Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Only 10 Days.....but I don't want to talk about it

Every year around this time my mom starts her Christmas baking. Now I'm not referring to a few dozen cookies and one relaxing afternoon of preparation. I'm talking about a baking marathon and enough cookies for ten families. My mom's motivation is not one of obligation to bake for numerous people or even that she loves to do it. In fact she often speaks about how labour intensive it is but for her it truly is a labour of love. What she loves is making sure that each of us gets our favorite cookie for Christmas. She makes a special package of at least one large Christmas tin for each of us to take home. My sister Leigh is a very healthy eater but she can't say no to the "classic" chocolate chip. For Charlotte it's the peanut butter and marshmallow squares and the chocolate brownies. Everyone loves the thumb print cookies with the jam in the middle and sugar sprinkled on top. Aunt Elsie loves the short bread with a cup of tea and my dad always takes one and sometimes two of everything! I have no idea where he puts it. For such a small guy he sure can pack those cookies in. A big glass of milk and a stack of four cookies is a typical dessert for my dad around the holidays. Most important of all, well at least to me, is a very special cookie - the Alana cookie. They taste just like short bread but they have cherries and walnuts chopped up in them. Mmmm....She makes them every year just for me! How spoiled are we? But alas, this will be the first year that I will not have any of my mom's Christmas baking. It's sad but true...we're not going home for the holidays.
Today in class someone wished me a Merry Christmas and said only 10 days. I thought to myself - no way, it can't be that close but it really is. It does not feel like Christmas or the holiday season for me this year. I haven't bought any gifts or decorated my house. We don't have a tree or stockings hung up. There is no snow and we have barely even worn our winter jackets. I haven't heard one familiar Christmas carol on the radio or in the stores. Don't get me wrong, Maastricht is beautiful with Christmas lights and the stores are full of Christmas shoppers, so it is happening here, but this year just isn't going to be the same.
I have gone through moments of feeling down thinking about all the things I will miss about home but I have decided that I am going to be excited instead. This will be our first Christmas as a married couple and we get to spend it together. I know that Nick is in the same boat as I am and he is going to miss his family as well. So instead of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves we have planned some special things to do to keep ourselves busy. We are having friends over for dinner and going out for dinner as well, we have planned some day trips to the different Christmas markets and we are spending a weekend in Brugge. Not too shabby! We aren't alone for Christmas, we have each other and Pumpkin, Gizmo and Maggie. Our family and friends are in our thoughts and I'm sure they will be thinking of us too. I am planning to skype my family when they have their Christmas celebration and I have sent out Dutch Christmas cards so that they know we are thinking of them. My friend Laura and I searched for the tackiest ones we could find :) I think I will try to make a real holiday dinner for Nick and I and we will look forward to establishing some new traditions for the Harris Burd family. Being away this year will make next year even more special when we get to be together with our friends and family again. For New Years we are running a road race and going out with two other couples. I sure will miss the Rodeo Red - the very finest in Ohio wines - as well as the fabulous company of Tina and Randy Burd to ring in the New Year. Last year they had to wake me up because I fell asleep at 10pm. Man I'm getting old!

1 comment:

  1. Brugge?? I thought we were going to Amsterdam to eat brownies and go "window shopping" in a certain district that celebrates Christmas year round, as noted by the red lights.

    I agree, the rodeo red is first class and these European wines can not compare. Although, a glass of Kool-aid might.