Little changed about Christmas when my mom and her sister, my sister and I, then my children, were growing up. The extended family lived within miles of each other and we all celebrated with the traditions, the language, the foods of my Norwegian grandparents. Even when my grandparents' generation had all passed on, when my daughters began their independent lives, when my grandchildren were born, for all those years we still gathered in snowy Minnesota and kept the traditions as well as we could.
Well, this is the year of big change. My mom is alone and can no longer fly to Minnesota, the daughter with children can't leave Minnesota, Sarah now lives in Germany.
Christmas will still be wonderful but along with the hustle and bustle and joyfulness, I think we all feel a bit adrift.
Instead of baking cookies with four generations of cooks in one busy kitchen (and with lots of little helpers manning the sprinkles), I baked by myself. This afternoon we walked around the neighborhood visiting and dropping off plates of cookies.
Earlier I dropped off warm hats I've been knitting at Helping Hands where they will be handed out to those who need one at a Christmas food giveaway.
Sunday we will drive south to my mom's in Florida, and so will my sister and her husband from Wisconsin. They're bringing lefse and herring -- you can't find that in Georgetown!
We'll sing some Christmas carols but they will all be in English as we can't remember the words in Norwegian anymore without the help of the older ones.
There will be no snow or children waiting for Santa, but there will be love and cookies and a Merry Christmas all around!
The lights are from Pack Square in Asheville, NC, where we were last week.
The square is a joyous Christmas wonderland of lights.