When I asked my younger son what he’d like to do on Christmas to make it special since we don’t do presents, he said, “Do presents.”
“Ha,” I said. “Besides that.”
“Make something and take it to the neighbors on Christmas morning,” he said.
We used to make Christmas deliveries but several years ago, when it started to feel like just one more thing I had to do, I’d dropped it. But if a child wanted to do it, then fine, yes, okay. Never mind that it’d take more work. Never mind that the other kids weren’t thrilled. Never mind that knocking on random doors and giving people things makes my husband feel like crawling into a cave and ceasing to exist. If this was what my younger son wanted, we’d do it.
So I dug out my Christmas tin collection and gave them a good washing. A couple days before Christmas, my younger son popped multiple batches of corn, helped measure the ingredients, and stirred the caramel. Christmas morning, we made little “Merry Christmas! Love, The Murches” cards and taped them to the tins.
“How about I take Coco?” my older daughter said.
“The dog stays home,” my husband said.
“If Coco goes, then we have to take Charlotte,” my daughter said.
“No dogs,” my husband repeated firmly
“Let’s take the donkey!” hollered my older son.
“Yes,” my daughter said, ignoring, for once, her brother’s taunting. “Let’s take Ellie!”
“NO,” my husband said. “We are not taking a horse around to the neighbors’!”
“Aw, come on,” I said. “Why not? She’s cute.”
And then my older son appeared, decked out in his leather jacket and pink plastic sunglasses, his guitar slung over his shoulder.
Husband: You have got to be kidding me.
Me: Um, hon? That might be a bit much.
Older son [singing loudly]: Jingle, jingle happy bells, Jesus is born!
Me: Oh good grief.
And off we went, dogs, horse, grumpy husband and all!
I alternated between pleading with my son to tone it down a little, snapping at my husband to stop fussing at the kids (dogs, Life In General, whatever), giggling uncontrollably, and shaking my head in disbelief at the staggering extent of our spectacular freakishness.
It was so worth it.
This same time, years previous: right now, balsamic-glazed roasted butternut squash and brussel sprouts, 2016 garden stats and notes, old-fashioned sour cream cake donuts, remembering Guatemala, cheese ball, hot buttered rolls, bacon jalapeno cheese ball.