The Dynamic Gingerbread Trio – Katie, Khamo and I – just finished our goopy, inedible creation, which we’ve been meaning to make for about a week now, or at least in time for Russian (Orthodox) Christmas (January 7). Inedible because it is a kit that I purchased for $1.50 at after Christmas sales about five years ago. The “ready to use” frosting was so hard that we had to revive it with hot water to make it usable, and it smelled nasty.
But who cares? We laughed a lot, we got creative with frosting and garish candies, and we extended that holiday feeling into the darkest and gloomiest (and lately the coldest) part of the year. That’s what “keeping Christmas” is all about.
We were also late, but not that late, with our tree, which has become a new holiday tradition at our house. We spend Christmas (the December 25th version) with my mom, sister and brother in law in Hilton Head, SC. It is usually about 75 and not feeling at all like Christmas, the only “white” part being the beach sand. When we return to Arlington on the 26th, we start the ritual of finding a Christmas tree – on the street.
Yes, there are people who ditch their tree the day after Christmas, as sad as that might seem. (They are probably the ones who put it up on Thanksgiving Day.) Poor, forlorn trees thrown to the curb, sometimes with a bit of tinsel or some missed ornament clinging to them. We pick one and give it a new life as our Christmas tree. I like to think they are happy to have a second life in our living room. Soon enough they will be turned into mulch, why not give them a little reprieve?
So, my advice, don’t let Christmas go too soon. Keep the feeling of creativity, togetherness, and light as long as you can – all year if possible. But maybe don’t wait five years to use your gingerbread house kit.