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In many ways, Christmas at my home this year was pretty much like Christmas past. The tree went up, Santa dropped some presents under its artificial boughs and the three of us ate way too many Christmas treats.
My wife is responsible for the sugar cookies, my live-in mother-in-law the pecan pie and I typically am in the enviable position of being in charge of quality control — not to mention washing a helluva lot of dishes.
Their hard work at Christmas is the tradeoff for my taking the lead at Thanksgiving, where I strive every year to make the perfect turkey and cornbread stuffing with pecans.
Let the other 363 days bring something new. For these two days of the year, I like the familiar, summed up in perfect fashion by Fred Rogers:
“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story,” he said. “The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.”
I offered the caveat “pretty much” up top because not everything this year was like holidays past; not everything was straight out of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
My mother, sister and niece are generally part of our Christmas celebration, which typic runs a few days at our respective homes.
However, this time around, after a socially distanced gift exchange, we did Christmas by Zoom.
I didn’t get to hug my mom, I didn't get the full effect of my sister’s shock when she opened the blender/soup maker we gave her.
As for my niece’s reaction to the CD featuring piano renditions of the music of her favorite band, Twenty One Pilots, the videoconference didn’t do her gleeful outburst justice.
That’s one Christmas I hope to never repeat.
Not to sound like the Grinch, but the pandemic turned my merry little Christmas into a very little Christmas.
How were the holidays for you? I’d love to hear your story.
Scott Steepleton is editor of the Malibu Surfside News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.