Since Thanksgiving came so late in November here in the states – it seems that we barely had time to catch our breath from finishing the leftover turkey and sweet potato casserole till the calendar turned to December 1st.
I know that the stores have had Christmas decorations on the shelves since before October and Christmas music has been filling the airwaves for weeks. But for me, the spirit doesn’t fill me till several things happen (and not necessarily in the following order). The first is usually the Christmas parade in our small town. And then picking out a tree(s). And then what fun to attend the grandchildren’s school pageants. Singing the first Christmas hymns at church that is decorated with wreaths and a tree filled with Chrismon ornaments. Also watching some rendition of “A Christmas Carol” is mandatory even though the menfolks usually groan and head for the door.
I think we’ve started a new tradition by picking out the tree on the 4th. One, it’s so fun to get it up early so it can be enjoyed the whole month! Two, my sweet DH is more likely to splurge for a bigger tree and not argue that the one I picked out will be TOOOO big (since it’s my birthday!) I remember a tree searching episode many years ago that ended in a tremendous argument and the car keys being yanked out of the car and tossed into the median of a busy highway. Suffice it to say – I was much younger and more temperamental. This year it took about 5 minutes to pick out our trees. Don’t you just love the scent of a tree lot? So much fun walking in and around the trees, touching the branches, feeling the needles for freshness – and all the while being surrounded with that tangy evergreen heavenly scent!
Actually we have 3 trees and it’s impossible to pick a favorite. The tree outside on the porch is for the birds – literally! Oranges are sliced in half, the good part scooped out for Himmel Futter and the empty shells filled with bird seed. Pinecones are stuffed with peanut butter and rolled in sunflower seeds. Suet is placed in little frames to keep the squirrels from eating it all at one sitting. The 2nd tree is the kitchen tree. When I was a child my mother baked Christmas cookies using red plastic cookie cutters. I still have the Nativity set and tie them on the tree with twine. The biggest tree is the one in the living room. It is filled with priceless treasures! The little felt ornaments that the children made when they were in kindergarten 30+ years ago. The foam peanuts that they strung on red yarn. The sweet ceramic gingerbread men that mom made. These are more precious to me than any fine Radko or Waterford ornament. I’d bet my stocking that you all have some of those priceless ornaments that you hang on your tree, too.
Did any of you catch the live performance of “The Sound of Music” a couple of days ago? This must have been a hard remake to do because most of us have watched the original more than 10 times; my DH says 17 for him! We know the words to each song by heart and actually can hear the voices of Julie and Christopher in our heads. The music still moved me the same way. I cried when Mother Superior sang “Climb Every Mountain” and Maria glided down the aisle to get married. And who could resist catching the spirit with the images of ‘brown paper packages tied up with string?”
And a rainy and foggy night was forgotten in an instant while watching our 2nd oldest grandchild in her first Christmas event as a kindergartner. This year her baby brother (2) was determined that he wanted to be on the platform with her and it was a devastated little boy when she had to gently push him away to go sit back down. He redeemed himself and got a lot of chuckles when he raced up to her with a Kleenex when she started using her arm. One of the things that made it so special was the little pinafore she was wearing. I made it for her mama 37 years ago when she was two. Yes, the buttons had to be moved and instead of it flowing to the floor, it hovered around her knees but what memories came flooding back of a Christmas Eve many years ago. And in her hair was a barrette that I’d painted years ago for her mom to hold back those heavy curls.
Each of us catch the spirit of the season in different ways so my wish for you this year is that you’ll take the time during the rush and push to sit back and savor as many moments as possible. It might be time with your family, wrapping a gift, checking off a list, lighting a candle and remembering a loved one, reading “A Christmas Carol” to a grandchild, sitting by a fire, drinking a cup of eggnog, cutting greens for the church, watching the snow fall, walking through a tree lot, baking cookies with a child, singing carols at church or just sitting quietly being thankful. Whatever will help you celebrate this special season of joy, I wish that for you.
I hope you’re share your memories and photos with us.
Happy Christmas, Anne
Blueprint: McKinney by Mary (tweaked)
Paper: Christmas Is DKEmbellishments: Be Merry DE
Fonts: Santa’s SleighFull, A Year Without Rain