Yet another Christmas on the Gulf Coast has come and gone.
I am back in the Mid-Atlantic where temperatures are at least 10 degrees lower than they were in Florida - people, it was fricking COLD in Florida last week. It was the-price-of-produce-is-gonna-skyrocket cold. It was wrap-the-trees-and-bushes-so-they-don't-die-in-the-middle-of-the-night cold; i'd have pictures of that except i'd have had to go outside to take them.
Okay, honestly, it was only really cold the last few days of my visit; the beginning of the week was chilly, but fine. I spent the first few days with my dad -you saw the golf pictures and there will be golf cart pictures to come- and went to my mom's on the 23rd.
She had started the decorating and had put the lights on the tree, but waited for me to finish. This year she really wanted to do the tree in gold ornaments, which turned out lovely,
with the old tree topper reworked into a Victorian angel.
We added other gold tableauxs around the living room
with some of the nutcracker collection.
I love those guys.
Did you spot the sneaky Rat King hiding from the princes?
It was just mom and me for Christmas morning.
Each year we give each other another gift-limiting challenge. This year we were each only allowed to spend $20 to do presents and a stocking for the other. It was really fun to shop for bargains and make some of my presents. If you look at that pile it is hard to believe that there is only $43 under the tree. (we each went over by a little more than a dollar)
It was stockings first and then presents.
Don't you love that mom made it look like the reindeer was holding my candy canes? It was a leisurely morning of unwrapping and telling stories and comparing bargains. We both talked to my brother and my sister on the phone and relaxed.
Mom let me cook Christmas dinner -turkey and fixings- and this year we decided to do it at an actual dinner time -6pm- instead of a holiday dinner time -1pm or 3pm- which allowed me to be leisurely in the food preparation. It was staring to get cold, but we put on jackets and ate on the linae with mom's neighbor, Miss Celiey.
I like trying new things and changing holidays up a bit, but there are some habits and traditions that endure. Christmas morning we always have Pillsbury cinnamon and orange rolls. We have for my entire life.
Now cinnamon rolls make sense to me, but i have no idea where the orange rolls came from. I swear that they are only in store during the holidays and i would cry a bucketful if we didn't have them on Christmas. Warm pastry dripping with orange icing tastes like Christmas morning to me.
For reasons unknown, i stick the bows that come off of my boxes to my head.
I'm sure that it probably started when i was really little and my siblings stuck stuff on me, but to this day when i take a bow off of a box i feel compelled to stick it on my hear, regardless of who is around and how many bows are already there.
And, of course, there has to be a tour of holiday lights. My dad always drives us around looking for new lighting displays. This year we took a golf-cart constitutional around the park one night and the next night we went to Cape Coral to find one of those crazy peoples' houses where they hook everything up to a computer and sync a show to music.
This guy had over 119,000 lights. It was magnificent and totally worth getting a bit lost in the poorly lit back streets of Cape Coral (why does that place not have street lights? creepy)
I miss my parents and enjoy spending time with them over the holidays.