Christmas Eve in the Neighborhood

Dear Liza,

The rain stopped Christmas Eve, and we got to go for a walk. It was long-underwear, extra scarf wearing cold, but clear and dry. I put on my light-up coat so we didn’t get killed by traffic, and we headed out.

We had expected, with everyone being in lock-down, that there would be more decorations than usual, but there weren’t. Maybe folks are feeling sad, not being able to visit and travel. Maybe they are saving money this year. But for whatever reason, there were fewer houses all lit up.

What there was, though, was pretty nifty. This house goes nuts every year, and I think they add more lights every year, as well. They are lit up from their front fence to inside their front window, and it is staggeringly bright.

These are very traditional decorations. Some of them, like the gingerbread people cut-outs on the far right, I remember from my childhood.


Other houses use a more unconventional set of things to celebrate the holiday, like this “Baby Jesus as television static” nativity scene. It was surreal and wonderful.

On the same porch was this just slightly possessed Easter Bunny, escorted by Malchior and Balthazar.

Then around a corner, we saw a truck idling in the middle of the very dark street. A man was calling to some other folks… offering candy canes at the end of a long handled fishing net.

Holy Smokes, it was Covid Santa, out and about! He and Mrs. Claus, all dressed up in their finery, were ho ho ho-ing around the neighborhood. What a nice surprise!

With that, we figured we had seen the best Christmas Eve could offer, and headed home for hot toddies and “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday, sweetie. I will see you soon.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Happy Hannukah!

Dear Liza, Yesterday we celebrated Hannukah with Auntie Katie, Cousin Jasper and Cousin Kestrel. I started early, making the dough for sufganiot, or hannukah doughnuts. It is a sweet, soft yeast dough and needed to rise for a while. I packed it up for the trip.

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My lit up coat!

I walked to Auntie Katie’s house as it was getting dark, and I wore my regular heavy coat with an addition: Remember the  tiny lights Auntie Katie sewed onto her cape?  I sewed a multi-colored version onto my coat, so I could walk after dark and BE SEEN by the drivers. I felt so bright and cheerful, like a Christmas tree out for a stroll. I got thumbs up and smiles from folks, and a lady actually rolled down her car window to ask “Where’d you get those lights?”

Once I was at Aunt Katie’s, we grated the potatoes for latkes, made applesauce, and went to fetch the cousins from school. They have such a nice after- school program at Hosford-Abernethy, they never want to leave! But we managed to bring them and Cousin Kestrels’ graham cracker gingerbread house home.

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Frying latkes                        Photo credit: Katie Proctor

The cousins helped shape the sufganiot into donought shapes, balls and sticks, and we let them rise while Auntie Katie fried the latkes. Then, while the latkes stayed hot in the oven, we fried the sufganiot! They got so brown and pretty, and when they were done I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar and let them cool down.

We ate latkes with sour cream and applesauce, then ate the sufganiot….so tasty! Even Grandpa Nelson had one, and you know how fussy he is.

 

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Tasty sufganiot!                  Photo credit: Katie Proctor

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Cousin Jasper and new hat

Then, of course, we opened presents. Jasper liked his Zelda hat so much we wore it while he played video games on the couch. Kestrel, Grandpa Nelson, Auntie Bridgett and Auntie Katie all had fun working on a picture using Kestrel’s new art supplies…fairy stamps, markers, and googly eyes.

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Art collaboration

When we were stuffed and the cousins were sleepy, we headed home. What a lovely evening!

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Fairies and their pet carrots, still in progress

Love,

Grandma Judy