I was talking to my sister-in-law, Patty, who is on crutches this holiday. Nothing makes a woman crazier than not being able to whirl around in a frenzy of Christmas preparation insanity, so she was already apologizing for her house probably not being up to snuff.
I told her not to worry, I’m not coming to visit the decorations or the house. I’m coming to see my family.
As my mother so eloquently put it: “Wenna you’re dead a da house will steel a be dorty. Da hell witta da housework!”
Dear God, the woman was brilliant.
This Christmas remember this: You will never catch up. You’ll clean and the house will be immaculate for a day, or maybe two, (three if you live in a home with a vacuum lock and no living creatures). So, I give you absolution – go ahead and leave a mess while you play with the kids.
I hosted my daughter, her boyfriend, another friend, and my son last night. Not one of them noticed the fact that my kitchen floor was not scrubbed and had scuff marks, yet we all had a great time. My younger self could not have comprehended this, but my older, wiser self knows that scuff marks and dust mock us when we’re not looking.
We sat by the tree, opened our presents early because we were all going our separate ways this Christmas (divorce is such fun during holidays) and never noticed anything but the smiles on each other’s faces.
Life is short — sit on the couch, have a cup of tea and eat a chocolate. Eat two, wait long enough and maybe someone else will do the dishes.
And speaking of chocolates, my daughter bought me the most amazing chocolate covered figs — something I’ve been wanting to try for years now. They’re from John and Kira’s, a chocolatier that makes candy that’s not only beautiful but absolutely delicious.
They’re dried Calabacita figs from a small family farm in Spain. They fill them with a whiskey infused chocolate ganache, then dip them in dark chocolate. You will see God when you eat these, even if you’re an atheist. If they’re above your price range, then order some See’s Candy, it’s my holiday go-to candy and a fantastic hostess gift. (And neither of them are paying me for this. I just talk about the things I love.)
I wish you a fun week preparing. If your gifts aren’t perfectly wrapped, your tree isn’t beautiful and your decorations are still in boxes, don’t worry. Your kids will remember the love, not the decor.
I leave you with the shot I shared last year of my favorite Christmas tree from childhood. Merry week before Christmas!
lafridayDecember 31, 2015 at 1:08 pm
I always envied your house so clean in spite of kids and pets and the constant flurry of activity in your abundant and fragrant kitchen. This post gives me comfort. Kate is a one-woman tornado. I did not freak out over the mess, but enjoyed EVERY SINGLE MINUTE I spent with her. When I returned from the airport last night, I started cleaning, but would gladly settle for the mess to see her face, get her hugs, and have her sweet spirit home. Please give your beautiful kids a big hug and smooch for me. Love you all!
Fran TunnoJanuary 2, 2016 at 10:14 am
Oh my goodness Linda, I’ve been thinking of you through the holidays and am glad you got to spend some time with the one-woman tornado. She is a real treasure and it’s good you realize that. I will definitely give my kids a big hug from you! Happy 2016!
MaryDecember 30, 2015 at 6:57 pm
Yeah, Nicole, she’s stuck with the older Italian sister “she got”, . . . LOL. We all had a great time together for the holiday though. Glad you made it home safe Tweedster.
MonicaDecember 21, 2015 at 10:55 am
Perfect timing for this blog, Fran- we host Dave’s family on Christmas Day and I am determined to not worry about how clean my house is. Even if they DO notice the general uncleanliness, I’m family and they can’t get rid of me! Have a Merry Christmas! xoxoxo
Fran TunnoDecember 27, 2015 at 9:44 am
Hi Monica, it certainly does make for a much more relaxed Christmas, and I promise you, they’ll never notice a thing. They love YOU, not your house, clean, or dirty. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and that 2016 brings you and Dave only the best!
MargaretDecember 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm
Enjoy your trip back Fran, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Hot Dog Shop! We will spend Christmas Eve at my son’ Grant’s house with his family and then get up early Christmas morning to drive 4 hours to Savannah to be with Gretchen and her crew. Blessings to you and yours. PS Love the tree!
Fran TunnoDecember 27, 2015 at 9:42 am
Hi Margaret, I missed the Hot Dog Shoppe this time around, but will certainly catch it next time. It sounds like a wonderful Christmas for you and your family, in spite of all the driving. That’s what you do to be with those you love! Happy 2016!
Chas MadonioDecember 18, 2015 at 11:19 am
Fran, have a great Christmas with your Ohio/Pennsylvania family. Hope we get to see you while you’re home. I look forward to your blogs
Fran TunnoDecember 27, 2015 at 9:40 am
Hi Chas, the reason I’m so behind in responding is because I’m with my family and haven’t had a moment to sit and write. But I will soon. It may include Donna’s stuffed cabbage recipe! I hope you, Nancy and family had a great Christmas and have a wonderful 2016!
Colleen RudnickiDecember 18, 2015 at 8:49 am
Again, Fran, you have gifted all who read your entertaining and insightful blog. This is a year-long Christmas gift to all from you, thank you!
I wish you and all your family the merriest Christmas, full of happy memories and love!
Fran TunnoDecember 27, 2015 at 9:39 am
Colleen, I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas. Thanks for always reading my blog and taking the time to respond, I’m so glad you enjoy it. Happy New Year to you and your family! Love to you all!
NicolDecember 18, 2015 at 3:44 am
Perfect holiday message. Much love to you and yours. Thank you for being the gift of a wonderful friend. xo
Fran TunnoDecember 27, 2015 at 9:37 am
Nicol, everyone who reads my blog knows how much I love you. Thank YOU for being the fabulous younger Italian sister I always wanted but never got.