Growing up in a small rural community on the prairies meant we got our turkey and fixings from the main street grocer. The clerk knew our name and even had a “tab” for each family in the community. Christmas concerts would commence at church and school, we would do the silly $5 gift exchange, and then bid a warm Merry Christmas to our teachers, neighbours and family – who lived within miles from home. Thus would begin the merriment of a winter vacation on the farm, Mom’s sticky poppycock, old Christmas movie reruns, and the triple S factor: ski-dooing, sledding and skating. Childhood Christmas memories for me are filled with twinkling lights, loads of food, and crisp white snow waiting to be trodden.
Somewhere in my teen years Mom and I began dancing in the kitchen. I would take on the man’s lead while the kitchen floor became our stage. The harmonies were usually by the Statler Brothers and Bonny M, therefore a bouncy polka was discovered. My brother has since said that it doesn’t feel like Christmas until Mom and Lani have danced in the kitchen. (Side note…does anyone else agree that the kitchen is great for long talks while sprawled on the floor AND dancing, not just cooking?!)
Once the turkey was prepped and salads made on Christmas Eve, we’d join in the livingroom by the tree. Dad would usually read the Christmas story. My sister does a lot of the cooking and getting everyone together (thank you eldest sibling!). My brother makes me laugh until my stomach hurts. Somewhere in there a board game would appear.
Now as adults, Christmas has taken on a different shape. We’re sometimes miles a part and travel is required. This will be my first Christmas away from home as I am across the ocean. My sister and brother will both be bringing someone special home to the farm. Skype anyone? While I’m excited to experience an English Christmas, there is no place like home. I am so thankful for my family.
I guess things change as we grow up (ahem, I’m 30)… but I will always want to dance in the kitchen, curl up by the tree and read about Jesus, and laugh until my stomach hurts over silliness with my family.
So to my family, in the words of E.E. Cummings, I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.
And wherever you find yourself, dear reader, I hope it is with family and those you love the most.
Watch it unfold. Take it all in. Keep a thankful heart. And be safe. Much love from me to you…. ~