Category Archives: Christmas

Tis the Season… to Cherish Family

I know it seems somewhat cliche’ to start talking about the importance of family when the holidays start rolling around, but that’s exactly what is on my mind.

Not only are Thanksgiving, Christmas and then New Years going on during this time of year, but my mom, my sis, and my dad also have their birthdays around this time too, so there has always been even more family togetherness going on during the holidays for me.

It will greatly embarrass my mom for me to blow the whistle on our ‘perfect family’ cover by leaking out this top secret information… but I must admit my little family is a bit damaged and broken at best.  I suppose this just very well may be the case for most families these days considering society, the world at large, and human nature being what they are.  But we always try to cover it up to appear ‘normal’ (whatever that is).  Maybe I should be a more private person and not air all of my dirty laundry out in public for all the world to see, but I’ve never been one for trying to portray an ‘image.’  What is the use in that?  In order to connect on any real level with others out there in the world, you need to be real.  I do however, need to be respectful of my family’s privacy and be careful not to share all of their dirty little secrets while I’m sharing my own.  😉

Not that we really have any of those, it’s not like we have a mass murderer in the family that we are trying to hide (of course I’d say this even if we did though wouldn’t I? ;)).  But even despite our bit of dysfunction, there is tons and tons of love here and I wouldn’t want any other people as my family other than this crazy lot I’ve been thrown in with.

But all joking aside, I suppose that apart from all the birthdays and the holidays going on, the reason family is so much on my mind is because I am realizing more and more every day just how very fragile and precious life is, and our dear families and loved ones are at the very heart of it all.  My aunt passed away a few days ago (on my mom’s birthday) and although I wasn’t particularly close with her, she was my family and I loved her, my heart is breaking for my cousins and my uncle right now.  In having my dad pass away just a year ago this past June, that sense of loss is still very much a fresh wound for me too.  It would have been his 84th birthday next week.  Gosh I miss him.  We really do need to cherish the time we have with our precious families because they could be taken away from us in an instant.

My mom can really get under my skin like no other, and can frustrate the ever lovin’ crap outta me.  But that being said, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love her, how truly grateful I am to have her as my mom (mistakes in raising me and all), how very much I appreciate everything she is and has done for me, and… how utterly lost I would be without her.

Try and cherish your family no matter what your family situation is.  I’m sure there are likely many families out there who are in very difficult circumstances. Sadly, my own brother is estranged from our family at the moment, but in the meantime I will still love him from afar, pray for him, and hope that one day things will be better.  And I will cherish the other precious ones in my family that I still do have…

Here’s my “bunch of crazies”  😉

and my crazy offspring, the most precious thing in this world to me…

♥♥♥

Day After Christmas Ramblings

It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse…

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted!  My coffee isn’t even helping to rev up my engine today.  I must be getting old.  Or maybe it’s just that lull after eating so much sugar over the past few days…

Not even sure if I can muster the mental capacity needed to write this.

We didn’t even have a whole lot of hoopla ~ it was a much toned down kind of Christmas for my family this year.  Maybe I’ll share more on that in a later post.

But speaking of toning down…  oof!  And next it’s onto all of our New Year’s resolutions of getting into better physical condition…  😉

This week on the calender between Christmas and New Years is always a contemplative one for me.  Reflecting on the past year and wondering what the new one approaching will bring.  You know… where have I been, where am I at, and where do I want to be, stuff like that, blah blah blah…

And I’m sure I’ll get right on that as soon as I finish recuperating…

~

Although we didn’t take any family photos on Christmas this year, I did manage to snap a few during the days & activities prior…

I went on a “Holiday Lights Tour” this year along with my daughter, my mom, my sister in law, and a good friend of mine.  None of us had ever done anything like it before and we had a very nice time.

Not the best quality or most flattering snapshots of us, but memorable just the same.  😀

~

We also did something a little different with our holiday baking this year.  We got together at my mom’s to do it.  It took place over the course of FOUR entire days and it ended up being way more than what we had intended on doing, but the time spent together was fun… and yummy!

~

And of course… I am always taking pictures of my pets.  I love them so! ❤

Again, not the best quality having been taken with my cell phone’s camera, but still adorable!

~

In all, my Christmas was nice.  I’m feeling deeply grateful.  For precious time spent with my family.  And for the dear friends I have in my life.  ❤

But for right now… on this day after Christmas… I’m going to eat some left overs and then lay on the couch and vegetate and relax, because the mice aren’t the only creatures not stirring around here.   😉

Countdown to Christmas

Six days until Christmas… Are you ready?

I’m not sure if I am or not.  I mean… The tree is up.  I’ve got all my gifts bought and wrapped.  I’ve “decked the halls” and decorated my apartment.  “The stockings are hung by the chimney with care” ~ or by the window (if only I still had a fireplace).  And baking is on the agenda starting tomorrow, so it would appear that I am ready.  But…

Even though I’ve been doing my best to be in the Christmas spirit, this year it’s been more than a bit of a challenge for me.  For multiple reasons.

First and foremost is feeling the loss of my Pops.  He passed away this past June and this will be our first Christmas without him.  I think it will hit us all the hardest as we gather at my parent’s house on Christmas Eve.  On Thanksgiving his empty place at the dinner table was like a gaping hole, and not having him sitting there in his recliner on Christmas Eve will definitely instill a profound sense of loss in all of us.  I am dreading it.  It’s hard to know how much to allow yourself to feel.  Because it hurts so much, part of me wants to put up a wall of protection around my heart and try to pretend like nothing is different or out of place.  But I know if I do that then I will not be honoring my Dad’s memory or being true to myself.  I think I’ll just try not to plan too far ahead what I’ll do/feel and just go with the flow ~ let the emotions come as they may.  And… I will focus on the dear and precious loved ones that are still here with me and treasure the gift of their presence.  We’re all in this together and we’ll get through it.

A photo of my Dad from Christmas past.  Whenever I would ask him what he wanted for Christmas he always said “money.”  Well that’s boring.  So one year I decided to get creative with the method in which I gave him his money.   I made him a money tree because I wanted to show him that “hey Dad, guess what?  Money really does grow on trees!”  😉   And then I folded some money into the shape of a shirt because the cliche’ is that’s what you give Dads for Christmas (or socks or a tie teehee!).  Then there was also a little box that was a puzzle he had to figure out before he could get to the money inside.  Because as every kid knows… Christmas presents are all about the toys, I had to make it fun!  I put a $50 bill in it so he was pretty motivated to get it open, but it took him quite a while to figure it out.  Happy memories.   ❤

Another thing affecting my Christmas spirit at the current moment is our lack of snow here in Minnesnowta.  It’s interesting how not having that fluffy white stuff on the ground can affect your Christmas spirit.  Although I think it’s pretty, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of snow in general ~ it’s cold, hard work shoveling it, and dangerous to drive in.  Last year we got so much snow dumped on us here that it was ridiculous, but i neeeed it for Christmas!  I don’t need that much, just a little to make it festive for Christmas.

“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” so I say… “Let it Snow” and I’ll be “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” and find “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” and think “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and then maybe I’ll “Have Myself a Merry Little Christmas.”  Yeah, lets see how many Christmas carols I can fit into one thought…  😉  Hey I’m just attempting to muster up some Christmas spirit!

I came across this video about Christmas spirit the other day.  Call me weird, but I can’t help it… I find nigahiga hilarious!

I guess everyone has a different idea of what Christmas spirit is.  And maybe we tend to put a little too much hype and expectation into it all.  There is just so much that surrounds Christmas time.  And depending on your own personal beliefs there may even be multiple holidays going on here simultaneously which adds even more to it all…

Well, as the countdown continues to click away the days, hours & minutes until Christmas, I’ll just keep doing my best to try to be festive and keep in mind how blessed I am ~ even when things are difficult.

And I’ll pray for snow…

😀

Oh Christmas Tree

Coffee in hand (or on desk as I type, actually.  Point is… nearby for sipping),    daily devotional read, cats fed, now to get motivated for the day…

So what’s on the agenda?

Putting up the Christmas tree.  Definitely experiencing some significant degree of difficulty motivating myself for that this year…

I’ve always loved Christmas.  Absolutely everything about it.  But my holiday cheer is at an all-time low this year.  Hey that rhymes!  It could be a newspaper headline: “Read all about it!  Holiday cheer at an all time low this year.”  I don’t know… I just make this stuff up as I go along you know.

So I wonder… what would this article say?  Should I try writing this in the 3rd person and make it like a newspaper article just to make it interesting?  Might be fun, but I’m afraid I haven’t got quite enough creative writing juices flowing just yet.  Maybe another time.  Another place.  Hah!  I’m hearing Rod Sterling’s intro to the Twilight Zone in my head right now!   I have no idea how my brain synapses just managed to link the Twilight Zone into that, but it is, what it is.  Here… join me in my oddness…

Geez I’m such a freak!  Hey cut me some slack, I’m still nursing my first cup of coffee here.  And I did mention in an earlier post that everything reminds me of a line from a movie, a song, or a TV commercial.  And also that I interrupt myself in the middle of a thought.  So before I went traveling off into the Twilight Zone, I was talking about motivating myself to put up the Christmas tree…

I’ve had a pretty rough couple of years here and without going into detail, it has been a real struggle to figure out what the heck my life is even about.  Everything I thought it was has had to be reevaluated.  And I haven’t finished analyzing it yet.  I’ll have to get back to you on that.  But the point is… hard stuff going on in your life affects your holiday cheer (among other things).

So where can I draw from to try and get a little bit of that back ~ my holiday cheer?  I’m not feeling especially inspired enough at the moment to come up with much, but one thing I can do is take the focus off of myself and put it onto others. Instead of going inward and contemplating everything going on in my life, all the loss and pain, maybe I suck it up and stuff all that junk into the far recesses of my thoughts (I can always come back to it later right?).

I’ll focus on my beautiful daughter ~ who loves Christmas.  I did that to her, I’m sure of it.  (Among other things which will inevitably surface at some point.)  Hopefully she doesn’t become disillusioned later when the struggles of life try and snuff out the excitement and anticipation of Christmas.  She’s the one gnawing at me about putting up the Christmas tree today.  Heh… gnawing!  So I’ll suck it up.  For her.  And also for my dear Mother who I have been sooo lucky and blessed to have as my Mom.  This will be her first Christmas without her husband of 52 years.  We lost my Pops to cancer this past June.  It has been a very difficult time for all of us, but I think most of all for her.  And I’ll focus on my sister.  My bestest friend in this whole wide world!  I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her.  Her insight and wisdom over the years has been invaluable to me ~ as has been her love and friendship.

Yep, these 3 precious people.  I’ll focus on them.  And on doing what I can to help make their Christmas meaningful.  Which immediately at hand means… getting off this computer and putting up the Christmas tree.

The moral of this story:

One way to muster up a little bit of holiday cheer = taking the focus off of yourself and putting it onto others.  Suck it up!