Since I spend a lot of time with my soaps, I think of them as my friends. I give them different personalities and I thought you may like to see them the way I do. Candi (Peppermint Scrub), Zowie (Lavender Lemongrass) and Victoria (Lavender) are cousins who are getting together for a Christmas celebration. Come watch their reunion.
After boarding the dark green Hampton Jitney tour bus at the 59th Street stop, Victoria was very careful about where she sat, not wanting to get her new black and white cashmere pea coat from Bergdorf Goodman dirty. Always one to look her best, her hair and make-up were flawless, and she wanted to keep things that way. Headed to a surprise 90th birthday party/family Christmas holiday reunion in Southampton, she planned to meet her cousin, Zowie, at the Islip airport stop. Zowie was due to land mid-afternoon that Sunday before Christmas from southern California, and they would continue on their way to her parents’ large brown shingled Dutch Colonial home, where the rest of the family would be gathering for the Christmas Eve celebration.
Traffic out of the city was hectic, and Victoria’s shoulders were tense. She liked to be on time and didn’t want Zowie to have to wait too long. Searching through her carry-on bag she found a bar of her lavender soap that she brought for the week-long stay, and breathed in deeply to calm her stress. Much better, she thought.
As the Jitney headed east on the Long Island Expressway, Victoria relaxed when she got the text that Zowie had landed and would get a cab to the stop near the LIE Service Road in time to meet the Jitney. Zowie was much more chill than Victoria—must be the California “go-with-the-flow” Zen mindset versus Victoria’s NYC hyped-up energy. Zowie, now on the Jitney, reminded her, “Don’t forget, you and I share a secret passion for lavender. Add to that some lemongrass, and I get my relaxation from both ‘good scents’ and ‘good sense’.” “That’s right, I remember. Lavender Lemongrass soap is your secret,” Victoria laughed. “I take my Lavender straight, thank you!”
Their cousin, Candi, was waiting at the Bridgehampton stop to pick them up. “Thank goodness I brought the jeep!” she said, seeing the luggage her cousins brought with them. With her athletic strength, she lifted the bags into the back, and they were quickly on their way, as everyone began talking at once.
There must have been a million white lights on trees and shrubs around the house as a spotlight illuminated the huge wreath on the front door. A glowing wood-stoked fire burned in the fireplace, as they each removed their coats and boots and headed into the living room for a drink. Not being able to bring a gift basket with her for the event, as she usually would, Victoria had one sent in advance, and they all picked at the basket’s imported cheddar and English water crackers as they sipped their wine.
Victoria didn’t forget to bring small gifts for Candi and Zowie, which she had wrapped and put in her suitcase. The next morning, she placed them under the tree as they all headed out to pick up more decorations and food for other guests due to arrive over the course of the week. Victoria and Zowie, easing into the day more slowly than energetic Candi, asked to stop at the coffee house before starting the errands, and Victoria decided to pick up a few more gifts at the boutique across the street.
“You and your gifts!” Candi said, anxious to get things done. As a former Marine, she was always determined to take care of business. As she waited outside for Victoria, some of Candi’s cheerleader students called her name. “Ms. Snow! So glad to see you!” They ran up to her and with a hug, handed her some chocolate covered peppermint candy from the Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen. “We know you are a peppermint freak!” And she was. As she unwrapped the treat, she saw Victoria’s stunning cashmere coat heading toward her, and right on time, Zowie arrived at the car carrying the coffee. Sliding into their seats, they were on their way again.
The Christmas Celebration
Over the next few days another dozen family members arrived from all over the country, and even as far away as Paris. It was both relaxing and invigorating for the family as they gathered to celebrate their matriarch’s 90th on Christmas Eve. The day of the event went off without a hitch, and their grandmother was thrilled to see each of the members of the family who came to wish her well. As the party died down and the guests went to their respective rooms or out for a nightcap at a nearby pub, Victoria tapped Candi and Zowie and said, “Before you go off to bed or the bar, let me just give you your gifts.”
“Gifts?” they both said in surprise. Of course, Victoria wouldn’t forget to bring them each a small token for the holiday—Peppermint soap and peppermint cocoa, a stimulating combination that matched Candi’s energy level, and Lavender Lemongrass for Zowie with a handmade beaded bracelet that would be just the thing on her winter trip to Costa Rica for a girlfriends’ surfing week. “Oh and let me be the first to wish you a happy birthday, Candi,” Victoria suddenly said, pulling a candy cane off the tree to hand to her cousin. “You remembered!” Candi grinned.
The Best Gift
The next day, before the big Christmas dinner, as the rest of the family exchanged gifts, a basket wrapped with a silver tulle ribbon filled with lavender sachets, milled soap, and food grade lavender to cook with was waiting for Victoria, courtesy of the family, direct from the French countryside carried carefully across the Atlantic by the nephew from Paris.
It was a magical week that none would forget, especially the guest of honor who most enjoyed the unique qualities each family member there had brought to the celebration. That was the true gift.
I hope you love the cousins, and their Christmas celebration, as much as I do.
Yours in Gratitude,