Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve! Some holiday ruminations and a spice mix.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas are enjoying an anticipation-filled day and you're continuing family traditions with your loved ones. To those of you who celebrate a different winter holiday, I hope you're having a joyous day, too, by playing in the snow or watching a fun movie snuggled up together.

Mr. J said to me an hour ago, "It doesn't really feel like Christmas Eve." I wondered why that is. After all, we are sitting together on the couch, which is literally 2 feet away from the Christmas tree and a pile of brightly wrapped gifts, and later today we are going to Mr. J's parent's church for the Christmas service. Not to mention we got 5 additional inches of snow yesterday! Oh, and, before we left our home on Saturday, we made sure to donate clothes and gifts to a local domestic violence shelter for the women and children there. And, I spent the last 5 weeks crafting handmade presents for our family and friends.

Why, then, doesn't it "feel" like Christmas? Is it because we aren't children or frazzled college kids anymore for whom Christmas is the highlight of the year? Have we already been robbed of Christmas joy by the daily grind of work (or grad school in Mr. J's case)? Are we just too tired? The more I pondered this, the more I began to think about where we are in our life journey.

We're at an age when lots of our friends are getting married and having kids, and Christmas has taken on a new meaning as they witness the holiday through their children or spouses' eyes. This is not to say that Mr. J and I are not having fun this season--in fact, this has been the most relaxing two days I've had since August when we took a mini vacation to the lake! We've been watching holiday movies and reading (and I am really looking forward to sharing what we made with everyone). Plus, I haven't had to cook at all! (Although I'm sure I will get the cooking itch soon and barge my way into Mr's J's mama's kitchen.)

So we're not lacking the Christmas spirit and we love being with our families this week. It seems to me that the only reason left is that time moves so quickly. I can't believe it's already December 24th. I've almost been at my current job for a year already and Mr. J is five months away from getting his Masters degree. I feel like we JUST graduated from college, but that was almost two years ago. I remember my grandmother telling me the day before I left for campus, "Enjoy your college years, honey, because, before you know it, your own kids will be going to school."

At the time, I nodded respectfully and smiled, unable to actually imagine my college graduation or moving in with Mr. J in a new city after that, or having a real job in the adult world. But all of those events happened so fast! My conclusion is that it doesn't feel like Christmas because it came upon us SO QUICKLY! We've been so focused on getting through a work or school day that those very days have flown by. Maybe our Christmas lesson this year is to slow down and savor those everyday moments together. Maybe this should be one of our Christmas traditions.

Are you planning on making pumpkin pie tonight in preparation for Christmas dinner? Try this out!

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1½ tsp. ground allspice
1½ tsp. ground cloves
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg