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Day By Day: A quieter Christmas sounds like a good idea

It is going to be a little different around our house this Christmas and, maybe it’s my age, but I am fine with that.

This will be the first time since the kids were born that we won’t all be together on Christmas morning. But it is for a good reason. Katie and our new son-in-law Josh will be on a well-deserved honeymoon to Mexico (props to the other in-laws for their generous gift).

The only down side is that Kevin will spend a considerable amount of time worrying (and reminding me that he’s worried) that they won’t do any of the following:

--wear lifejackets while snorkeling or even sitting on the beach in case there’s a sunami.

--boil any and all water they drink, say no to any ice or maybe just avoid drinking anything – they can last seven days can’t they?

--use the bug bomb he’s sending with them -- it’s a very nice resort but then it might have some very nice vermin.

And the list goes on as will he until they are safely returned.

We will have the pleasure of having our son Cory and his new wife Rachel around for the week. God bless them, they have tried to appease everybody the last two Christmases but have decided to take a saner approach this year -- the old parental trade-off -- one of us gets Christmas Eve and the other Christmas Day. I’m fine with that. I have decided that Christmas is just a day and you can really celebrate whenever.

That said, there are some traditions you can’t mess with -- like oyster stew. It has to be served on Christmas Eve according to my Irish mother’s recipe. The food options also have to include such holiday staples as onion dip with Old Dutch chips and little cocktail weinies.

Although it is a break with tradition, we will be serving all this more around lunch time than dinner but I figure that works out for the best. My 97-year-old Dad can be home before dark and come 8 o’clock, I can go grab a little broth and fish out as many oysters as I want without any witnesses, not to mention polishing off the chips and dip and having multiple Lindt balls for dessert.

Kevin doesn’t eat oyster stew but not to worry – I have laid in a supply of some festive braunschweiger. (The Nueske people call it “liver pate,” but it’s really just braunschweiger).

A Christmas without a houseful would have seemed sad to me way back when but then I could keep more than two things straight in my head at a time, could straighten up to my full height by 8 a.m. instead of noon and eat whatever without worrying if I had enough TUMS and toilet paper. So the fact that this year some of it will be just the four of us, and some of it, just the two of us, is OK with me.

Things change, as they should -- there’s a new normal this year. Fortunately it allows for a lot of time to remember the good times from Christmases past.

I hope you all take time to do the same. And thanks for reading once again. Here’s to a good new year -- we deserve it.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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