Golden Girls of Barrhaven: First Christmas

So where did the time go? That’s what we asked each other as Christmas approached. It only seemed like yesterday that we moved in and unpacked, and now we had been living together for six months! We were getting used to each other now and beginning to learn about the real Cate, Barb and Hilary, not just the friends gathered for social occasions. We had experienced a few “downs”, but far more “ups” on our journey together, and were looking forward to Christmas.

Barb had asked if she could reserve the night of December 21 to cook a big Christmas dinner for her extended family, as she wouldn’t be here at Christmas, and some of her family left for Florida on Boxing Day. Cate planned to have her family over on Christmas Eve, for a big dinner, and they would sleep over and leave on Christmas Day, and I planned to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family, at my son’s house on Christmas Eve, and spending all day Christmas Day, at my daughter’s house, a two-minute drive away, unwrapping presents, having breakfast and then helping to prepare for the 21 people who would arrive later. So it turned out that our schedules actually fitted very well this year.

Then there was the discussion about the lights for the outside of the house. Barb wanted brightly coloured, brightly moving lights everywhere, and Cate wanted plain, white still lights, like icicles hanging from the roof. I was somewhere in between. After much discussion Barb ended it all by saying “I am doing the outside this year and you can do all of the inside, and you can do the outside next year”, and proceeded to bring home “her lights” and have the next door neighbour set them up immediately, so that when I drove home that night I was greeted by a circus-like atmosphere on the roof and by the front door! I have to admit though that since all of our neighbours put up similar displays of lights, our house fitted right in.

After this it was time to decorate the inside of the house. We all put our decorations out in the basement and Cate decorated the house one afternoon. When I came home that evening I was in shock. I have never seen so many decorations in one house! Everything had been cleared away from the shelves, and filled with Christmas stuff, and I hadn’t even put up the tree yet!  It’s a funny thing though, when you look at something every day for a few weeks, you get used to it, and when we took the decorations down on January 2, the house looked very bare indeed.

Then it was Christmas week. Cate had turned her bedroom into a gift wrapping station and took hours to wrap each of her gifts so that the end result was amazing. Barb placed her gifts into bags, with wrapping paper on the top, and once again I was somewhere in between.  We had so many gifts that we had to separate them into three piles so we wouldn’t get mixed up. Most of Barb’s gifts left with her family on the 21, and I took all of mine over to my daughter’s on the 23, so that just left Cate’s gifts here for her family on Christmas Eve.

I think we all had one of the best Christmasses ever though, despite all doing different things. We all got to spend a lot of time with our own families, and the house looked beautiful, inside and out.  On Boxing Day we just all sat around doing nothing, recovering from the hectic days before, but it was so nice to have the company to do nothing with!

Our final hurrah was to host a small New Year’s Eve party for some friends. Unlike the huge housewarming party we had held in September, no real work was needed for this gathering as we had all baked and had so many cookies, chocolates and other treats, that apart from a couple of appetizers, no preparation was needed. As midnight approached and the countdown began, Cate went outside, as requested, with a bottle of Scotch in one hand, and a box of matches and a loaf of bread in the other, and when midnight struck, I let her in, and she brought in good luck for the household for 2020. This is a Scottish custom I grew up with, called the First Footing. 

We all linked arms, in a circle, and sang “Auld Lang Syne”, and I knew for certain that the next year would be an even better one for the Golden Girls!