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Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

I love the blog stats thing! But I think I check it way too often. There’s about three people still reading after my holiday break. 🙂 Anyway, for the few of you who are left, I thought I’d talk about the holiday let down a bit. I haven’t really experienced this this year- it’s been more relief than anything, and I’m already looking forward to New Years- but I have in the past, and it’s such a dragging feeling. In fact, The Boy asked me about it yesterday. I don’t have any real solid answers, but something my mom did was give me a gift the day after Christmas- usually it was something she forgot to put under the tree, but you could do it on purpose. 🙂 The other thing is to shift your thinking a little bit about what Christmas is- for me, the best part is the anticipation- that’s why we have things like advent- and you can do little preparation things- fun activities, the point of the holidays is to have FUN- and continue with the activities after Christmas- I think the let down happens when there’s just a halt to all holiday activity once the big day is over- the day after, get out of the house and have a fun outing- we went to the library (if you could see our library, you’d understand! It’s 6 stories tall!) and then to lunch. Or you could go ice skating, or cross country skiing, or sledding, or anything that you enjoy. But keep it low key. Relax, after all the rush. When you get home, spend a quiet evening in- we watched a movie- but you could read around the fire, or bake something yummy, or play games, whatever your family likes to do. Then when everyone is in bed, and all the chores are done, go take a bath- this is one I’ve recently rediscovered- it’s perfect for dry winter skin- a shot glass full of olive oil, and about 10 drops of lavender essential oil- the lavender will relax you, and the oil will make your skin so soft. Soak as long as you wish. Let your mind drift with your body. Then get out, towel off, get your warmest softest jammies on, and go to bed. Sleep in heavenly peace.

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Christmas Tour

First of all, I resized these, so no fears about clicking on pics anymore. And second of all, I apologize for the dimness of the pics- I know the flash went off- the only thing I can think of is that the batteries are going to die soon.

Now my Christmas stuff!

Welcome to my little apt. That wreath is fresh, from Harvest Moon Flower Farm. She’s a local farmer, and a sweet woman to work with. She actually GAVE the wreath to us, since we didn’t have the cash, saying no one has ever stolen one from her yet.

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Hang up your coat, and check out our Christmas cards!

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Right beside them is our bookshelf, and I put our tiny tree up there, to keep out of reach of little hands.

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I put our greenery on top of the other bookshelf, and added some beeswax candles in ivory and red. I’m sorry the color didn’t show up as well as it should have.

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The stockings are hung by the fireplace with care on the bookshelf. (Hee!)

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Ah, the piece de resistance, the tree! Our FIRST full size live tree! I’m so excited!

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Check out our special ornaments:

This cute lil squirrel, we just got him this year, but check out that personality!

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And this cardinal. I love cardinals, and they go so well with the greenery:

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And this one is to celebrate Fairy Girl’s first Christmas with us:

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This one was for MY first Christmas on this planet! (It says 1982)

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And finally, the tiny handprint ornament. Baby’s second Christmas!

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On the table, is a set of salt and pepper shakers from my Gramma. She left them specially for me, and I treasure them.

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Only 3 days left! Hope you’re done and able to relax and enjoy the season! Bye!

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Christmas Crafts

I seem to be hitting a bit of blogger’s block. Or rather, I think it’s that I have so MUCH to say that I don’t know where to begin. It could also be that I haven’t had much time to sit and reflect about what I want to say. So please excuse the lack of much substance til after the holidays. Or heck, maybe til March- after Xmas, there’s Fairy Girl’s birthday, then The Boy’s birthday, and then I’m going to attempt to get my Etsy shop up and running. No, I’m sure I will have something to say before March!

 

But today, Christmas stuff.

 

I love Christmas- it’s my favorite holiday.  It’s somewhat of a confusing holiday for me, though. I grew up in a primarily Christian home, and Christmas was Jesus’ birthday, and a second component was the Santa Claus/ gifts part. I focused heavily on the gifts part as a kid, as most kids do, I think. But it wasn’t just getting gifts. It was the whole magic of the day. At night, the stockings are empty, and the tree is bare. In the morning, your stocking is bulging with unknown wonders, and the tree is full of presents! Magic! Add snow to the mix, especially if it falls on Christmas Eve, and even MORE magic! I try to hold onto that feeling each Christmas, and my goal to to create that now for Fairy Girl. That is why we do Santa in this house- he’s all just part of the magic- and I personally haven’t had the heart to stop believing in him yet. When I was in high school, my dad told me that we never did the “naughty/nice” bit, because his love for us, his kids, was unconditional. Santa brought gifts no matter what, because we were who we were. And I will continue in that tradition. While we will do Santa, there will be no naughty or nice manipulation.

 

About the time dad was explaining his philosophy on Santa to me, I was beginning to hang out with Pagan herbal types online, and discovering the roots of the Christian holidays. Christmas is a thinly veiled Yule celebration. Which is great, if you have no qualms about Paganism, but I had to, as a Christian, decide how to embrace that and keep my magical holiday, or decide to stop celebrating Christmas at all. Add to that, that about the time I was 8, my family started attending a Messianic synagogue. Messianic Jews are Jews who believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I’m not Jewish, so the Messianic movement means something slightly different to me- I mean, we still believe Jesus is the Messiah, but when a Gentile believes that, they usually call themselves Christian. The Messianic part comes in when the Gentile believes that the Old Testament laws- the Torah still apply to them, and so they keep the Jewish Holy days, and some other traditions- or not- I’ve met some who believe that all tradition should be done away with, and only the Biblical commands adhered to. I fall somewhere in the middle, but that’s a post for a different day. Anyway, when you add a Jewish component to the winter Holy Days, then it becomes “To celebrate or not to celebrate Christmas at all?” And “To celebrate or not to celebrate Channukah?” And “Can we do both?” And “How do we do both without spending all our money on gifts, and making our children materialistic, and losing sight of the whole reason we’re celebrating anyway?”

 

 

Sigh. I guess I did have something to say today.

 

I can’t say I’ve found all the answers yet. So far, we do still celebrate Christmas, and will continue to. I decided last year that it wasn’t so much a religious holiday as a cultural one for me. But truly, it IS spiritual for me. But I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface on that one, and I can’t write about it yet.  We don’t celebrate Channukah. Yet. But we make latkes and kugel at our Christmas dinner.

 

A new tradition I decided to do for this year, is on Christmas Eve, read “A Visit From St. Nick”. And on Christmas morning, read the story of the nativity from Luke.  We’ll see how that goes.

 

Even though there are lots of complicated things about Christmas, there are very simple reasons we celebrate. I love the day. I love the lights, the warmth, the magic. I love the anticipation. To me, that’s the best part. I’m looking forward to reliving the magic through Fairy Girl. She’s nearly two, just old enough to start figuring out what it’s all about.  I read “Unplug the Christmas Machine” last year(our third Christmas as a family, our first one with Fairy Girl), and really was able to take stock  of what I want the day to be for our family. With that in mind, I pared down our traditions to the ones that mean the most to us.

 

LOTS of baking. I make recipes written in my grandmothers’ and mother’s hand. And I added some of my own favorites. I make the same ones every year, and it is the ONLY time of year I make them. They taste like Christmas to me!

 

My baking list:

Cherry Winks

Secret Kiss Cookies

Cut out cookies (the kind you roll out, decorate, and consume entirely too much sugar on)

Filled Cookies

Rum Balls

Potato Candy (naturally gluten free)

Cheddar-Sesame Crackers

and Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (this year, gluten free!)

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 I also have a tradition of decorating outside for the birds (and the squirrels. Like Dawn, I love the squirrels as much as I love the birds.) This year, we did popcorn and cranberry garlands, and pinecone bird feeders. No pictures of that; it wasn’t very picture worthy, and it was dark when we did it anyway. The squirrels had decimated everything by morning. I’m glad they appreciated it.

 

This year, we also did some homemade ornaments.

 

We did cinnamon dough boys

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And sparkly pine cones

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Still no ribbon candy ornaments. I decided to do those during one of Fairy Girl’s naps, but today I’m blogging instead. So, another day (soon, though!).

 

When the Fairy Girl wakes from her nap, we’ll do a handprint ornament too. I wanted to do one every year, but I didn’t get to it last year. I can’t express how sad that still makes me. I will never again be able to capture my daughter’s handprint at one year old and hang it on the tree. So, in a brave attempt to Get Over It, I’m starting a tradition of “Baby’s Second Christmas” handprint ornaments. I’ll take a pic, because who can resist a tiny handprint?

 

And now, I’ll leave you with some wintery pictures.

 

The snow coming down. That isn’t our front door, it’s our neighbor’s. But I liked their lights and garland.

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 Our garden gate:

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 Like I said, who can resist a tiny handprint? But you can’t see how tiny it really is. I wish I’d been able to capture that.

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Leaves in snow. Just something I thought was pretty.

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