December Doings

December was a busy month for us, but not in the way you might expect. Back in 2004 Lance and I removed ourselves from what we felt were the over-commercialized, consumption-focused aspects of the holiday season. We chose instead to emphasize the part that has the most meaning for us: spending time with loved ones.

Santa Hat on Saguaro

We still share small homemade presents, decorate, and bake our favorite goodies but we no longer dashed around frantically trying to buy expensive gifts for people who truly already have everything they need. What a relief that was! More and more folks have followed suit, especially in the past few years.

Instead of fighting the crowds at the mall we went hiking: the scenic Sweetwater Trail up to Wasson Peak, at Sweetwater Preserve we spent time with a herd of Mule Deer, at Sweetwater Wetlands we shared the path with a Solitary Sandpiper. All three get their names from Sweetwater Wash, a major drainage in the Tucson Mountains, and they are all within five miles of our house. Sweet!

The weather cooperated nicely, sunny and even warmer than usual. Thankfully the good weather held long enough for the guys to finish our north porch extension. Always a relief to have a project completed.

The following weekend the temperature dropped as a cold, wet storm swung down from Alaska. We didn’t mind—we can always use the precipitation and we had indoor plans anyway. It was party time as we celebrated a cousin’s graduation from the University of Arizona (our alma mater). We remember how wonderful that felt: the whole world to explore, a new life, endless possibilities stretching out in front of you.

Game Night Game night at our house was a fun way to catch up with good friends—Charles, Alison, Geoff, and Lauren. We had a marvelous time munching and playing. It was even more of a celebration once Lauren shared their big news: they have a little one on the way. We knew they were planning a family, we just didn’t know when. Exciting for them!

We spent a lovely afternoon with Lance’s parents: lunch here, followed by a birdy walk along the Santa Cruz River. It was nice to visit with them since they had been gone since September. Before lunch we Skyped with Lance’s sisters; Adria and Joel had driven down from Chicago to spend Christmas with Heidi, Jed and their kiddos in Kansas. The video was crystal clear and it was fun to chat with them—almost as good as being in the same room together.

Eileen and Paula I rearranged my schedule and was able to join my Grandma for three special events in December. First up was a potluck holiday party. The tree was brightly lit, carolers came by, and Santa even dropped in bearing gifts. After he gave Grandma her present she asked me his name, which I didn’t know so I simply said, “Santa.” Grandma leaned forward conspiratorially and said, “No, what’s his street name?” That cracked Paula and I up!

We finished the year over at Coralie’s house with Desiree and Scott. A tasty meal, interesting conversation, and fun games. A good way to close the door on a departing year. We look forward to making more wonderful memories this year (or as we like to call them, small treats).

Photos: View our photographs from December Doings.