Things change.

It has been a good number of years since I have had Christmas with a blood relative. Probably the last one was with the younger of my older brothers in 2001. He is now in Mexico, a little far to travel for a week. The oldest brother is in Ottawa, again, a fair distance to travel. My sister is about a five hour drive (in winter) north of me and she has all of her husbands family in the area they live in. I have my urban family that I spend Christmas with. It fluctuates a bit each year, but the core of it stays pretty much the same.

Except this year. None of us likes hot turkey, so we cooked up a breast in order to have cold sandwiches for boxing day - it came out a bit dry. My friends decided that I should do the cooking this year - you would think they would know better by now! We had elk roast, the recipe sounded interesting, but it came out tough and had no flavour. The scalloped potatoes (that I have successfully made before) were just short of a disaster, but at least the roast and the potatoes were ready at the same time. Something I rarely manage. I even screwed up the salad - yes, I did! I can blame some of the disaster on it not being my kitchen, but alas, not all of it.

One of the traditions that slipped this year was the tree...we have a decorating party the last Sunday before Christmas and get the house all set up and the tree decorated. Not this year, we brought the tree in from the cold and the branches were still upright, so we didn't get it decorated until Tuesday. Whatever, we had decided not to stress about anything this year. This, in turn led us to discussing how things change no matter how much you want them to stay the same.

Click to enlarge

This is how the tree wound up looking, I like the way the lights reflect on the ceiling and floor.

Close up of the Angel.

More reflected lights.

One of the biggest traditions smashed for me, was opening gifts on Christmas morning. My urban family opens them Christmas Eve - after midnight, but still! The kid in me protests!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and no-one had illusions shattered or traditions broken beyond repair.

I also wish you all the best in the new year.

Edit: It seems (and to me too when I read it again) that I am whining. That is not how it was meant to sound. I had a wonderful Christmas in spite of the little things that went wrong and we all had a good laugh about dinner. I am very grateful to have my urban family.


Knight said...

They sure do change. I've learned to roll with it and just be thankful I have someone to celebrate with. Having an urban family is the absolute best. I'm glad you are able to share the holiday with them.

the Bag Lady said...

Everything changes, nothing stays the same. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.
We have great memories of Christmas's past, and have all learned to enjoy each day for what it brings.
Your photos of the tree are wonderful!

Tink said...

I get the best of both worlds with the Christmas gift opening. Hoop's family does theirs on Christmas Eve and my family does theirs on Christmas Day. They only live an hour apart, so we spend the night at my parents' after opening gifts at his. Then my little brothers (who are now 16 and 13) wake us up at 6am. UGH. But it's all in good fun.

Reb said...

Knight, you are so right. This was just a year for "missing" but I am so grateful for my urban family.

Sis, we do, don't we. We were just feeling a bit nostalgic this year. Thanks.

Tink, you are one lucky girl.

Leah J. Utas said...

Reb, I love those tree shots. Such rich colours.
Now spill. How did you screw up the salad? All in all, that sounds like a Christmas worth remembering.

Yes, they do change. But you had folk with you and that is what matters.

Reb said...

Thanks Leah! I didn't tear the arugula, so we wound up having to cut it on our plates. It was a great Christmas never the less.

Dawn said...

Sounds like fun despite the odd hiccup. Nice to have an urban family to share with.

Having spent one Christmas totally alone in a strange country (who was the idiot who went to the UK in December without giving that a thought!) I can say that ANY sort of family is good!

Reb said...

Dawn, it was fun. I've worked shift work in another city over Christmas and had to celebrate with family either before or after, but never been alone in another country. That I can't imagine.

Clare2e said...

The biggest disasters make the best stories. I could do some real embellishment on a tough elk roast! Though you might have done some missing, I'm glad you didn't miss a bit of the twinkly lights.

kcinnova said...

My very first thought, when I saw that picture of your tree, was WOW! Look at how Reb captured those reflections of light! :)
Our dinner was 3 days late (after 2 nights of tender tummies, I decided to wait for my brother's family to show up), and then the ham was a bit dry and the meal was healthy but rather plain. Oh, well!! We just learn to roll with it, don't we?
I never pulled out some of my favorite decorations (my little tealight houses from Germany) because it just seemed like too much work this year. No one noticed except me.
I'm glad you have an urban family to celebrate with. When we lived in Texas, we had 2 other military families that we bonded with for holidays. It was a special time.

Happy New Year! And hooray, we don't have a lot of decorations to put away now! :)

Reb said...

Clare, the recipe told us to soak it in buttermilk for two days - in order to tenderize it - The rest of the elk has been wonderful - that's just how things go! ;)

Kcinnova, better late than not at all and then you had more people to enjoy the meal with! I haven't pulled out my decorations in a number of years, maybe next year, I will put forth an effort.

Missicat said...

Yes, things definitely change. I try to embrace it, but part of me yearns for the way things used to be...
Love the tree!!

Reb said...

Missicat, that's what I was feeling this year. Thanks.

Jennifer Jilks said...

I didn't sense whining...but someone making sense of the nonsense. I was in that position, too!

Reb said...

Thanks Jennifer. Hope you have a good new year.

Hilary said...

Nah, not whining, but I do hear your disappointment. I was thinking you did a great job with the tree - both in decorating it and in capturing it.

This will probably be the Christmas you laugh, or at least roll your eyes over in the years to come.

Happy New Year. :)

Terrie Farley Moran said...

And you didn't invite all of us? I have waited a lifetime for dried elk~

Glad you had a wonderful day and I hope you have a wonderful 2009.


Frank Baron said...

Very dramatic photos, Reb. You captured that rich lighting.

Who needs to be able to cook when you can grab shots like that? ;)

Had a fine Christmas. Glad yours went well overall too. :)

Barbara Martin said...

Reb, Happy New Year.

Travis Erwin has had a tragedy. His house burned down on Sunday morning, Jan 4th, and is homeless. His wife and two sons are okay. Please drop over to his blog.

Britta Coleman said...

You don't sound whiny, you sound reflective. Love the tree photos--such a pretty glow.

Reb said...

Thanks Hilary, we are laughing at it already! Happy New Year.

Terrie, I could send you some ;) Happy New Year.

Thanks Frank, it really did. Happy New Year.

Barbara, yes, I read that this morning on the bus. On my way now. Happy New Year.

Britta, I like the sound of reflective much better! Thanks. Happy New Year.