I worked today until around noon. Then I bid my co-workers "Merry Christmas" and headed off. First I went to a local children's emergency shelter. I had some toys I got last year to donate to charity, but I did not get them donated. This year I looked up this shelter, ascertained where to donate, and drove over there.
I found the shelter was not a workhouse of Dickensian proportions, but a stylish set of one-story residential buildings. Some kids, mostly teens, were playing outside. They did not seem downcast, despite being in shelter resulting from the fact, presumably, that their families were in a crisis. They were just doing what kids do, with sports balls and skates and what-have-you. The very bravest people sometimes do not know they are being brave. They just think they are being normal in abnormal situations.
I found someone in charge to whom to give the toys, and headed to the park. Though the morning had been cold, the afternoon was warmer. I saw red-bellied woodpeckers, as well as
a bluebird, a hawk, some chickadees, a huge ruffled bird up in a tree that I did not recognize, and what I believe was a yellow-rumped warbler. During my walk,I had a fond thought about Christmas with my parents, which brought a quick tear to my eye.
At 4 p.m., we went to the First United Methodist Church of Allen for the Christmas Eve childrens' service. The service was really well done--the kids did their parts while someone read the nativity story. The young mother with her shy smile kept having to cart a cantankerous one-year-old into the lobby.
We sang all the right songs, and heard a soloist sing "O Holy Night". I was really impressed when she hit the note on the crescendo-point "light DiVINE" without being either histrionic,bombastic or off-key. I felt badly for the excellent offertory soloist, because her part was punctuated with more than her quota of crying children. I love singing "Silent Night" with candles burning.
We went to dinner at the Urban Crust in Plano. They had a "loaves and 7 fishes" Christmas Eve special, but we both thought it a bit rich, and ordered from the menu instead. I had a penne' rosse with mixed vegetables. The service was excellent, and the owner thanked us as we left, though we do not know the owner.
We drove home and decorated our little artificial "kitchen tree", a tree whose ornaments are all based on food and baking items. We also watched the St. Olaf choir do a wonderful "Christmas in Norway" concert with a schoolgirl choir from Trondheim. I threw my dog's new toy, the Funky Monkey, which made her happy. Now we are settled in watching the "The Christmas Story". I love Christmas Eve. When I was a child, it was a time to open presents, in the German way, though I am more English and Scots Irish than German (as with many southerners). But I will settle for lovely music, a little tree, and a lovely evening with my wife and dog.