We’re settling into a deep winter slumber of cold weather hibernation that’s brought on partly from post-holiday let down and partly from unbearably cold temperatures. No need to bore you with details as I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos and memes of this atypical East Coast cold snap, but it’s been very cold, considering we had such a warm Fall. But I guess we were due for a cold winter after the string of recent mild ones.
De-Christmasing the house (and I do kind of love that word, “de-Christmas”) is always a little bittersweet, but it felt really good to clean up and remove all traces of the holiday this morning. Not without wrangling the brittle tree, of course. Our Christmas trees over the years have gotten bigger and taller, mostly because we don’t bother having the workers at the tree stand unwrap it and shake it out for us to look at before purchase. The unwrapping happens at home and it feels like opening a gift because we’ve always been surprised at how big and full the trees unfold when we untie the twine (last year we had to cut part of the top off because the tree didn’t even fit). But it’s a monster task to get the tree outside when the holidays are over. Angling a huge 7-8 foot tree into the elevator with a constant stream of dry falling needles everywhere is every bit of a tricky job as it sounds. Not to mention rushing back in to sweep and vacuum up all the needles from the elevator and common hallways before neighbors notice. But it gets done, as it always does.
With the cold temperatures, we’ve mostly stayed indoors during the holidays. Nobody complained, but it’s a bit sad how the kids no longer want to go play in the snow as soon as they wake up to the outside world coated in white while asleep. This is just one of small changes I’m noting as I watch the kids grow up. More homebody tendencies. They’d rather stay home and binge watch TV on Netflix now. It’s a lot harder to motivate teenagers to go to a museum or a city outing. All those family activities that we’d do every weekend without fail when they were younger (and documented on this very blog) have gradually become fewer and far between——partly because of homework, but also because you can’t really bribe teenagers anymore with promises of food and fun. I remember being 14 and not really wanting to hang out with my parents either, so I get it, but you never really think that you’ll turn into those kind of parents. No matter how hip or young you think you are, your kids are still your kids and they’ll eventually choose hanging out with friends over hanging out with family.
One highlight of our quiet holidays was a New Year’s Day brunch at a friend’s house in the neighborhood. No matter where we are, we try to make the traditional Korean rice cake soup which all Koreans eat on New Year’s Day for good luck and a prosperous new year. This year we even made our own dumplings——a task that fell on the (not so little) hands of all the kids. It almost felt like a throwback to the big family New Year’s parties I remember when I was a kid.