Here it is, Christmas Eve. For lots of people. We Armstrongs celebrated Christmas on Sunday, December 21st. Jolly Santa arrived with stockings filled with fun about, say...4:00am Mountain Time? I thought I heard a tussle the size of a moose out on the new-laden snow (24+ inches!), and supposed in my mid-night stupor that it must surely be St. Nick. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
Sure enough, that jolly old elf made his way down the chimney and delivered six stockings for six adult children slumbering away up and down the stairs. There were kites, and balls - the ones that you blow up BIG and then bounce back and forth on your wrist? What are those called??!, and music for yodeling cowboys, as well as sea chantey music. And Elvis CDs, as well as Broadway's Best.
After Christmas presents, we headed to church at a local chapel up in the mountains of Breckenridge - the same chapel where our daughter Claire and our son-in-law Rich were married two years ago. This Sunday, the church choir and children's choir were singing their Christmas Cantata. It was very nice. And the kids did a really nice job - not to mention the Christmas cows (two of them) were really adorable in their Holstein black & white costumes. ADORABLE.
For many, many, many years, my family back in Oklahoma - Mom, Dad, us five kids, and then us and our spouses, and then us, the spouses, and OUR kids, and so on...would sing our own Christmas Story. Each year my Dad would pick out the scripture, assign the readings to whoever could read, and interspersed with the scripture, we would all sing various selected hymns. This has gone on for years and years. It is like a rite of passage, a badge of honor, once a kid or grandkid or, now, GREAT grandkid can read, or at least recite, the scripture.
This year, we Armstrongs took a meander from family tradition. Since our three kids and their - I hate this term: "significant other" - I also hate "partner" - but the girlfriend and the boyfriend of two adult kids, plus the third adult kid and her husband, are on both the West Coast, the East Coast, and in Colorado...we decided to celebrate our own small family Christmas.
Yes: I missed singing The Messiah in its entirety, another Oklahoma Webster family tradition that has been going on for years and years. Yes: We missed going to Big Family Christmas. (At least 38 of us? I have lost count.)
The Breckenridge Christmas Cantata on Sunday morning was nice, as it told the Christmas Story just as we Oklahoma Websters do: scripture, and Christmas hymns interspersed.
And this was a good - no, a really great thing. Why? Well, to backtrack just a wee bit, let me tell you that I headed for the hills ( the Rocky ones) a day before that Spouse o' Mine and daughter Claire and SIL Rich. When I got to Breckenridge, I realized that I had not brought a hymnal for the family Christmas Story (to be done just as the Oklahoma Webster Family one.) I called Claire and told her to run upstairs and grab the hymnal on the coffee table. And so, she did.
When that trio arrived in Breckenridge, Claire unpacked, and handed me...
The "B" volume of the 1985 World Book Encyclopedia. Which was also lying on the coffee table.
B. Not as in Bible, or hymnal.
Old World Book encyclopedia. Back from their childhood!
We had a good laugh - probably one of a million we had this week.
Another funny, which I can't post because of technology and family sensitivity, is a video of us Armstrongs plus some Webster kin, all playing children's rhythm instruments and singing "Sleigh Ride!". I have to say, I don't think I have laughed SO HARD any time this year as I did during this video. If you are intrigued, go to YouTube and see one of Jimmy Fallon and the Roots and one of their guest stars. We rivaled them, hand-down.
And so, you who are still lying in wait of Christmas,
And those of you in Australia (Armstrongs) and New Zealand (Websters), let's move on to:
Happy New Year!
~ Tricia, et al.