It isn't just Christmas day that makes this so sad, it's that she stopped coming home in the summer after her sophomore year of college, so the two-three weeks at Christmas are the longest amount of time we get spend with her now. It really, really hurts to lose that!
So, it took me a little longer to get Christmas into shape this year. Earlier this week, I spent a lot of time getting my Idol Survivor story ready, though I did make it to Target and a few other stores over the weekend, and got the outdoor lights up Sunday and Monday. Also, HalfshellHusband knocked his Kitchen-Aid stand-mixer off the counter while trying to unfreeze the locking bar, and killed it. That caused some flailing, though at least I knew what to get him for Christmas. ;) It required quite a bit of careful cleanup, too. I mean, the entire mechanical part of thing was filled with thick, black grease. Gross and messy! \o?
My Idol story was due Tuesday (and as usual, was not ready early). I went out Tuesday night and did more shopping after HSH and The Boy went to bed. That was mainly for Xmas candy and stocking stuffers, and the stores didn't have everything I was looking for (and Walgreen's closed early). So I went back out on Wednesday to get the rest and to give up on anything else I clearly wasn't going to find. Wednesday night, we got the tree in the stand, and yesterday I got the tree decorated and got the indoor decorations up. Just in the nick of time. :O I wouldn't have left it so long, but with our daughter not coming home, I lost the sense of urgency.
The whole tree process was fascinating for the cat. This is his 2nd Christmas with us, and there's no way of knowing whether he experienced Christmas in his previous life. He was very excited by having the tree indoors, and spent a lot of time lurking underneath it and getting underfoot while we set it up, and then rocketing all around the house making huge amounts of noise for the next three hours. He wanted to pounce on the light strings yesterday while I was putting those on the tree, and then oh, the temptation of people hanging all of those toys on the tree that he is not allowed to touch! Absolutely mystifying!
Ultimately, I got the stockings filled and got everything wrapped up and gift-bagged for under the tree and for delivery down to our daughter (when the person she sent our gifts up with goes back down to San Diego). Then we Face-Timed with our daughter while opening presents this morning, and she got to show off the presents I'd sent directly to her from Amazon. It wasn't the same as having her here, but it was much, much better than we expected. And I got to Video Chat with my brother, his wife, and my older sister at my brother's house, and then with my other sister and her husband at their house. That was great! Finally, I called my Mom and talked to her on the phone. I wish she were able to wrangle technology enough for video chats, because she had to spend Christmas alone this year and has been very isolated since last January. But she cannot even figure out how to work email, so that's a lost cause.
But overall, it was a surprisingly nice Christmas. And I hope those of you who celebrate were also able to have a nice Christmas this year, in spite of how things have been and the difficulty in getting together with family right now. Please, let us all keep hanging on and let us all be able to celebrate as usual by the time next Christmas comes.
Wishing you and yours happy holidays, and trotting out my little penguin icon while I still can!