I just spent a wonderful Christmas with my sister in Florida. Eighty degrees but still Christmas-y. This was the first year since mom died that I felt the holiday spirit flowing through me, and that’s pretty miraculous. It’s a sign that the old Lisa is coming back. I know my mom is happy about that, wherever she is.
When I was in Paris in early December, signs of Christmas were just beginning to show around town: the platform for the ice skating rink at Hôtel de Ville was taking shape, the streets were festooned with strings of decorative lights. I started to buzz inside. When my local caviste (wine seller) asked if I would be staying through the holiday, I felt a pang of longing.
I hadn’t wanted to spend Christmas in Paris, I was happy to be going to sunny Florida this year, but when I saw my neighborhood in the 11th starting to perk up in its Christmas best—the square in front of my mairie (town hall) decked out; my local shops bedazzled with garland; the markets selling tiny Christmas trees—I suddenly wanted to stay to see how it would turn out. That’s the downside of a part-time Paris life: there’s always a pull one way or the other. And I often feel I’m missing out on something.
I rang in 2013 in my Paris apartment, and that was wonderful, but I think it will only be official when my sister and I have spent a Christmas in my neighborhood. Shall we say next year?
Trimmings up in my quartier :