Over the weekend, we made merry.

Christmas Nosh

On Friday, I finished work early and we took Barb to see a movie at the Grail. “The Eagle Huntress” is a documentary about a thirteen-year-old girl who becomes the first female eagle hunter in the nomadic Kazakh tradition. Incredible sweeping views, the dedicated love of a father and daughter, and the bond between the girl and her golden eagle all made me weep from the beauty. Aisholpan inspired me with her perseverance, charm, and strength. The movie director made sure that we saw all sides of her from the giggling thirteen-year-old with her friends at school to the hunter intent upon her prey.  I left the cinema motivated to move forward into this new life we are forming.

I mean, after the holiday week is done and all.

Christmas eve, I alternated between knitting and baking. I finished up the knitting on the Owl in the Thicket hat and baked an Italian Cream Cake for our Christmas dessert.

Italian Cream Cake & Hat

We watched two of my favorite Christmas movies, “The Shop Around the Corner” (Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, 1940) and “Christmas in Connecticut” (Barbara Stanwyck and Sydney Greenstreet, 1945), and enjoyed a dinner of roasted butternut squash bisque and a puff pastry sandwich ring with ham, brie, caramalized onions, and sweet apples.

Puff Pastry Sandwich Ring

Christmas day, we relaxed. I read part of my latest book, The Fate of the Tearling, watched part of “The Hogfather” (David Jason and Michelle Dockery, 2006 – I found it on YouTube this year), and continued knitting hats.

Christmas Knitting

Stephanie made a simple yet formal dinner of standing rib roast, mashed potatoes, and sauteed brussel sprouts. After dinner, we laughed and chatted and settled into the living room to enjoy our tea and cake while watching a recording of the earlier showing of CBS Sunday Morning. Quite ironic for a viewing this late in the evening, but it ended the day on a heartwarming note.

Snuggling into bed, I happily considered the week ahead. We’re off to visit my family tomorrow. I have felting (the “Owl in the Thicket”) to complete, a tea cozy (“I Talk With the Moon”) to take with me to knit and steek, and a couple more gifts to pick up before we go.

I love this time, when the deadlines are done and only six days separate us from next year. During these days, I relax. The work of the year is basically done and all that is left is to enjoy the family and celebrate the season. I make sure to take some time to contemplate the happenings of the past year and the promise of the next.

More than that, I enjoy the abundance of the cookies and cakes, the leftovers from the amazing dinners, chatting with family and friends, laughing until I cry, that moment when something inconsequential sparks a memory full of love and tears fill my eyes for the loss of that time or place or pet or person.  This time is filled with the magic of the season and the promise of the new year.

Make merry, my friends!  Celebrate this time of waiting for the new beginning.  The magic isn’t over yet.

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PS – If you are in Asheville and the surrounding area, The Eagle Huntress is playing at the Grail Moviehouse through Thursday.  Go see it if at all possible!