Here We Come a-Wassailing!

Hey there, stranger. How’s it going? I know, I know…it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. What can I say? The holiday season has arrived and brought with it a bucketload of “busy.”

This past week saw the end of my internship downtown, two hella-crazy days at the coffee shop, a caroling outing to Old Town and some pre-Christmas cleaning. Oh yeah…and about 20 inches of fluffy white snow in one day. Forget about the idea of snow blanketing an area. Northern Virginia got mattressed.

The original plan for the weekend read as follows: Friday evening was going to be spent caroling in costume at the town square in Old Town Alexandria, as we do every year. Saturday was set as the day I was going to head downtown to check out the Botanic Gardens’ Christmas display (they have model trains!), eat lunch at Teaism (my absolute favorite restaurant ever!), check out the little state trees at the Pageant of Peace and finish up the evening warming up by the giant Yule log in DC. Sunday was going to be a little less hectic, with me telling stories about past Christmases as part of doing the offertory at church, lunch with the parents and another round of caroling in the neighborhood around my church in Springfield.

Then the snow hit and obliterated any plans other than “stay inside, drink tea and laugh at the ridiculous amounts of snow in the front yard.”

Well, to be fair we did get to go caroling on Friday. It’s something my friends and I have been doing for – oh, let’s say six years now? That sounds like it might be right. Originally it was just Maggie, my friend David and I. We dressed in various costume bits and trundled down to the square in Old Town with a few Christmas songs. No practice, no set repertoire. Just the three of us and a desire to sing.

The numbers have grown since then – last year there were seven of us, this year there were five. We’ve been getting a bit more organized lately. Last year we even had enough people to sing parts. Sometimes David brings his keyboard with him and accompanies the group. This time we mainly just sang a cappella.

The one constant has always been the costumes. We don’t really have costumes that are historically accurate for a specific era. ::waves idea away:: That would be too organized. I think it’s more accurate to say that we wear costumes that are suggestive of the Dickens era. The women wear long skirts held out with hoop skirts or poofy crinolines, warm cloaks and bonnets. The guys usually have an easier way of it. This year David looked rather dapper in black pants, a corduroy jacket, a striped scarf and a flat cap.

We didn’t sing as long this year as we have in the past, mainly because of the weather. We were nearing the end of our time (we’d already decided we’d only do four or so more songs) when we decided it was time to sing “Let It Snow.” We got to about the second line and I started to feel a few little flakes on my face. By the time we got to the second verse enough were falling to show up on my gloves. There was a nice little flurry going when we finished. We quickly ran through a few more songs – by which point I could no longer feel my feet. Except when I tried to walk, that is. Then the pain made it very clear that I still did have feet.

We ended the caroling trip in La Madeline, as we had the year before. It’s a really nice little cafe and the decor matches our costumes nicely. I was kind of hoping for some cider but, as far as I could tell, that’s not something they carry there. By the way, in case you’re wondering what wassail is, allow me to redirect you to the wikipedia article.

That’s right…it’s a heated drink much like mead, with pieces of toast floating in it. Toast. Blech!

Saturday morning came with the news that the Smithsonian was closing for the weekend and that the Metro would stop running by 1pm on Saturday. I’ve spent most of the weekend catching up on movies that I hadn’t yet gotten around to watching (I finally got to see Taken) and trying to finish the last remaining homemade Christmas gifts that I had started. I just realized I finished wrapping my sister’s present before taking a picture but I’ll try to get pictures of some of the other things taken before I put them under the tree.


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