“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.”

Today will be rainy and warm with a temperature in the 50’s, but tonight will be  different. Old Man Winter, who’s tired of waiting in the wings, is coming back to lay claim to December. It will be in the 30’s all week during the day and even colder at night. One night is predicted to be in the teens. On that night, I’ll be cozy and warm in the house with all the Christmas lights glowing and spreading their warmth. I’m thinking I’ll have egg nog in hand, in keeping with the season of course.

It has been really difficult of late to maintain a bit of optimism. I hold on to mine with every muscle in my body especially now, at Christmas time, when all of my memories  surface and help me believe in goodness, generosity and faith. Even though we live distances apart, my sisters and I celebrate together when we honor family traditions. We keep our mother and father close. How could I be anything but an optimist at this time of year?

My first Christmas in Ghana was my first Christmas away from my family, but my mother made sure I had a bit of home. She sent ornaments from our family tree. She also sent a small plastic tree to hang them on. I used the brick-like paper from the box to make a fireplace on the wall. From it I hung the small stocking she had sent. A few Christmas cookie cutters were also in that wonderful box. Though I had never made sugar cookies, I did that Christmas. They were delicious and shaped like a star, a tree and Santa. I found out much later that my mother and my aunt Mary had split the huge cost of sending that box airmail so I’d have it in time for Christmas.

I have many memories of that first Christmas in Ghana, but I think my favorite happened while I lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. It was cold, and I was bundled in a wool blanket I had bought and even still have. At that time of the year the harmattan is in full force. The days are hot, usually over 100˚ hot, but the nights and really early mornings are delights when the temperature drops sometimes even 30˚. On that night, I heard a boy’s voice singing. I think it came from a family compound just outside the school walls. The boy sang all the verses of We Three Kings in a sweet, clear voice. It was the only sound in the cold night air. It brought delight and joy to me, and I knew I’d be fine that first Christmas away. I always think of that boy as my Christmas miracle.

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13 Comments on ““Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    The Christmas I liked the most was when I rented a cottage even more remote than where I live now. I drove up there right after work with cats and dogs and at the night between Christmas even and day the temperature dropped to -22 F. There was at least 3 feet of snow and the closest human was over 7 miles away.

    I stayed in the kitchen because the only heat I had came from a wood stove and I had to wake up every three hours to start the fire again 🙂 I was warm since I had two dogs and a cat sleeping beside me but the water in the bucket had a tendency to freeze 🙂 🙂

    It was absolutely quiet and I’ve never seen so many stars before or after in my life. Now days wolves live in that area and I would have loved to be able to hear them howl but I was there thirty years too early 🙂 I barely listened to the radio I had brought, who needed a radio when I could look at the entire universe 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I remember that night sky you also remember, but mine was over Ghana. Like you, I had never before seen so many stars lighting the night sky. I sat outside just looking at the stars.

      I love your memory of that Christmas.

      Maddie, my cat, doesn’t sleep with me. Fern used to so Maddie stayed away. Gracie does sleep with me and hogs far more room than is comfortable for me. We are still sleeping on the couch as Gracie can’t do stairs.

      Have a great evening!

    • sprite Says:

      How magical, Christer!

      • olof1 Says:

        It was! If I had done that today I would most likely have started to wonder if the chimney had been swept and if the cottage would burn down if I kept a fire burning there for that long 🙂 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Christer,
        It is painful when the real world starts to erode our dreams, our fantasies and our belief in things magical.

  2. sprite Says:

    It was really a kind gift of your mother and aunt, but I bet it made them feel less far away from you, too, knowing you had pieces of home.

    • katry Says:

      sprite,
      Aunt Mary was always my favorite aunt.

      Knowing my mother, you’re right. She knew it would be difficult for me to be away from home at Christmas. Later she told me she had found the small tree at Woolworth’s. It was way before Christmas so there was nothing out for sale. She had the guy go into the inventory to find that tree.

  3. Hedley Says:

    Early season snow means just one thing, people have forgotten how to drive – drop the speed down to 15 mph and keep texting. With the first 4 or 5inches down, my drive time doubled this morning. Now we are told that Wednesday will dump another 8 and give us wind chills below zero

    SO tell us more about the warm Ghana Christmas nights !!!

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      No snow is coming this way, but we will get down to the teens on Wednesday night.

      The cape’s largest population group is comprised of retired people. Many of them, the snow birds, have already flown to Florida. The rest stay inside when it snows. The roads then aren’t so very bad.

      Tales of Ghana’s heat won’t keep either of us warm.

  4. Bob Says:

    Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. We lit the first candle in the menorah and we had bagels with lox and cream cheese, potato lakes and donuts. We gave my kids their first gift and had fun evening. Chanukah takes the excitement of Christmas and spreads it out over eight nights.

    The only optimism I have for today is for Roy Moore to go down in defeat in the Alabama special senate race. If he wins my faith in my fellow citizens will fall to a new low. When leaders in the Republican Party actually admit that they think diversity is not a strength in our country, I’m concerned about the future we are leaving behind.

    A cloudless sky accomplished by cooler temperatures gave us a taste of winter. The low was 45 this morning and we only got into the 50s for a high. Yesterday we almost hit 80 degrees.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I love the idea of stretching out the gifts. That heightens the excitement and makes Chanukah special.I also love your traditional menu for the evening!!

      The consensus is he will win. On MSNBC the comment was made that win or lose is a win-win for the democrats. Moore in the senate will be a loss for the republicans who now become the party of pedophiles and will divide the party as many republicans came out against Moore, including the other Alabaman senator. A win by Jones would be remarkable and send a clear message to Trump and Bannion.

      It was rainy most of the day and warm, but the chill will start this evening and continue the rest of the week. We’re talking New England cold not your silly Texas cold.

      • Bob Says:

        Roy Moore lost. Hopefully this is the start of the beginning of the Democrates taking back Congress next year.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I was so very excited. I heard Jones’ acceptance and Moore telling everyone to go to the secretary of state’s office so he can explain that they may not have lost.


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