Is there anything unique about this Christmas season, anything especially memorable to you? Consider this year’s holiday season through the eyes of a child, an aging parent or even your pets! Kipper, our 14 year-old miniature schnauzer will remember when her quiet home was invaded by two other dogs.
Kipper was a Christmas present for our daughters, Kalee and Jillian in 1996. That year, Kalee was in the seventh grade and Jillian was in the fifth grade, a lot has changed since that time. Kalee now lives near Atlanta with her husband and Jillian lives near Lexington, Ky.
Kipper was excited to see Kalee and Jillian and even excited to see Matt, Kalee’s husband and Bob, Jillian’s fiancé, but she was not too thrilled with the guests they brought. . their dogs! First came Daisy, a small friendly beagle. Kipper tolerated her well, by ignoring her. Then Sadie, a small, happy dinosaur (70 pound, seven month-old lab) arrived and everything in Kipper’s home changed.
Kipper’s home changed from a quiet, clean basically organized home to a crazy, loud, messy place with the biggest dog she had ever seen. In two more days, her home will return to normal, but secretly I think Kipper enjoyed her Christmas. I know my husband and I loved every minute of it!
What will you remember about Christmas 2010?
That hush that travels around the world….
Most Christians and non Christians acknowledge that on Christmas Eve something wonderful happens around the world. The whirlwind that is life suspends for just a night and a hush descends on humanity. There’s that quiet pause as some reflect the blessings in their life and others reflect that true blessing, the man who gave his life for us to enjoy this time together!
The anticipation starts to build at 5pm as most feel technically the shopping if finally done and we can start focusing on the true meaning of the holiday, being with our friends and family. We come home after that last frantic trip to the mall, we got to the point that if we didn’t have it, it wasn’t happening. Focus turns from the material part of the holiday to those things that are special and don’t have any price tag attached to them.
Sitting at the table, listening to each child list out their blessings, marveling at how one looks like a passed on parent, how another looks like his father. Wondering where they will end up in life as they sit and joke, wondering who will be their soul mate and hoping they will find the right person.
Watching those cheesy Christmas movies as a family, sure we all know the Heatmeiser/ColdMeiser songs and have seeen Charlie Brown Christmas TOO many times but in the eyes of a child it’s special, it’s not just a movie but it’s time where parents have chosen to sit on the couch and hold them, to discuss the movie to spend time with them as we discuss the last letters to Santa.
Waiting for them to fall asleep, remembering the anticipation of being a child, of looking out the window for Rudolph’s nose, of leaving out the milk and cookies. Feeling joy at their quiet anticipation, just feeling their energy and wishing for a moment, just one second in time that it wouldn’t end. Talking with a glass of wine until we were sure they were asleep, then sneaking around the house, the happy little elves that we are.
That hush is God’s way of telling you to see the blessings around you, move past all the material aspects of the holidays and when you slow down to look, you see so much more than what’s in the commercials, that’s been there all year long but Christmas is that gentle reminder to stop and SEE. See the love, the innocence, the joy, the peace, the anticipation and then think about that night oh so long ago. They felt the same that we did in a different sense, they were about to change the world. We may not be changing the world, but one small change in our attitude can make a world of difference.
Christmas Eve in 1914, the Germans and the Americans called a truce for a night, they exchanged stories, souveniers, songs and felt the true spirit of Christmas, even if it was for just one night! Slow down, make a difference and look, really look as we wait in quiet anticipation for the coming of our Lord!
Just before Christmas 2007, a family received a phone call that their child had been hit by car and he was not going to survive. This family, in the midst of their loss and grief choose to give life to multiple other families through organ donation. This is very personal to me, because it impacted my family that Christmas.
While we have many traditions and enjoy all the celebrations of the Christmas season our family added one more reason to celebrate during the Christmas season. Three years ago our daughters had just arrived home for the holidays, one driving from Georgia and the other driving from Kentucky. The day following their arrival, the phone rang with news for their Dad (Tim) that would affect our entire family’s life.
A family who was grieving the loss of their child made a decision to donate organs. Their decision impacted several families in other states whom they did not know and personally they impacted my family. We will never forget that incredible gift. In the three short years following my husband’s kidney transplant, he has enjoyed good health, danced with our oldest daughter at her wedding, helped her and her husband move into their first home and plans to dance with our youngest daughter at her wedding next April.
Currently we have a dear friend, Kim who is waiting for a kidney/pancreas transplant and Tim’s brother, Randy is waiting for a kidney transplant. When you hear of families who donate the organs of loved ones . . . please say a prayer for them asking God to help them catch a glimpse of the beauty of that decision.
Have you considered the decision of organ donation in the event of your death? If so, have you let your family know your wishes and remember to indicated your decision on your driver’s license.
We, just like every family try to cram as many traditions into Christmas – trying to eek out as many memories as we can before the year ends. Yes, even I am little sentimental (my friends are laughing now at the “a little”) and wanted some traditions. Many of my children’s friends have “Elf on a Shelf” purchased at local stores and a few years ago I was broke and was asked about our elf.
Hanz was born out of this, my children’s favorite tradition. Hanz writes notes to the boys and leaves them under their pillow most nights. Since he is a tiny elf, the hand writing is REALLY small (enter reading glasses). Hanz has short sheeted their beds, told them they were fast snowboarders, made up jokes about Christmas, even changed out the candy in our Advent box! Hanz eats the candy the boys leaves for him and has specifically asked for cookies this year!
My favorite memory is my son’s teacher telling me that he very seriously told her that, “I have my own personal elf” and went onto telling her about Hanz. Some of the other parents also say that their kids would like an elf and can I talk to Hanz and see if some of his friends can come visit their homes!
So we have several fun traditions, the mess at making gingerbread men, the choosing and cutting the tree, and Hanz our little friend that is very creative when it gets the boys to laugh. Wolf told me that he was saving all the notes from Hanz this year for his kids, guess the sentimenal apple doesn’t fall too far from the preverbial tree, does it?
Did you ever have an elf? Sneaky Reindeer? What are your traditions?
What is your favorite Christmas ornament and why? The decision was easy for me, although I have many treasured ornaments, the Chrismons and the tiny, worn, red and gold balls are my favorite ornaments because they represent faith, love and family.
First, you will find four Chrismons on our tree each year. They were hand-made by my Aunt Jen a year or two before she died. If you are unfamiliar with Chrismons, they are generally hand-made ornaments that represent the Christian faith and the heart of Christmas. Their simplicity and beauty come forth on Christmas trees in ways that words fail to describe.
Second are the tiny, worn, red and gold balls my husband and I purchased the first year we were married. (1979) That first year our Christmas decorations consisted of a very cheap four-foot artificial tree and two boxes of red and gold balls. I called our Christmas tree a Charlie Brown tree! I have many beautiful ornaments on our tree now, but the little red and gold balls are among the most treasured ornaments because they represent hard work, sacrifice, love and commitment, they represent a deep strong current of love in our family that has survived and grown through the years.
What is your favorite ornament or ornaments and why? What does the tree in your home represent?
As I put the finishing touches on my Christmas tree, I reflect on the fact that I have always had a live tree. I go to the same lot that I have gone to for the last 18 years. I always try to get a big tree because I have SO many ornaments.
Each one holds a memory and it is hard to pick just one as my all-time favorite. I could say it was the plaster tree from second grade, with my horrible paint job, that my sister always tried to hide in the back. Or the paper Santa Claus that my husband, then boyfriend, hung on the tree because I didn’t have any ornaments. Maybe it is the faded plastic snowmen that I remember from my childhood that are barely hanging by a thread. Or the original Elf on the Shelf that was my grandparents who hangs near the top and watches and reports back to Santa. I still smile at all the Betsy Clark Ornaments I have and remember how I couldn’t wait to go to Hallmark to get the current year. I love the addition of Abby’s artwork and ornaments that she has made that chronicle how fast she is growing up.
And then, I realize something as I am scanning the tree and trying to come up with my one favorite. My favorite ornament is all of them! They are what make up me and my memories of Christmas. Without them, a part of my Christmas past would be missing.
So I embrace each one as I hang it on the tree and look forward to the many more I will collect along the way! And hope I can keep getting a tall tree to hold them all, because Christmas wouldn’t be complete without them!
Gifts are about those who are receiving the gift, but at the same time, gifts are about those giving. Sometimes the giver gives something as an act of love but something gets lost in the transaction. For example, my sister told me about a Christmas when her husband gave her a wheel barrel for Christmas. She was eight months pregnant with her second child and her first child was one year old! Knowing my brother-n-law I’m sure it was something very loving from his perspective because they always enjoyed working in the yard together, however the “wheel barrel story” lives on and twenty-five years later serves as an example of “what not to buy” for my sister.
What makes your best and worst list?
Below are the results of a little informal survey I did among some friends and family:
A friend’s time
Lotions, Creams, etc. . . . (Careful with fragrances)
Practical, usable things
Gourmet coffees, teas, soups, chocolates, etc . . .
3 Placemats (I understand 2 and 4 – but 3?)
Candles (that had clearly been used!)
Junk (this person said she really did not need something to sit around her house)
Diet Cookbook (Guess this person was not on a diet at the time!)
Electric weed tiller (again, not a woman’s gift)
Anything from Wal-Mart (I like Wal-Mart!)
Broken items (Open the box and check your gift)
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
Amazing talents, the expressions on people’s faces and the giving spirit of those singing will make this a wonderful gift to give yourself this Christmas. It is time for you to get into the Christmas spirit! This year the Hallelujah Chorus (from The Messiah) has been popping up in the most unusual places. (They are called Flash Mobs and Acts of Culture) In case you have not seen one of the You Tube videos, take a moment and watch this one – over five million people have watched it as of this morning.
This is not the first time this has occurred in the last several weeks. Could ”flash mobs” be a new way to go Christmas caroling? How would you feel if you were shopping at the mall and this suddenly occurred? What do you think you would do?
For some odd reason, I am moved to tears almost every time I watch the video. This new trend stirs something within me and it brings me great joy this Christmas season. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Tis the Season and Hallelujah!
‘Tis the week before Christmas . . . and my stress level is spiraling out of control. Generally, I have my Christmas shopping done the first week of December, but this year was different. I found myself, four days before Christmas, needing to make a trip to the mall.
When leaving the mall, I expected traffic to be moving slowly. Much to my surprise, however, traffic wasn’t moving at all. I spent more than an hour going from my parking place to the exit. “Merry Christmas to all…gridlock it is called!”
Seriously, though, it was interesting to observe the reactions of people during this traffic catastrophe. Some people were stressed out of their minds, while others seemed to be handling it quite well. I was one of those who was stressed out. For some strange reason, I like to sing when I am under at a lot of stress, and as the tension continued to build while I crept along, inch by inch, I started singing – and my stress level started to go down. While unorthodox, to say the least, I thought my song (or another original tune of the same genre) might help others to get through similar jams. To get the stress reducing benefits of my song (see below), begin by singing the first line as delightfully and joyfully as possible. Then, growl the second line as sarcastically and as angrily as you can. Go ahead try it.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
I can’t believe I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping!
Everywhere you go!
Not another traffic jam in the mall circle! No one and I mean no one, is breaking in front of me!
Take a look in the five and ten, glistening once again;
Why didn’t they scrape these parking lots better; if I fall I’m going to sue someone!
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
Why did I change lanes? Now I’m in the inner belt and I’ll never get out of the mall!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
If I make it out of the mall, it’s gift cards for everyone left on my list!
Toys in every store,
Why do people bring their kids out shopping . . . and why don’t parents wipe their kids’ noses!
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
Why are people blowing their horns? What is that going to accomplish?
On your own front door…
Who’s at the door now? Not someone else asking for money!
…On your own front door.
Oh, Aunt Jean, so glad you came for a visit. . . . geez I’m glad she’s gone!
Now, don’t you feel a lot better?
(How do you handle stress during the holidays?)
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