This year marks the second Christmas for my girls since their Dad and I separated. It's also going to be the first Christmas since the separation that we spend alone, at home, just the three of us (last year we flew from Calgary back 'home' to Toronto to be with my extended family).
I spent a lot of last year doing things for my kids to try to help them feel the loss a little less keenly. The trip to Toronto. A first-time visit to Disneyland. Another trip to Toronto in the summer. This year is going to have to be different, and we're going to have to adjust to a quiet, scaled-down Christmas celebration. I've invited some friends over to share turkey dinner with us, but I'm not sure they're going to come...it may have something to do with the fact that they're still married, and I'm not. After all, what's the lone male to do with no other guy to hang out and watch sports with while the kids are all off playing and we women putter around in the kitchen with our steadily-refilling glasses of wine? So there's a very real chance it'll just be the three of us trying to devour a full Christmas dinner (I will not skimp on this tradition) and then perhaps I'll drag them out to the cinema to catch the theatrical release of Les Misérables.
I always thought that going to a movie on Christmas day was the last holdout of the truly desperate (or, I suppose non-Christians, which in my young and limited experience would have been the three or four Jewish families we knew). But now I can see that it might be just the right kind of diversion when it feels like everyone else in the world is surrounded by a noisy and busy cluster of family and loved ones. Who knows, it just might become a new holiday tradition for us.
But whether or not the yuletide movie becomes a mainstay in our lives, one tradition that we started last year will definitely be carried forward - the family portrait. This was my daughter Charlotte's suggestion. Unbelievably, we hadn't had a family Christmas portrait taken since Charlotte was two (and before her little sister Madeleine was even born)! So last year when she asked to have pictures taken, I agreed and I splashed out a fair bit of coin on a decent studio. I absolutely loved the results (this was my favourite shot of the bunch):
This year, mindful of the bottom line, I booked us in at the WalMart photo studio, and although the experience wasn't quite the same, we still had a hoot and got quite a few nice pictures. And all for less than half the cost. Here are a few of my favourites from this year's shoot:
And Charlotte's favourite...she's pinching Maddy's bum!
The girls who worked there laughed even harder than we did! They loved it so much they even gave me a free 8X10 print of it. (Which I would like a lot better if I didn't look like an old fat hag in this particular shot...sigh)