Our presents have been opened and the Christmas meal devoured. We have enough leftovers to feed us for the rest of the week, but if past history is any indicator, we'll tire of turkey by Tuesday and order a pizza. This has been a low key Christmas. We stayed home, just the spouse and I and our adult son. The spouse and I agreed not to exchange gifts because we didn't need anything and if we did need or want something, then we'd just buy it for ourselves. So we bought ourselves a new television and the spouse ordered new fancy binoculars and next week I'll hit the after-Christmas sales and probably find something I can't live without.
We had dinner about 2:00. I've never been able to determine how long everything will take to cook, so we don't plan a meal time. We just eat when everything is done.
We had Christmas crackers at our dinner table. There's a picture of a Christmas cracker above. They're one of those things that you always see in pictures of English Christmas celebrations. You hold one end and someone else holds the other and you pull until the cracker pops. Inside there's a small plastic toy or charm, a paper hat, and a fortune or joke. In those English Christmas pictures everyone is sitting around the table wearing the paper hats. When I've visited England, I've always purchased crackers to bring home. My children enjoyed the tradition when we could find crackers. Now I can order them online, but it seems a little silly to get them for three adults. Unless the grandchildren come visit us for Christmas the four crackers I found this year in a dusty box when I unpacked the Christmas decorations will probably be our last.
So at dinner the spouse, our son and I held on to the ends of the crackers and tugged them open with a pop. The tradition is that you have to pull the cracker open with someone else. I got a lovely pink paper crown, a small plastic top, and a joke. The problem is that none of us understand the joke. I figure it must be an English thing. Can any of you Brits explain this joke to me?
What do you call a fish with letters running down its middle?
Answer: Rock SalmonNone of us get it...and that's as exciting as our Christmas conversation got this year!
There's a part of me that longs for the excitement of Christmas past when we had small children giddy with anticipation for Santa. This year I had to settle for talking with my granddaughters on the phone.
I'm learning that in retirement the one thing that doesn't slow down is change. Our Christmas is different now that our children are adults, but I've learned to appreciate however we celebrate the holiday.
Merry Christmas everyone!