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Nothing Blue About Post Christmas

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Posted 12-26-2011 at 01:34 AM by Jeff Westover

Some of the best Christmas memories are completely accidental. As some of you know, we lost water to our home due to a main break on Christmas Eve morning.

I got the call around 10:30 am. Christmas Eve is the biggest day of the year in my house but on this day we were moving slow. We saved all of our Christmas shopping for the 23rd, including the task of getting all seven kids to the stores to buy their "secret Santa" gift exchange items and we had gone late into the night with that effort. When I say late, I remind you that I have mostly teenagers, so we're talking about most of us hitting the sack around 4 am.

So when that 10:30am call came through I knew I was going to be waking up the troops but wake them up I did when I called out "If you want a shower today you'd better get it done in 30 minutes!" After a brief outcry from the slumbering daughters I explained the situation and I guess because I wasn't just barking orders they leaped into action. We got everyone showered in record time -- except for me and my two youngest daughters. I was headed that way (even though all the hot water was long since spent) when the water was shut off.

Our Christmas Eve Day is a party and we're kind of ground zero for all the action not only in my family but also on my block. We hang the map and track Santa and have the fire going, the music on and the food spread out and we've pretty much got the walls bleeding Christmas like no one else can so losing water on this day of all days put a major crimp in things.

After all, what can you do without water? The veggies still needed to be prepped and that would require water. The dishes are a constant and that requires water. Ditto for the laundry, which in my house never stops even for Christmas. We couldn't wash hands, use the bathroom or get a drink -- a the necessaries of life are stemmed to water and Christmas Eve is not a day to go dry.

We hung out in our dry state for as long as we could but pretty soon we started to make phone calls. Folks who were planning on coming over delayed those plans. I invited myself to my Mom's to go over there for a shower around 3:30pm and wouldn't you know it, just as I was getting ready to step into the shower -- after the girls had had their shower -- I got a phone call telling me the water was on back at home.

In the course of all this stuff not going to plan we discovered something: change in routine wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Going over to Mom's and chatting with her in my unshowered glory was kind of fun. It was neat to see Mom and Dad in their home on Christmas Eve for a change and we all had a good laugh at how it put a wrinkle in things. I took my shower and we left, knowing we would see them in a short while anyway at my house...as we always do. But we had to get back because I knew Sandy would be in full panic mode, being so far behind in our Christmas Eve plans with nightfall upon us.

Well, it turned out the be an epic Christmas Eve after all. The folks came over, with my sisters and their kids in tow, and we laughed and enjoyed each other's company. We had my two eldest daughters -- who got those early showers -- who were still out shopping on Christmas Eve -- and they came home ready to party. Those bleeding walls were glowing with the laughter and the music and the aroma and the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve, as it always is.

Christmas Day was different too, falling on a Sunday. Church was scheduled for 11:00am and I know the kids agonized over it, fearing it would ruin our Christmas morning fun. Yes, we got to bed around 3am on Christmas Eve -- as always -- and by 5am we had little ones wanting to open presents and being denied, thankfully, by their older siblings. Surprisingly, we had a peaceful getting-ready-for-church period and we went together for the abbreviated services for the day. It set such a warm and appropriate tone.

Then we went home and did the opening the presents thing. It was wonderful -- and oh so very different.

What I didn't hear this year was the sad little sigh you get when the presents are all over and there is nothing left but the clean up and the sudden vacant space under the tree to look at. Nobody mentioned this time about how terrible it was that Christmas was "over".

In fact, I haven't heard that all evening and because tomorrow is an "off" day I don't think we'll hear it tomorrow.

I've been working so hard -- more than any time in the past I can remember -- that I told the kids I was taking some down time this week and I mean it.

There will be no time for post-Christmas blues. We will be celebrating Christmas well into the New Year.

And once January 2nd rolls around, guess what? It's time to get ready for Christmas 2012.

Oh, the pace will be slower. And needfully so. But we're not letting up on the push for Christmas. It will be better than ever. And I'm excited for it.

Like Christmas 1991 or 1996 or 1991 or 2001 this was one for the record books. Not just the day and not just the season but the whole year of 2011 -- our 20th anniversary. How do we top it?

Oh, baby -- have I got plans. Watching this year come together was like envisioning the tree while the roots are still in the ground. I feel that way about 2012.

So there's no time for being blue post Christmas for me.

It's still Christmas. And it will remain Christmas.
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