Was I ever READY for a calm, stress-free holiday!
Beginning November 8, I had spent untold hours shopping sales and clearance racks for gifts of clothing, toys, art and craft supplies and more for the needy folks in our community served by the Secret Santa program. I amassed over 50 children’s’ outfits for all sizes of kids, from baby to 16, and at least that many baby dolls, Barbie and Barbie-knockoffs, Lalaloopsie mini dolls, basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, etc. They covered every surface of my living room and guest bedroom! The Secret Santa mission was so consuming that I didn’t have time to find and put out any of my treasured Christmas decor — not even a wreath for the door. I was able to plan and cook for a couple of parties, though. Diane Cox and I threw a turkey dinner for our walking buddies. The gathering at Diane’s home was all the sweeter because she returned home from an unexpected hospital stay just two hours before the guests arrived. She’d had a small heart attack from the stress of getting ready to sell her home and move back East to be near her daughters and their families, after losing her husband Tom last summer.
I also had an Open House with refreshments and a boutique sale of things from my extensive bought-for-gifts collection. Now is the time of life for paring down the lifetime of things we have all amassed. After that pleasant event, we finally got the names, ages and wish lists of the Secret Santa recipients, and I worked almost full-time on that for five days — right up until I flew to Albuquerque on December 20 to spend Christmas with Dan and Quinn and Kerri. Happily, they favor a low-key holiday, which has been lovely. The weather here has been in the 40s and 50s, with blue skies and sunshine and a dusting of snow on the Sandia mountains which form the eastern boundary of Albuquerque. The city sits between the Rio Grande river to the west, at 5,000 feet of elevation, and the Sandia Mountains, which loom 10,000 feet at the peak.
We have done a bit of last minute Christmas shopping, gone to the movie “The Hobbit”, watched a couple of Christmas specials on TV, put together the puzzle that Tutu (Grandmother in Hawaiian; that’s me) traditionally brings, and just hung out together. On Christmas day, we took a two-hour walk up on the lowest slopes of that mountain. There was quite a bit of snow on and along the path.