Some bets you can bank on this Christmas Eve Eve weekend.
Candle light will flicker small at first, pass from hand to another until a tiny sanctuary glows brilliant.
Chestnuts will be purchased pre-packaged with “hickory-smoked-like artificial scent preservative” and we’ll watch a DVD of a cozy, crackling logs. The toddler will keep insisting he needs to make a fort, wait for Santa inside the gas fireplace.
Sweaters of woven wool will comfort cold shoulders. Sweaters of woven wool and jingle bells and crocheted cats in holiday hats will delight or infuriate the masses.
We will look around the room and think, for just one second and one million seconds too few, that this place filled with these people eating this food and passing these presents while sharing this love is exactly the rightest place in the world.
Some or everyone will find themselves rose-cheeked and spirited under the influence of spirits. Stone fireplaces will be scaled, songs sung into open mouths of empty wine bottles, too-long lingering hugs will forcibly grab family members, slight slur and drool will slip from the edges of mouths remembering, because of this most holy night or this most potent spice punch, all the love we’ve forgotten to say aloud.
Mothers will wake in the dark, creep crusty-eyed to the tree to finish Santa’s work. It is the great fortune of the earth that mothers seldom demand the credit. Dishwashers and diapers, dust bunnies and dirty socks all silently and the same fixed.
Your grandmother will not act amused by the Slang Flashcards you’ve so carefully gifted her. But you will catch her, as night winds down, quietly mumbling something about the dinner rolls being “fresh to def” and the mashed potatoes falling “off the chain” from her little chair in the corner.
We will clasp hands and in doing so form a circle of thanks, an embrace for a family blessing on this most blessed eve. Smaller hands will pull free to pick noses. Larger eyes will fidget and squint open in awkward moments of quiet, hoping the lapse in prayer was for dramatic purposes and the blesser hasn’t dozed off mid-Amen.
You will watch the candy-cane-crazed youth sprint laps, glasses teetering and table settings trembling from the sturdy stomps of tiny feet. You will wish for such enthusiasm for life and jogging.
But of all things to be expected this holiday time, this I know is true:
We will delight when it is here and too quickly forget when it is over.
Here’s to remembering. May this be the year we don’t lose our hearts of thanks with season’s end.
What is one thing you’ve come to expect from your holiday festivities?
Also taking bets: Mariah Carey would wear full prom regalia to the Piggly Wiggly. $5 says even her pajamas are sequined.