Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas traditions renewed

 The first thing that Christmas should be is a joyful celebration of Jesus' birth - and, thankfully, that is what we have always celebrated. But as we have aged, I find myself missing the traditional embellishments of the season.

The DH and I have no children, so there is no immediate family nearby  to gather, cook, play football in the yard, open presents, decorate the tree, or eat Christmas dinner together. It's just us. So, for many years, we have not done any serious decorating, or cooking, or even gift giving. It has been okay that way -- until today. It dawned on me, that as I have aged, my need for the reminders of the fullness of joy that is Christmas, has increased and it is time to recover them into our lives. After all, it is the traditions of Christmas that make the season extra-special.


I tried not to send cards this year -- until we got our first card from the retired couple that I used to live next door to: Bill and Doris. Bill is 90, and Doris is about 88. He is a WWII veteran, and is full of life and stories. Doris is a sweetheart who loves to talk and spread joy. So I found some left over cards and signed one for them - adding a little note. The next day we got a couple more cards from dear, dear friends, and guilt got the better of me. I made a list of the super-special people and sent out some cards. About that time, we started getting cards from people at church - the girls' ministry had a "mail box" in the church lobby. So, we addressed more cards to put in the mail box for our church friends. Now I feel much better. I have not neglected to send some Christmas love to our "family" - including those we are not related to.

Christmas cards also mean a Christmas Newsletter. So throughout 2018, I will make notes on my calendar in preparation for writing the newsletter. It is a wonderful way to remind myself of all of the blessings of the year, and the victories over the challenges that came along.

Many people have stopped sending out cards in favor of the more impersonal Facebook posts or other electronic means. I'm putting out a call to return to real Christmas cards. There's just something about a real card, signed by a real person with a real, personal note hand written on it somewhere. It connects you, again, to the friend or family member whom you are greeting. I think it has to do with the love that you infused into the card and with your precious DNA embedded in the fibers that carry you to the card's destination. You just can't send DNA through the internet. Come on, now, let's send real cards next year!


I haven't made a great Christmas dinner in years. This year we are having a "take out" dinner from Bob Evans. But next year, I want to go back to my traditional simple Christmas dinner: Rib roast, salad, baked potato, and scratch cherry pie with homemade crust to die for. Of course, we'd have to have either a big breakfast or too many of the canned cinnamon rolls with the orange icing.

And who can have Christmas without Mamie Eisenhower's Million-dollar fudge and Snickerdoodles? I know, sugar cookies with all kinds of icing, red-hots, and sprinkles are more like Christmas - but they are WAY too much work. Anyway, the list goes on. I'd make my world famous chocolate pie, but that's for Thanksgiving.


When we decided to move to TN about 6 years ago, it was a major disruption to our usual activities, include Christmas. So we haven't really decorated since then. Oh, we got a new, much smaller fake tree with lights, and have a years-old wreath for the door. This year, we can't find the lights and didn't decorate the tree. Fiddle-sticks. Today I watched a couple of episodes of a show highlighting families who do extreme light displays in their yards. Oh my! That's NOT what I'm aiming for. Just some decorations that are a little more festive.

Visiting with friends:

Traditionally, I try to touch base with a few good friends either before Thanksgiving, or before Christmas. You know, just meet for lunch and spend 2 or 3 hours catching up and encouraging each other. I think I would like to also "drop in" on a few special people with a tin of cookies, or an ornament, or something simple to say "Merry Christmas. I love you."

Gift giving:

What ever happened to gifts wrapped in festive paper, taped up so that you can't hardly get the paper off, topped with a gift tag and crooked bow? How about creating a pile of paper on the floor for the cat to play in? And taking turns to oooo and ahhh or point and laugh over the gifts that others get? Gift bags and tissue are handy and can be very attractive. But I'd rather wrap presents, dig for the scissors, tape up torn paper, and retie the bow a few times, wouldn't you? This year, the only wrapped presents are on the mantle. Two bottles of something. I know that the sender wouldn't send us flasks of booze, but that's what they feel like. Actually, I hope they are honey that my BIL gets from the bees that pollinate his orchard! Nectar from Heaven!

Stock photo from somewhere. Remember bubble lights?
Ok, I know that I can't re-create the Christmases of my childhood - but together, the DH and I can do some little things that will bring the season to life for us again. I will just have to take all of November and December off from everything else to make it happen.

Have a Blessed and Joyful Christmas, and a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2018!

Now, let's go quilt something!