Friday, December 23, 2011

Dress Code

Tonight is Christmas Eve and even though I have a small house with limited seating, my annual party has a dress code. I don't expect ball gowns and tuxedos but I do expect a little upgrade dressing. No jeans. I love that my daughter's boyfriend has already called for a wardrobe check. For myself, I try to select something festive and pretty. Tartan is meant for Christmas Eve and I have a floor length skirt. But I wore that last year. Of course, no one will remember except the photo album but this year I can't help thinking how nice something sparkly would be to mirror the stars that will be dotting tonight's clear and cold winter sky.
Christmas dressing in the past was always resplendent. Somehow the pine green shantung silk shirtdresses of the 50's were lost along the way. So too, the wide shouldered dresses and suits of the 40's that gave Christmas Eve its importance and significance. But tonight, I just want special for a special night. I hope I will see some chic cashmere separates, perhaps a beaded sweater or charmeuse blouse in a lovely jewel tone.
In my favorite Christmas film, Since You Went Away, Claudette Colbert's character Anne Hilton entertains her eclectic war-time company in a green Dacron dress and large brooch. Her daughters wear velvets in green and red. All wear heels. They look lovely and fine, even though the year without Pop, who is missing in the Pacific, was painful and difficult. They showed up in finery befitting the holiday. And somehow, it speaks to hope and a better life ahead.
I am indeed hopeful that 2012 will be wonderful, and to show how much, I've decided that even if I don't wear sparkles tonight, I just may grace myself with the prettiest and flirtiest crimson bow you will ever see.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When Christmas Happens

I never know the exact moment when Christmas happens for me. It could be the day I trim the tree, the afternoon I settle in with Victoria's A Woman's Christmas, or the private moment driving home from work when I notice the Christmas lights for the first time. I only know it's at that very moment that Christmas happens and all the wonderful things about the season begin to surround me like a warm cozy blanket.
I get misty and giddy by turns when I think of all the happy Christmases I had at my grandmother's, the wonderful little things my mother did for us that made us wiggle with delight, the neighbors who always visited on Christmas Eve, the majesty of attending our church's midnight mass, the carols I sang my heart out with the girl scouts. All those things made Christmas happen to my little girl heart.
Then there were the years I lived with him, when I decorated our house with abandon and had the money to do so. I still recall the teddy bear he gave me with the new pearl earrings in its newly pierced and furry ears. Later the years my darling daughter sang in the church choir and made cookies with me, both of us in our bunny slippers, made Christmas happen and come in a rush.
My memories of the Christmases of yore by no means diminsh the Chrismas of now or the ones in the future. I just never know when that magical moment will kick in and Christmas, the holiday I wait for all year, suddenly and joyously, happens!