But that was not the same snow,” I say. “Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.*

Christmas is:

sun! oh loveliest December gift
remembering Christmases past
seeing old friends
hot chocolate

a few presents under the tree
sparkling lights

a fire in the fireplace

long-overdue chats
redwood trees and wreathes
brothers finally making it to California, even after delays

packages mailed on time for once
visiting with the neighbors
slowing down

catching up
tea and chocolates
being home

Today is December 25, and the year is nearly over — the dinner parties of the past 12 months blur into one long, happy memory; all the dishes are washed and neatly put away, waiting for an opportunity to be brought out in the new decade; the holiday gift packages (five

this year; more on that later) have all reached their intended destinations); the oven is finally taking a well-deserved rest; we’re off to the beach in a bit to soak in some of this beautiful, sunny, clear (and cold) day — after breakfast, that is.

The past few days have been a whirlwind of eating some really good meals (I took my brother to last night, for a belated 30th birthday celebration, and oh boy), eating cookies, and baking. In the past week/ish my oven has produced:

1 batch lemon poppyseed bread (baked into 2 mini loaves to send out)
1 batch ginger-pecan cookies
2 batches dog biscuits
1 batch olive oil-red wine cookies
1 vegan chocolate cake
1 batch cocoa-dusted salted hazelnuts

1 batch roasted almonds (+ chocolate/cayenne/salt)

2 batches toasted-pecan banana/chocolate bread

Whew. After an apple galette for tonight’s dessert I take a little break!

[On my table, December 2009.]

I post this every year and every year I can’t help but do so again because it is so beautiful, so sweet and true and perfect:

Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.

*(Dylan Thomas, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”)

May your holidays be as close, as holy, as warm and lovely.

Join the Conversation

  1. close and holy darkness. that is so beautiful.

    (and your baked goods aren’t too shabby either) ;)

  2. Merry Christmas to you and yours! May the day be wonderful and relaxing!

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