Clan MacFarlane Worldwide, Inc.

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So here it is, days before Christmas 2020.  Steve and I and Hamish are cozy in our little motorhome on the Gulf of Mexico.  Rockport, Texas is a beautiful location for us during the cold season.  We have made new friends here, and even some of our old friends have made their way down to Rockport.  We fill our time with trips to the beach and the golf course.

I have an 18 inch Christmas tree on the dash of our motorhome.  I leave it plugged in all day so that the fiber optic lights can cast a lovely, and ever-changing hue of blues and reds and greens and purples onto the curtains.  I think this is referred to as ambiance.  

I've tried a new oatmeal cookie recipe, and I have to admit that I think I actually place this new Christmas cookie favorite above the ever-treasured chocolate chip cookies.  Honestly... I cannot believe I've even voiced that opinion!

Every day has been filled with Hallmark movies.  You know the ones... girl, boy, random child and dog and some sort of predictable confict that ALWAYS resolves itself into a lovely moment at the end. Ahhh... good for the soul.

Our plans changed from a trip to Kansas to stay with family and enjoy our usual traditions of Christmas eve service at the Episcopal church and a candlelight version of Silent Night.  Christmas morning is always a large group of family and friends enjoying fresh grapefruit sections on red raspberry sherbert, a sausage ring with scrambled eggs, and gooey cinnamon rolls.  After breakfast we do our traditional raucous gift exchange.  It takes 2 or 3 large green garbage bags to capture the torn wrapping paper and ribbon.  Children playing with new toys and adults opening the annual puzzle, followed with a few hands of Canasta.  That's our usual Christmas.

But, like everyone else, Christmas is different.  It is quiet.  

I will admit that it has affected me in a way that brings to mind that I miss traditions.  I did not write my usual Christmas cards this year.  Not sure why, but my apologies to all my friends and acquaintances for this miss.  Amazon has become my best friend for correspondence.  So maybe I substituted saying hello to Amazon rather than mailing off all the cards.  Maybe.

Christmas morning, Steve and I will open the 3 gray bags that we have received from one child (and yes, they are from Amazon).  We'll enjoy our morning cup of coffee with oatmeal cookies.  I'll walk Hamish.  I'll look for another Hallmark movie, and our life will go on.  But here's the thing, our lives will go on.

No doubt we have all been affected in many ways this year.  Outcomes vary, but aren't we lucky to be living in a time when we can still reach out to each other?  I'm writing a newsletter that may or may not be read anywhere on the globe and in just minutes after I post it (trying not to get a swelled head).  I will email with my ex mother-in-law and father-in-law (too complicated to explain here), to wish them Merry Christmas.  They are in their 90's and don't hear well, so now we use email.  I will call my sister Vashti so I can speak with her and her immediate family and. yes, we will tippy-toe around the subject of politics.  I'll find out if my bro-in-law likes the 3D puzzle of St. Basil's Cathedral, and if it is everything he wants in a good challenge.  I'll call my sister Martha, who might actually be working at the local grocery store and thank her for the chocolate (I already peeked).  I'll call both my kids to make sure they got everything they wanted and needed.  And we'll call my m-in-law's nursing home to see if she likes the box of assorted treats we sent her.  When it is all done, I will have enjoyed many good laughs and smiled countless times.  I can connect by facetime.  I can have a zoom meeting.    

So Christmas will look and feel different, but I will still be able to reach out to family.  And that is the tradition that keeps me whole; my family connections.  I am now looking forward to Christmas morning and the long list of phone calls and emails that I will be making.  Such fun!

I hope you can find a way to connect with family and friends.  I have discovered that it isn't the in-person event built around the tree and church and music that give me satisfaction.  It is the time I can spend with my family via any way possible that is my tradition.  So next year, look for those Christmas cards!  I'll be a terror at the post office with my bundles of cards.  

From me and Steve and Hamish, to all of you I will wish you a Merry Christmas with friends and family in any way you can get that done.  And if you happen to celebrate a different holiday, as some of my family does, I wish you a very Happy Holiday.  Now go and find those phone numbers and figure out how to do a zoom meeting.  Meet the challenge of 2020 and have some much deserved laughs.


Marie Robb