“White Christmas” will never be my favorite carol. I love Christmas, but I’m no fan of snow. If I could find a way to have it fall only on parts of the world that are usually green, I’d be perfectly happy. A snowy field? Fine. Frosted tree branches along the roadside? Beautiful. Just keep it off the pavement, power lines, and rooftops. I don’t mean to be a Grinch about it, but there are places to go and things to do. I’m no Scrooge, but offer me an icy windshield to scrape or a plowed-in car to shovel out, and my response is a hearty Humbug!
The same attitude doesn’t apply so strongly in the kitchen, but I think of white things there as a delivery mechanism for other foods. Mashed potatoes carry gravy. Rice is best with a pile of vegetables and a little protein. Grits? Scrambled eggs. Oatmeal? Lots of fruit and some crunchy granola. Whipped cream is a garnish for pie or cake; vanilla ice cream is best with some topping or other.
But at home? Let’s have plenty of white–on the walls, that is. The painter worked incredibly hard this week, and finished the main floor of the house on Friday morning. We swept and mopped and swept and mopped again, finally removing the hoarfrost of plaster dust every horizontal surface in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. We wiped down the kitchen cabinets and removed the dust that had slipped inside them. We vacuumed the un-tarped furniture; she fitted the sofa with the new slipcover that’s been waiting patiently to begin its service. Tables came out of hiding and lamps perched brightly upon them. A very few objects d’art were arranged on shelves. She found the stocking hangers and hung the stockings (with care, of course) from the mantle. Her parents arrived for a pre-holiday visit. There were comfortable places to sit, a table at which to eat, flowers arranged, and a fire crackling in the hearth. If there was to be no more Christmas than this, it would still be a beautiful celebration.
It looks a little like we’re just moving in–which, in a way, we are. The walls are creamy, the floors are clean and shiny, and there’s nothing hung on the walls. Some might call it bland, boring, or vanilla, but I won’t. It’s calm and uncluttered and clean. There’s no snow in the forecast. It will be a linen-white Christmas, and that seems perfect to me.