Posts Tagged With: gift

Random 5 December ~ Traditions, time off and dogs

Hello again, friends.  It’s time for another Random 5  from my part of the blog-osphere. Ready? Here we go:

1)  Thursday morning, I woke with a start …. it was 4:04 a.m. and there I was, wide awake thinking about Christmas cards!  Ack, rolling over, I tried to resume my slumber.  No-can-do.  Muttering to myself that Hubbs never experiences such thoughts, I found my way to the kitchen and pressed the “brew” button on the coffee machine.

I used to enjoy writing Christmas cards, especially when the boys were little and I could include a picture or funny story about them. I don’t enjoy it anymore.

I can remember my parents’ delight when a Christmas card came in the mail. They were such a lovely alternative to newspapers, bills and other correspondence.  I recall the sparkles on my hands after reading updates from people I didn’t recall: Aunt so and so.  Cousin somebody.   Mom carefully taped the cards and put them up all around the kitchen window.  Red and green, silver and gold, shimmered in the light and brought festive to the room.  That she took the time to do so for each card suggested reverence to me.

There’s only a few family members left that I would normally mail a card to – this year, I’m calling instead.  And I think they’ll be just fine with a laugh and a chat and a “I miss you, too.”

2 )   Balance. As an adult I’ve struggled to balance between what I want (to do) for Christmas vs. what (I think) is expected of me.    Shopping is done, wrapping is not.  Some baking was accomplished …but also eaten (Hubbs!).

So what I’m working towards is making room for MY Christmas —  I relax and smile when the tree lights are on; reading or cooking near them makes me happy. There’s a peace I feel being able to pay the bills, have $ for gifts and a bit to put away, too.  There was a time I couldn’t do that, and I appreciate now that we can.  I look forward to time with the boys – card games, good foods, “knock knock” jokes with the grands, and days off with Hubbs.  No particular place to be.  No schedule. Reading more than a page or two at a time.  Knowing I can sleep in even though I won’t.  I’ll be up early, watching the snow fall, sipping coffee and reading your blogs.

My stack of reading is close to this size


3 ) 9 and 119 days left of work for THIS YEAR then 11 – count ’em – 11 glorious days off!  Time for a reset button.  I’m fortunate that I enjoy the work I do, but this year the challenge has been in being able to do it.  This has been a year of organizational change, steady movements, restructuring, people coming, people going, and that constant shift of the horizon has left me dizzy and needing a break.  And I plan to take it, no exceptions!

4 ) Shades of Frankie. Youngest boy got a dog, and memories of our beloved Frankie definitely influenced his choice.   Our Frankie as a Pup:

Frankie as a wee one

Ladies and gents, meet Sullivan, or “Sully” for short:

Sullivan (an Emjayandthem (C) Photo)

I haven’t met this furry little friend yet but I’m sure I’ll cry when I do.

5 ) We’re heading into the new year soon.  Can you believe it?   I haven’t thought about my goals and dreams for next year, but I’ll work on them over my time off.    A good friend is leaving our company next week; she hasn’t had time to think about what her “next” looks like.  I encouraged her to create a Vision Board.   I know she won’t, but it reminded me that I’m ready to.  


What traditions are worth continuing and which ones have you stopped? 

What gift are you giving yourself this Holiday Season? 

Wishing you peace at Christmas and always

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On spelling

As the family organizer, December brings a lot of extra chores my way: planning, shopping, wrapping, and baking.  Sometimes I have struggled to find and balance the real meaning of Christmas vs. that commercialized version being pushed at us all the time. More than once, I’ve caught myself muttering, “Where’s my Christmas?”

the boys’ hand-made ornaments make the tree memorable

Last night, I stood and looked at our Christmas tree, taking in the lights and memories, and felt myself drawn back to the Christmases of my childhood.  What I remember most isn’t the presents received.. it’s the genuine excitement we felt.  We spent weeks preparing for our roles in community and church concerts and counting the days until all that glorious time off. Receiving presents and having Santa visit was thrilling, of course.  We filled our days off playing playing Crokinole and Monopoly and watched admiringly when our parents dressed up for evenings out with their friends and siblings. We popped popcorn and made fudge, sang along to holiday tunes and helped make special treats.  When the weather permitted our parents booted us out into the cold winter sunshine to build forts, skate, ski and sled our days away.  And when we returned, stamping the snow from our boots, we were met in warm kitchens by welcoming Mothers.  We had their time and lots of it.  And we had yet to learn that not all children are as fortunate.

Now, I find myself bombarded with messages telling me the only way to show others how much I care is to buy stuff, stuff  and more stuff – and by all means go bigger, shinier and more faceted!   Every Kiss begins with Kay! STOP IT!  In the interim, friends are traveling considerable distances to spend time with people who hold grudges and won’t speak to them; they’ll endure long days, cramped quarters, rich food and fast food and they too will wonder, “Where’s my Christmas?”  And when the financial stress and fatigue takes over, cracks will appear and loneliness and longing will sneak in. That’s when most of us will realize that the MGM version of how holidays are supposed to feel has just been one big Hollywood lie. Eventually, we learn the truth:  sometimes spouses disagree, children whine, relatives carp, flights are overpriced and no one will ever really appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into making their holiday glitter.

Every year, I resolve to pull back on how much I do for everybody else so as to allow a little room for me.  Why?  Because when I’m stressed and tired, I’m more likely to resent it than I am to roll in it.  I’m making room for what I really want and that cannot be boxed, wrapped or shipped:

  • A lunch date with good friends to eat, drink and be merry.
  • Afternoons with my books and old dog curled up next to me.
  • Mornings for coffee, blogging and blog-following.
  • Sledding days and cozy times with the grand kids.
  • Meandering conversations with the boys and daughter-in-law as we play Yahtzee and Crokinole.
  • Days to sleep in, nights to stay up and stand .. with noses pressed to windows, watching snowflakes twirl, swirl and fall to the ground.
  • And evenings saved for fireside chats with hubbs.

Mom & Dad always told us that “Children spell love: T.I.M.E.” I’m beginning to see that I still spell it the same way.

What do you really want for Christmas?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

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