Reclaiming Christmas

Season's Greetings

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One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is reading cards and letters from far-away friends and family.  I love opening the mail and finding a Christmas card -- especially one with a family photo and a letter!  Some people belittle the annual Christmas letter -- but not me!  I love to get family photos and news.  It's the only way I keep up with my old college friends, Tom's grad school cohort, and former work colleagues now scattered by re-sizings.  (Sure.  I know that sending Christmas greetings by regular post is a dying tradition, and that times-they-are-a-changin'.  But I love the tradition and will hold on to it as long as I can.)

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Getting my cards and letter ready . . . back in 2012.

I'll be writing my own letter later this week.  What will I include?

  1. Some sort of lame comment about how quickly the year has flown by, and how (oh how?) did it get to be Christmas again already.
  2. An overall summing up of the past year for the family, usually with a little comic relief thrown in here and there (maybe a story about an appliance mishap or a slapstick story about the dogs).  I'll probably include the story about how Tom and I "swept" our age group in the Troutarama 5K back in July.
  3. I'll surely comment on how different the Christmas season feels with no kids in the house -- how it's quiet and calm without the old frenzy of kid-activities and excitement.  And how . . . I'm okay with that!
  4. I'll write a little paragraph about Tom -- about his work and his travels to India (I'll almost certainly include a little tidbit about his visit to the mango market last summer); I'll mention that he visited his parents and family in Wyoming, and enjoyed a fishing trip to the Florida keys with his pal John (where he caught permit and shark!).
  5. I'll write a little paragraph about me -- about how I struggled with my job all year, and finally decided to quit at the end of the year; I'll talk about traveling to Italy with my sister and visiting my friend, Margene, in Utah, and I'll mention my gardening, reading, and knitting.
  6. I'll give an update about what Erin is doing in Pittsburgh -- about her job and her life with Keith; about how much we miss her -- and how much we value the time we're able to spend together.
  7. I'll give an update about Brian -- about his graduation last May and his new job in the lab; I'll mention that he's moving to a new apartment (right in the midst of the holidays!) with his lovely girlfriend, Lauren.
  8. I'll share that we all enjoyed being together for Thanksgiving this year, but will be hit-and-miss for Christmas.  (And I'll probably mention that Erin really doesn't complain much about spending the holiday on the sunny beaches of Florida.)
  9. I'll close by wishing everyone a lovely holiday season, and a new year filled with good health and much happiness.
  10. And then, I'll sign our names.

How about YOU?  Do you send a Christmas letter to your friends and family? 

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Gateway to Christmas

On Thanksgiving evening, after our leftovers were stored away in the refrigerator (but before we got all the dishes done) we gathered around my kitchen island to take part in our long-standing Gateway-to-Christmas ritual . . . Decorating Gingerbread Houses.

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(I am very happy to report that we had no broken bones, calls to 9-1-1, roof cave-ins, or other major mishaps this year!)

The entire process is rather long and drawn-out, with preparation taking place over several days.

First, there is the baking. 

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And then, there is the building.  (Thanks, Keith!)

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Finally . . . it all culminates in the Fun Part:  gathering the materials and letting the creative juices flow.

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We make quite an impressive mess when it comes to this project!

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(Although far less mess now . . . than when Erin and Brian were children.)
(Oh, my.  So much less mess.)

This year, we welcomed Brian's girlfriend, Lauren, to our gingerbread house madness.  As a good-natured engineering student, she took to it like a champ!  Brian even joined us to "help" -- and I don't think he's been interested in gingerbread houses since he was about 10!  He and Lauren teamed up to create these adorable snowmen out of gumdrops (skewered on candy canes).

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Truth be told, Brian acted a bit like he did when he was a 10-year-old!  Like . . . he kept gluing random gumdrops to Lauren's house when she wasn't paying attention (. . . how did THAT get there????) and dropping candy "turds" in Erin's pristine coconut lawn.  (Once a pesty little brother, always a pesty little brother. . .)

This year's final products:

Erin . . .

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My mom . . . 

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Lauren . . . 

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And me . . .

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A whole gingerbread neighborhood . . . 

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Welcome to December!

 

 


12 (Blog) Days of Christmas . . . on the Twelfth Day

On the Twelfth (blog) Day of Christmas . . . I give you The Aftermath.

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I love the AFTER-Christmas days.  When you can put your feet up and relax a little.  Just sort of . . . re-group and re-cover.

That's what I'm doing now.  That . . . and taking care of my sick men. 

I'm taking a little blog-break for the rest of the week, but I'll be back on Monday to ring in the new year.  Enjoy your weekend.


12 (Blog) Days of Christmas . . . On the Eleventh Day

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas . . .  I give you food!

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I think when it comes right down to it . . . my favorite thing about the holidays, really, is the food!

From cookie-baking to Christmas dinner, I love poring over cookbooks and food magazines, planning my menus, shopping for the just-right ingredients, and then doing the actual cooking and baking. 

We now have way too many cookies . . .

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but the Christmas Eve Swedish Smörgåsbord. . .

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was completely obliterared!

The glögg went pretty fast, too.

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Christmas dinner was most excellent . . . 

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finished with salted caramel cheesecakes (that most definitely did NOT look like their magazine photo counterpart. . . but tasted pretty darn heavenly).

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So much YUM packed into just a couple of days!  (And now . . . I'm headed for the gym!!!)

 

 


The 12 (Blog) Days of Christmas: On the Tenth Day

On the Tenth (blog) Day of Christmas  . . . I give you memories!

So many Christmases. . .

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So many presents . . .

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So many memories through the years.

Late 60s Xmas with Di

On Christmas Eve, especially it seems, I remember all my Christmases past.

Tom and Kym early 80s Xmas

I remember the magic. . .

Little Erin and Little Brian Xmas 1994

and the fun.

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I think about how things change . . .

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and how they don't. 

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May happy memories of Christmases past surround YOU today!

 


12 (Blog) Days of Christmas: On the Ninth Day

 

On the Ninth (blog) Day of Christmas . . . I give you light!

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It is the Winter Solstice . . . and very dark.  Here, it also snowing (just a little) and windy.  Winter may be finally arriving.

Light some candles.

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Turn on the twinkle lights.

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And enjoy some Shakespeare.

 

Enjoy some quiet light this weekend . . .

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Light!