I wanted to write a post about Christmas, about family, about remembering my own childhood Christmases and feeling connected to my mom, who is out in the snowy midwest celebrating with my brother and sister and their families.  We New Yorkers couldn’t face traveling, so we stayed here, visited with Husband’s family and now apparently are waiting for a Big Blizzard, (which means the boys run to the window every 20 minutes to report on whether or not the snow has started.)

It was going to be a post not prompted by reverb10; it was going to border on maudlin, dabble in sentiment, trot out images of pajama-wearing children past and present, that sort of thing.

This is not that post. And given the “It’s a Wonderful Life” tone I had in mind, perhaps that’s for the best.

We had Christmas Eve here with Husband’s family, whose tradition was always to open presents on Christmas Eve – we had presents and laughter, and some lovely champagne – and on Christmas morning the boys waited until the ripe old hour of 6:24AM to wake us up and let us know that Santa had eaten the cookies we left him and left a note. In blue ink (which I had carefully scrubbed off my fingers before falling into bed in the wee hours of the morning).

We fobbed them off with their Santa stockings until after breakfast (my family’s tradition), and then there was the standard Christmas mayhem: wrapping paper everywhere, ribbons flying, and the inevitable package wrestling, which raises for me this question: why do toy companies make such an effort to sell us their products and then make the packaging utterly resistant to human hands? Do they think we’ll give up on one box and just go buy another one, in hopes that perhaps it was packed on a Monday by someone with a hangover?

I don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but the plastic widgety bits were actually attached with screws. We had to dig out a screwdriver and pliers just to get the damn car out of the box.

Post-gift, we trooped uptown to see Husband’s father, where the boys and their auntie played Rummikub and enjoyed some really spirited bickering over the rules. Me? I know Christmas is about togetherness but I took myself for a long walk through Riverside Park.  The air smelled like the river and woodsmoke, and it was very quiet.

Christmas is where you find it–not just the walk, but also in the deliciously fuzzy mitten-gloves (mitloves, the boys call them) that you can see at the bottom edge of this picture.