Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Joyeux Noel!

Partly Cloudy, mild, highs minus 2.

Merry Christmas!

The special Christmas pastry is ready for the oven, the fire is laid, though not yet lit. The tree is lit and King's College Cambridge is singing The First Noel. And I thought of you - and my great delight at being able to write to you and wish you all great joy, and even greater peace.

It's just the two of us, Michael and me, this year - and we couldn't be happier. Calm, relaxed, but still oddly excited. Not about the gifts - we don't give each other many - but I think it's just the comfort of the familiar and well loved rituals. Turkey (way too much for just two of us, but wonderful for left-overs) sweet potato casserole, peas, stuffing, gravy. Yum. The smells, the music, the snow. This afternoon we're off to deliver a few gifts. Then sit by the fire as the turkey cooks and look at the new books and magazines and deeply relax.

Had a marvelous message from Margaret whom I met this September in Australia. She lives in Canberra and came out to the book event there. She wrote about her Christmas -

'Unlike the cold weather you've described so graphically, it's high summer here - the summer solstice last night - and I'm packing swim suits and beach towels and sun block to take to Sydney for Christmas with my daughter and mother ans sister and brother. Christmas dinner will probably be a seafood platter and salad (and champagne for those who drink) and then summer fruits - peaches, mangos, cherries.'

So different but so lovely. Sublime. I'd envy Margaret if I wasn't so happy here. So powerful to know that all around the world people who celebrate this holiday are doing it in their own way, with their own traditions.

Our traditions have changed a great deal since I was a child. Fewer and fewer people, fewer gifts, smaller meals. But, oh, I do love it - just as much as ever.

Each morning Michael and I hold hands and say a little prayer, then we say what we're grateful for. This morning I want to tell you how grateful I am to you. For reading the books, for your kindness and support and generosity.

Happy Holidays - Merry Christmas. Joyeux Noel.

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