Family Ties

Hasselnuss StengeliAndrea here, continuing our daily celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmastide with short posts on the spirit of the season. The holidays have been a bit quiet for me as this year, instead of our usual Christmas Day gathering, my family has been scattered around the globe. In celebration of my niece getting her PhD in English two weeks ago, my older brother and his wife took her to Rome (it had to be that timing because both my niece and SIL are teaching at different universities with different breaks) My younger brother and his family just moved houses in Wyoming and were frantically getting their old place ready for sale . . . And my nephew (the PhD's brother) jetted off to Brazil to be with his fiancee. (Niece and nephew pictured here)

IMG_4996So, I was feeling a little nostalgic with everyone so far away. And then very early on Christmas Eve morning I was awakened by the "beep-beep" of a text coming into my cellphone. Hmmm. I was tempted to ignore it—I'm not big on texting or being a slave to my phone. However, I decided to take a quick look and it's my nephew from Brazil, apologizing for the wake-up call but in need of immediate cookie help! He was surprising his fiancee with a batch of traditional Swiss "hasselnuss stengeli" Christmas cookies and couldn't remember how to make the lemon-sugar glaze.

So off we go on a flurry of texts . . . He has very fond memories of making the cookies with his grandmother (my mother). As do I. (He loves to cook and is very good at it.) The missing piece of the recipe was easy-peasy to send off but for the next little while we were also exchanging funny memories of past holidays . . . like the time my mother's usually well-behaved German Shepherd, who NEVER stole food, walked through the dining room in mid-feast with a huge wedge of Jarlsberg that he had snatched from the low cocktail table in the living room . . . and the time my mother was insisting on taking SO many group pictures of the family that he instigated getting everyone to take their shirts off when she was fiddling with the camera. (She framed that picture.)

IMG_0605Anyway, when it ended, I was laughing aloud and feeling, well, very connected, even though we were very far away. To me it was a perfect vignette of what the spirit of the season is all about. Family, friends, laughter, sharing . . . and though I don't think of devices are a very good way to do that, I was grateful for modern technology letting me connect to a loved one and share a few laughs.

What about you? Were you able to celebrate together with loved ones? Or did you do some long distance connecting too?