As we approached Christmas Day, we queued up holiday movies at the Hardison house. We began a little earlier with Elf, followed that with Home Alone, and then capped things off – on Christmas Eve – with the Chevy Chase classic, Christmas Vacation. My last three Christmases have all been after I left cold Chicago and moved to warmer climes, and while for most of my Chicago years I would be in LA or somewhere warm anyway, it was still weird for me to approach Christmas here (and my vacation) with such warm weather. I’m used to the twenty-one winters of snow and cold that I experienced in Chicago. Believe me…I am not complaining that it was warm and sunny here as December came to its end. But it still felt weird to watch snowy Christmas movies and be surrounded by the warmth of Antigua Guatemala.
The lead-up to Thanksgiving had been big, and while December had started quietly, I was hoping for a boost in business as we got closer to Christmas. The second Tuesday of the month coincided with the start of Hanukkah, and as I prepared to co-host our monthly Shabbat group for a Hanukkah dinner, I tested out doughnuts.
With the arrival of December, it meant two critical things: 1) Christmas season was fully upon us here in Guatemala; and 2) Jeffrey was back from his time in the States. The two go hand-in-hand, because with a more experienced Alis and the return of a lead baker, that means some of the heavy burden of the bakery can come off my shoulders. It also meant that not only did I not have to get started at 6 am everyday to bake the bread and start the next day’s bread dough, but also that I could step away from the bakery as needed, or desired. I could run errands during the day, instead of after we closed. I could go to the city. I could relax. I could stay in bed a little later. I was so excited about what this meant for me!