Capturing Christmas Today and in the Past: 2013

Christmas Eve Day
A day of great anticipation
for the celebration to come.

I sit with my coffee in a quiet house
envisioning the hours ahead,
and remembering Christmases past.

Red dresses, patent leather shoes, white stockings.
Christmas crafts at school and home.
Colored paper Christmas trees with glitter,
and ginger bread houses covered with candy.

Parties with relatives.
The Pratt party with Santa,
and Uncle Neal's Lucey party on
Christmas Eve.
Always a birthday cake for Grampy,
Shrimp cocktail,
And chasing my cousins throughout Neal's
Long house.

I never could sleep on Christmas Eve
Staying awake listening for Santa's sleigh
Then waking up at the first glint of light
To find the tree surrounded by presents big and small
Unwrapped--a toy extravaganza
A pile for each of six children.

Then a day of play.
Making doll clothes, combing doll's hair,
Painting a picture with a brand new easel.
Markers, Easy Bake Oven, Scrabble, Life,
Yahtzee, Stratego, new clothes, scarves, hats,

A nice meal with family.

This year--unlike any in the recent past
I've had the gift of time.
Time to clean the house,
Prepare the meal,
Wrap the presents.
There isn't that hurried, worried last minute work.
Instead I have the minutes to dote on those I love
With a good meal, welcoming attitude,
Time to play.

I've shunned the commercial view of the holiday this year.
I've simplified the traditions, gifts, expectations,
And left lots of time for love, presence rather than presents.
So in the final moments of preparation,
I'll buy the nice bread, fish, ham, vegetables, cheese, berries, cream
And ice cream.

I'll do a bit of last minute shopping,
Wrapping, and spontaneous extras.
A special time
Shared with those I love
That's the best gift of all.

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