As I sit in our warm, cozy cottage, my thoughts wander to what life was like a year ago. This time last December, I was learning how to build kitchen cabinets, and the house was a total disaster area. We'd recently moved in (despite the house's unfinished state), to escape winter's cold and a broken camper heater. There was a seemingly endless to-do list ahead of me, but life was better than it had been in years. On Christmas eve, I was able to cook our first real meal in the new house, and it was a revelation.
This holiday season, I can hardly contain the joy and gratitude within me. We've come so far, and the house is essentially done. Without a doubt, our life is a hundred times more enjoyable than it was last year. To fill December's dark days with light and warmth, I've been burning beeswax candles with abandon, listening to my favorite holiday music, and drinking tea every morning.
I've also been baking to my heart's content, whipping up delicious things to bring to parties and serve to impromptu visitors. There's been pannetone with homemade candied citrus peels, pumpkin pie, a braided breakfast wreath studded with cranberries and almond paste, my friend Ced's famous molasses cookies, cinnamon biscotti, and chocolate cake with pink peppermint icing.
There have also been holiday parties galore, with good food, friendship, and blazing woodstove fires. One evening while Tyler was working in Boston, I hosted ladies' night at our place. Jenna, Joanna and I baked and decorated cookies (my first time using cookie cutters since we moved to Vermont!), drank Moscow mules, chatted about life, and watched Elf.
The next night, Hercilia and I went to see the Nutcracker, and laughed uncontrollably but silently until our sides hurt and tears streamed down our faces. There were three year olds in mouse costumes, and six year olds twirling in the wrong direction, and a five year old who thought she was supposed to stay on stage, but was clearly not. Clara smoothly ushered her off-stage mid-chassé. The overall skill level was medium to low, but the cuteness factor was through the roof! (PS: We're on Instagram—follow us if you like.)
A few days ago, we put up our first Christmas tree! Last year, we didn't have the time, space, or mental energy to even consider it, but this year, we relished the activity. I found the tree, little more than a tiny sapling off the side of the road, across from our neighbors' house. I absconded with it, and we decorated it with tiny LED lights that Tyler wired to be plug-ins instead of battery-powered. It's a thing of beauty, filling our home with its piney scent and magical glow.
I am so happy and thankful to be where we are today. Happy holidays, indeed!