For many of us, Christmas Day triggers memories of Christmases during childhood — our family traditions, the excitement of opening presents below the Christmas tree, guests joining us for Christmas dinner. Two boyhood Christmases in particular stand out in my memory: the year Santa brought me an electric-train set and the year he brought me a bicycle.

Alas, because the Covid-19 pandemic is requiring us to “shelter in place,” most of us have had to scale back our yuletide festivities this year. Lynn and I never left home Christmas day, nor did anyone visit us. We, however, did use the occasion to revive some yuletide practices.

Our Christmas tree in the loft as seen from the living room.

Unlike Christmas mornings in childhood, we slept late. Here Newy, the stray cat we’ve taken in, sleeps on top of my sleeping wife.

Also getting some rest on Christmas morning were these four deer in the grass near Mitchell cabin.

Enjoying a “presidential” pardon from becoming Christmas dinner, this gobbler takes in the view from the railing of our deck. Lynn isn’t happy with wild turkeys showing up on the deck. Not only do they eat seed we’ve put out for small birds, they leave large droppings.

In lieu of turkey, Lynn cooked kosher-style ham for our dinner while I poured champagne.

In keeping with my family’s traditions, I brought out my parents’ fine china, delicate glassware, and fine silver flatware, none of which we normally use, along with candlesticks my mother bought in Quebec.

The scene got even warmer when Lynn while clearing the table leaned over a candle and set her hair on fire. Luckily she was able to slap the fire out before much was burned, but it did add to the day’s excitement.


As for the pandemic, a popular joke these days goes like this: Yesterday I purchased a world map, pinned it up, and handed my wife a dart. I told her to throw it, and “wherever it lands, I’ll take you for a holiday as soon as Covid-19 peters out.” Turns out we’ll be spending three weeks behind the fridge.