Farewell Matt Smith

Doctor Who fans – if you haven’t yet watched ‘The Time of the Doctor”, this post contains spoilers.

 

Tom Baker was my first doctor. The one who I watched on PBS as a teenager in the 80’s. His slouchy hat, his curly hair, and that fantastic scarf. His big blue eyes. Now, on occasion, I like to check out his website and admire the photos he shares of his pets.

Then after E. and I got married, Doctor Who was back again and Christopher Eccleston was the Doctor. Not my favorite. I watched though, because it was Doctor Who. And then something special happened. David Tennant became the Doctor and what a joy he was to behold as the Doctor. I was heartbroken when he left.

Matt Smith arrived on the scene, a doctor younger than me – that was a little strange, but I quickly fell for his quirkiness, his charm, his wonderful way with children, the fantastic chemistry he and Karen Gillan had, the love between him and River, and that smile that just told you he was having a blast. My 8 year old fell in love with Matt Smith’s Doctor and is beyond distraught that he has left. She cried and cried and wrote a fervent plea to Matt Smith to return as the Doctor. I’ve thought about mailing it to him, care of, his manager/agent/person, but I haven’t yet.

E. had to work on the twenty fifth, so we celebrated our Christmas on the twenty sixth. After stockings were emptied, and presents unwrapped, after a relaxing sit down dinner, we watched “The Time of the Doctor” and I lost it when he said, “I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear,”  and “I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”. And then when Amy reappeared, touched his face and murmured “Raggedy Man. Goodnight.”

 

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On that note, I end this one. We greatly enjoyed your time as the Doctor, Matt Smith, and there is at least one 8 year old who misses you desperately.

 

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A history rich in Advent

As a child I received many advent calendars from my father’s parents. Every year that I would get one, I would gaze at them reverently, for they weren’t the cheaply made, mass produced items put out in the states. No, these were hand-made more often than not, richly colored in jeweled hues, with beautifully decorated picture work and thoughtful little treats a small child would be able to happily place in a secret box, or drawer and look at from time to time. My grandparents would buy them during their yearly trips abroad, most often in Norway where my grandmother had been born and raised.

 

As I grew older the giving of the calendars didn’t ebb away but continued yearly. I looked forward to them immensely. After my grandfather suffered a permanently debilitating stroke, the calendars stopped; my grandmother no longer traveled. A few years ago, after she, too, passed away, I found an older advent calendar from C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” on ebay. I ordered it, and we hang it up yearly so perhaps my children will grow up in the same tradition and in the hope of them having a memory like I do one day.

 

 

I dreamed of the advent calendars last night, I dreamed that I was a child again, looking at them again, but with more of an appreciation for the ongoing, consistent thoughtfulness of my grandparents who knew of the fascination the calendars held for me. They, truly, became something I looked forward to every year.

 

They were the one magical part of Christmas that the holiday held for me. My mother had told me from the time I was a toddler that Santa Claus did not exist. I recall my Christmases – they were often boring, dreary days where I would be found reading on the couch, or in my bedroom. As I grew up, I went to the movies on Christmas or out with friends.

 

After having children of my own, I found a love for Christmas from a place I did not know I possessed. A happiness in picking out thoughtful gifts for my children and husband that I knew they would enjoy. A peacefulness in sharing this time of year with little people who DID believe in Santa Claus. And I realized that Santa exists where you let him. That my husband and I are Santa when we wrap presents, place them under the tree late Christmas Eve, when we sprinkle reindeer dust (uncooked oatmeal with glitter) on the lawn, when we leave carrots for Santa to take to the reindeer, and cookies or chocolate cake for Santa.

 

Christmas Eve holds magic for me. A night filled with warmth, and the happiness I derive from carefully placing presents under the tree, from filling stockings, and eating the snacks the children leave out for the Christmas travelers. When everything is done I like to put the tree lights on, sit on the couch, sip some tea and look. We don’t go overboard on gifts; we plan a budget out each year and stick to it. I generally like to keep it under $60. per child. For us, although Santa is a presence, Christmas holds a deeper meaning.

 

I wanted my children to believe in Santa; I wanted Christmas in my house to be a joyous day, full of surprise and appreciation.

Our own traditions

It’s November, so it’s that time of year again. The time where I get a bit manic trying to do everything I want before the commencement of holidays in December.

When we lived back East every Thanksgiving and Christmas we would travel around to visit and dine with family. When my girls were about 1 and 2, we had a Thanksgiving that made us rethink how we did things. It was an evening event, we went, bringing two young sweethearts who were more ready for bed than an evening out. First – there are candles all over, the ones that smell nice in small batches but when there are about 5 or 10 of them going, not so much. Second – there’s nothing I can eat. I followed a strict vegan diet back in those days (I was a pretty hard core vegan for 20 years, until about a year ago) and I had been instructed not to eat since there would be plenty that I could eat. However, there was not. We had an enjoyable time anyhow, spending time with family, enjoying the giant stone fireplace and warmth emanating from the merry flames.

We drove home around 9 or 10, driving through the heavy, wet snow that had started while we were visiting. The girls were crying, past ready to be nursed and sleeping. When we got home, I got into bed with the babies and tried to calm and soothe. They were so over-tired by then that neither of them were able to fall asleep until after 11 pm. After they were asleep I had a quick bite in the kitchen with my husband and we talked. I suggested that we might consider staying home during the holidays, at least while the girls were so young, and that we just relax and enjoy our little family. My husband was overjoyed by this suggestion and, much to the dismay of our families, we stayed home during Christmas. I look back on that Christmas with such fondness and remember the sweetness of the day, I missed our families, but was thrilled to be able to focus on the happiness of my children as we all played with new toys together without feeling pressure to get dressed and ready to drive a distance to be somewhere by a specific time.

Our Thanksgiving is simple – no one really likes turkey all that much, so I make a giant batch of pizza dough and we take out a jar of our summer-canned tomato sauce and make pizza. It’s easy and fun for everyone.

Christmas can sometimes be a little more formal, with perhaps an actual sit-down meal of pot roast and mashed potatoes, honey glazed ginger carrots and a close-to-bedtime mug of cocoa in front of the fireplace.

I love our holiday traditions, they work for us beautifully.

 

But back to my pre-holiday mania – I do a lot of baking, we make presents to send to far-off family, and I try to make a few gifts each year for my girls and husband. The gift-making is often very time consuming and I’ve been giving thought to taking it a little easier and making less.

 

 

 

 

How do you celebrate holidays? What are some favorite holiday meals? Do you make gifts? If so, when do you get started on those?