So our Christmas passed with family coming together after all.
What a time we’re living in. Daily pilgrimage through social media to see who’s doing what, who’s got the best photos, articles, comments, who’s got the most likes.
Funny, once I determined that Christmas was our family celebration it was no problem to steer away from Facebook and Instagram. The temptation was big to post something on Christmas Eve, even Christmas Day. My thoughts are many and complicated, so I never got around to unentangling them to post. After all, I thought, there is too much to compete with and nobody wants to read a long article amidst all the Christmas greetings. So it became a default decision.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Family Dinner

Apart from the fact that nobody took a photo of the fish or the turkey before we cut it. Then the final photos were not shared with me until later, so here’s my humble summary of our Christmas period.

The kids initiated a zoom meeting beforehand to discuss clearly what will we be doing for Christmas this year. We decided on Secret Santa and included Christoph even though he has now safely arrived back in Canada and has ended his three-week quarantine there. Secret Santa allows us all to focus on getting just one present on behalf of the whole family. We’ve done this the last three years. Check.

Christoph via zoom

Secret Santa

Meet for Christmas Eve but only after Covid tests. So one by one the kids sent in their negative Covid test results via WhatsApp. Josef went to get tested too and was shocked on the evening of 23rd December to receive a text message advising him to “remain in home quarantine”. I did not have an extra test after the three I had each time I went into hospital and rehabilitation. I have been basically self-quarantining at home recovering from my second knee operation.
The drama that Josef could in fact be Covid positive hit like a bomb! It was the night before Christmas Eve. The kids were going to come to us. He had not bought the turkey nor the fish. So, if it was true, we could not go shopping and the kids could not visit and would have to get their own Christmas dinners!
Quite some back and forth and Josef decided on Christmas Eve to have a second Covid test, this time a paid nose-throat swab and it read negative. Our ambulance man kept probing and eventually Josef called up to get clarity on the mysterious “home-quarantine message”. Finally it turned out that his free gargle test result had not even been processed yet and after he’d done the second test by nose-throat swab, he eventually also received the results of the gargling test to say that was also negative.
Phew!
I was vacillating between visions of bread and water for Christmas alone in coupled quarantine, to full-fledged Christmas dinner with the family. Actually we had only decided on Christmas Eve as Nathan was due to fly to Estonia for Vievox concerts on Christmas Day.
I made the potato salad in the morning and the boys came with their respective partners in the afternoon. Timi came early as he said he would and I asked him to prepare the fish. Josef managed to get fresh trout at the local market after his negative Covid test.
My back and legs were aching and even though I had started reducing my pain medication, I had to take the full daily dose to cope with the almost unbearable pain. I was glad to have the help and also that we could do our traditional Christmas.
Nathan had printed song books especially and we all sang together before and after dinner. Christoph joined us via zoom and Secret Santa distributed all the presents. We took to heart the sentiment to share the joy and waited while each one opened their gift before moving on to the next one. We even got a group photo and played a game afterwards.
Christmas Day was the first time in many, many years that the boys had no Hofburg duty or concert. We were a smaller group as Christoph was in Canada, Andi and Francesca were in the country to meet up with her family in Italy via Zoom in the afternoon and Nathan had already flown to Estonia.

Christmas Day

Cosy Christmas Dinner

Table setting

Cosy Family Christmas

Christmas Turkey

Christmas Day 2020

I had already cut the turkey when Godwin reminded me that I had not taken a photo. The trifle was impressive in Nathan’s borrowed glass bowl. I was content and grateful to have survived another Christmas.
The photos and the social media, well, yes, I do engage. But I was not sorry to not compete with all the rest of you.