New Traditions.

Well, I said I was looking for some new Christmas traditions. It seems I’m getting them. Slowly and organically, the way traditions grow.

Our tree is up and re-potted. It sits in glory with the pot draped in an old towel festooned with some of my mother’s gaudier brooches. It has to be, otherwise Baxter would use it as a catbox.

The tree is naked. No decorations on this tree. Not this year. The idea of Bax getting curious around a string of chewable and mysterious Christmas lights makes me nervous. No decorations this year, either. I tried, but he took a fast swipe at a gorgeous little paper fish Emma bought. So maybe we’ll have decorations next year.

Non-family recipe shortbread is baked. Truffles are rolled. And that’s the baking done. 200 hand-dipped chocolates was my mother’s style, not mine.

We are just about to go out into the relentless heavy rain to meet some friends for a couple of drinks and some music. Everyone who’s going home for Christmas has gone. There’s just us orphans left.

Tomorrow we’re having Christmas dinner with Fran and Jim, some of E’s relatives, who are friends, Jim’s mad gravy skillz, and 20 lbs of bird. No stress. We’ll eat off plain dishes because I know for a fact that Fran thinks the idea of ‘Good China’ is silly.

There will be a lot of cleanup, but it’ll be fun to work together chattering happily, as opposed to showing my Dutiful Daughterdom, carefully rinsing the gold-edged plates in tepid water with exactly the right amount of soap, or listening to E’s folks talking about the Elizabethan choir. I wish I could care more about their choirs, but I can’t. I might as well get over it.

I wish for Peace on Earth and a fat slug of brandy for everyone.

Merry Christmas.

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