Presents lie colorfully wrapped under the tree, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, various boxes of Chex cereals are in the pantry awaiting their incorporation into the party treat known as “trash,” “nuts ‘n bolts,” or whatever name grabs a hold of you. Eggnog has been granted “staple” status and is inventoried as such.
There’s even an Advent calendar, a first for this household, to help us track the days leading up to Christmas Day. Set-abouts of all things Christmas are in abundance.
Poinsettia candles grace the dining room and a seasonal tablescape adds a cheery look to the dining table. This year, Barbara has added effervescent waxes, discs that are electrically warmed to release their aromas, to her collection of Christmas smells. Christmas Cards are piling up in the card basket, a sure sign that Christmas is near.
We’re in a holiday-baking lull but chocolate fudge, snicker doodles, and peanut butter cookies tempt the passerby. Baking and basting and cooking in general will kick into high gear about mid-week as preparations to feed twenty in our home on Christmas Day are readied.
Adding to all the above is the distinct smell of country ham, not so much the smell associated with it in a frying pan, though we have noted that aroma of late, but more along the lines of a smokehouse. It’s ham slicing season here in “the circle.”
Each year for the past several years, we buy a number of country hams which we de-bone, slice, and package for gifts to friends and family. It is a labor of love and a fairly inexpensive way to bestow a meaningful gift to others, and one that usually extends into the New Year.
Yes, the signs of Christmas in our home are numerous, indeed!
~ By Wayne Carter