In embracing the change of pace that 2020 has forced upon us all, this holiday season will be much quieter than in previous years in our household. It's also a significant one for us because it'll be our first holiday season in the new home and our last before the baby's due to arrive.
On Thanksgiving, we spent an unhurried day in the kitchen making a special meal for two: roasted spatchcocked chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans, spicy broccoli, and an olive oil cake for dessert. We cleared off the table in our dining nook where our work-from-home stations are typically set up and enjoyed the meal while on Zoom with family for a quick hello.
I found an easy and delicious flaky pastry dough recipe that I've since bookmarked for future use after trying it for some cranberry hand pies that we didn't even have room for on Thanksgiving day. We assembled a couple and baked them up in our toaster oven this morning, and I'm happy that we have enough prepped to enjoy teeny tiny pies fresh out of the oven for maybe another week.
In turning my attention to Christmas, which I've been mulling over at the back of my mind for a few weeks, I've come to accept the novelty of our current situation and the ways it will shape our experience this year from Christmas through to New Year's Day. To give you an idea of what our house looks like, we've been sleeping in our living room with our mattress on the floor since Tuesday, when renovation work began in our master bedroom. Our second bedroom is packed to the brim with unopened, unassembled, and unorganized baby gear, all of the things that were in our bedroom, including the contents of our closet and built-in cabinets, as well as plenty of items we brought up from the basement before work started there a couple of weeks ago. Our washer/dryer units were removed early last week and we won't have the new ones installed for another week, so our laundry has been piling up. (Though TBH, my day-to-day outfits are basically repeats of the very few garments that I have easy access to, in the suitcase that both Kev and I packed a few things into last week.) Sunday's crate is out here, our coffee table is in the reading nook area, and there are six dog beds on the floor. We work, eat, and rest on top of each other, and I've been making pottery and packing up orders this entire time.
Our physical space is so condensed right now, stuff is on every surface, and the thought of putting up our Christmas tree as in years past is almost laughable. I briefly considered ordering a few decorations but decided against bringing more things into the home.
The good: we are doing the renovations we'd waited months for, and we're doing it before the baby comes. We'll have so much more space when our basement is in a state that will encourage us to actually spend time down there, and I'll even get to re-do my shipping area downstairs to my taste as well as set up a dedicated work corner. We'll have a larger washing machine just in time to need it, and a dryer that doesn't take 2 hours per load. It's been cozy is heck, to say the least, to be so on top of each other this week, and as someone who would prefer to fall asleep touching cheeks with my husband (which he hates), I can appreciate the close quarters. We'll still get to set up our nursery exactly how we want it, we just need to be patient for the time being.
With all that in mind, Christmas cheer will come in small and subtle doses this year. This holiday season will be about spending unscheduled time in each other's company, while time is still uncomplicated by the demands of childcare. It'll be about enjoying every moment, savoring the quiet ones, and marveling over how late it feels with these shorter days even when the possibilities of a full evening stretch out before us. I'll sprinkle in a few of those saccharine, absurd, and predictable holiday movies that I love. We'll cook, bake, and drink hot beverages together. We'll sit on the couch and both gaze at my belly, watching for baby kicks.