before the end.
There are a lot of things I’d like to do – a black tree to go with my black velvet stocking; lace garland; Victorian-inspired ornaments alongside my dragons and engraved ornaments…maybe someday.
We missed our neighborhood’s tree lighting ceremony this year because of the United States Postal Service (a long story). The event is mostly for children, honestly, with carriage rides and jugglers, free hot cider, and live music. But given that I don’t have a tree of my own…I hate that I missed it. I won’t be attending my company’s Holiday Party this year either. Even if Husband wanted to go, it would be a pain with Chewie’s feeding schedule. I don’t feel like going by myself.
We do have a ton of other holiday-themed activities planned for December that we can work around Chewie. Last weekend we attended a Victorian style Music Hall Show at a little comedy club in the mall right behind my office. It was put on by the same folks who bring us the Maryland Renaissance Festival, so I was actually surprised they chose that location. I knew I would love it – and I did! There was singing and dancing and magic, and one very talented lady who played about four instruments with the Pirates Royale. Even Husband thought it was cute and fun. Victorian-inspired and Steampunk garb was encouraged, but I was very sad to see only a handful of people dressed up. I didn’t get any photos (we had to get home and feed Chewie) but I wore my long lace skirt, black satin corset over a lace top, and my long, plum velvet coat – all items I’ve shown here before, I think, with the exception of the coat. It is truly magnificent! I get a lot of compliments on it, and most people beg to touch it.
This coming Saturday night, we will tour Mount Vernon by Candlelight. We did this last year; it was my first visit to Mount Vernon, and I loved it so much I decided it should be a yearly thing. They serve hot cider and ginger cookies from an authentic recipe, and participants tour the house by candlelight It’s decorated just as it would have been for Christmas in the Washingtons’ time. Costumed characters interact with visitors, and rooms are open during this time that are closed the rest of the year. There is live music and period dancing, among other activities. There is also a camel. Because one year, George Washington paid to have a camel at Mount Vernon for the entertainment of his guests.
Christmas night, we have tickets to see White Christmas at The Kennedy Center. This is the one and only thing my husband wanted to do – he likes musicals. The costumes (what I’ve seen of them) look beautiful, and we’ve enjoyed everything else we’ve done at The Kennedy Center, so I’m sure it will be lovely. No idea what I’m going to wear though….
Even so. It was great going back through all of my old holiday photos for this post. And as you can see, I’ve gothed up Christmasses Passed simply by being there!