Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Holidays!!

It’s that time of year again. Carols on the airwaves. Snow blanketing the ground. Ad circulars cramming the mailbox. Bell ringing at the malls. Lights and sparkle almost everywhere.

It’s no mystery why my first novel is set in December. Christmas is my favorite time of year. In our region, Mother Nature set the stage perfectly by dumping nine inches of snow on December 5th.

Our family holiday traditions started the weekend after Thanksgiving with the trimming of the tree (clear lights only), the assembly of Santa’s Express (all aboard!!), the arrangement of the Dickens Village, the draping of the mantel, and the wreathing of the house. We got out the collections we add to each year: my daughter’s snowmen and my son’s nutcrackers. Then we wandered over to George Eastman’s house for the annual gingerbread, Christmas tree, and wreath display before stopping at the local chocolate shop for turtles and sponge candy.

A week later we assembled our own gingerbread village. Somehow Grandpa turned the bakery into an outhouse. Gotta watch him every minute!

We made candy and cake bon bons; some for gifts, others, well, they’re inexplicably missing already. Then we made cutouts. Grandpa finally comprehends sugar cookies are merely vehicles—showcases, in fact—for frosting.

We became angels for two children we’ll likely never meet and spent hours trying to select the right clothes and toys for them. Can pink and purple be wrong for little girls?

A few Christmas cards are going out this weekend. They were going to include a family portrait. Of course, it helps to schedule a sitting. Instead, they’re glittery snowmen. The snowmen are better looking anyway.

After hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of our family for the twentieth year, we’re looking forward to Christmas Eve at my brother’s and Christmas dinner at my in-laws. We’d love to avoid the stomach flu that plagued us last year.

A couple things are missing this holiday season that can never be replaced. This is our eighth Christmas without my mom, and she is forever going to be missed. And we’re missing young children who believe—which sadly means we’re missing some of the Christmas magic.

We have yet to establish a New Year’s Eve tradition. Some years we party. Others, we go to the movies. Sometimes we just stay home.

So, any special holiday traditions you’d like to share?


Vicki Doudera said...

Lisa, what a fun post. I would have a wonderful time hanging out with your family!

An annual event we look forward to is a potluck party with four other families with a Yankee swap for gifts. Although many of the "kids" are now young adults, they still join us for the party and the often hilarious gift exchange. We rotate houses and keep it simple, but it is amazing to me how much this tradition means to all of us, young and old.

Darrell James said...

Lisa, it sounds like you're upholding some great traditions. It's a little hard for us to maintain the spirit out here in the southwest, it's supposed to remain in the md-seventies all the way through Christmas. Still, we'll do our best. Thanks for sharing.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I can smell the baking from here. I posted my holiday traditions on my personal blog just this morning. Christmas for One isn't necessarily a Bah Humbug -

Keith Raffel said...

Lisa, we try to go to the first showing of a movie Xmas morning. When I was a boy, the only other ones in the theater were other Jews. Now the theaters are filled. I wonder why more celebrants aren't enjoying Xmas morning as they used to.

Lisa Bork said...

Vicki - Our book club does a potluck and Yankee swap every year. Always great fun!

Darrell - Just keep the mid-seventies weather through February this year--we're coming your way for vacation!

Sue Ann - I read your blog. Rack of lamb is impressive. Do your three darling kittys have stocking by the fire, too?

Keith - Interesting the theaters are now filled. Maybe people don't travel home as much with the economy and the airline nightmares. Why not enjoy a movie?!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Lisa, the lamb isn't that impressive. Trust me. It's only a small rack and I don't make it into a crown with little paper panties. And, yes, all 3 of us have stockings, but just for show. B and Raffi are getting a new water bowl and a couple of play mice this year. Shhh, don't tell them.

Lisa Bork said...

Sue Ann - I've never made any kind of lamb, so you're way ahead of me.

Our dog has a stocking, too. Hers is the only one with stuff in it already. She's very excited!