Our family’s Christmas epistle is finally in the mail. Once again we have fulfilled the requirement of encapsulating a year in 500 words or so each. We know the reputation of Christmas letters and yet we persist, believing ours rises above the fray with wit and insight. As has been the case since we’ve had six adult contributors, it’s late. I figure people will have more time after Christmas to read it at their leisure. Or not.

As Christmas cards to us have arrived each day, mostly photos of cute children and sometimes their cute parents, I have felt a bit of envy that all they had to do was find a good picture and upload it to a website. But we have a proud tradition, says my dad. And our family doesn’t have that many traditions, so I suppose this is one worth preserving.

This Christmas is the first I can remember where we are neither traveling nor receiving out-of-town guests. Sure, we’re cooking, but it all feels surprisingly easy. It is a blessing that my sister and brother-in-law now live in our zip code, so it’s easy enough for them to show up. And my parents are 11 miles away. I can’t help thinking about the 30-some years of Christmases in High Point, North Carolina, where my mom grew up. I miss my Nana and Papa and Aunt Millie. I miss the love feast at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, complete with a delicious bun, hot tea, and a candlelit Silent Night. I guess what I really miss is being a kid, and being the one expectantly wondering what Santa will bring instead of the one playing Santa. Of course I am thrilled to create wonder and excitement for Zoe. I look forward to her joy. But my joy is too tempered by the weight of adulthood, especially lately. I am sincerely hoping to cast some of that off this Christmas. Maybe I should spend more time in the princess castle that arrived in the mail the other day. Who can be unhappy in a princess castle? Unless you’re imprisoned in one, I guess.