A very dear friend of mine, Kathy over at Empty Nester, http://www.emptynester.blogspot.com/ , whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know over at micassa.com, has honored me with the Christmas Spirit Award. Kathy is a kind-hearted soul, and if you have not been to her blog - you really, really need to stop by there and visit for a while. Thank you, Kathy, for thinking of me! Blessings and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
I humbly accept this award and I am excited to pass it along, as well. It's also ironic that I received this award today of all days. I went back to the hospital to get my stint removed - hopefully the last and final stage of what has been a long three weeks. I look forward to the next few weeks preparing for the arrival of Santa Claus with my soon-to-be 3 year-old grandson. His birthday is Dec 30th) As many of you know - or may not know - my husband and I have been blessed with the privilege of keeping our grandson, Cole, while my son and his wife are deployed to Iraq (their second tour.) I have been in ...well, let's just say "selfish pity party with no one invited but me" mode while I was down and out. I didn't have the tree up, my table wasn't set, I didn't have this or that done....well, you get the hint. But, thanks to another very dear friend, KD over at http://www.southernwhimsey.blogspot.com/ , I was gently "reminded" that this dear child who occupies my world 24/7 could care less that the tree is not fancily decorated, the china is not out on the table, and the mantle is not decorated in full-out Barbie style. So, Cole and Grandpa and I spent all day Sunday making paper chain garlands, cotton ball snowball ornaments and construction paper gingerbread men. It is my favorite tree EVER!
I promise to share all the details later in another post...but for now....
Here are the rules for the Christmas award:
You must be a true Christmas lover to receive this award. The person to whom you give the award must also be in love with Christmas. You must link back to the person who gave you the award. You must list 5 things that you love about Christmas. If you can't limit it to 5 things, then keep going till you run out of space! Pass the award along to as many people as you like. That can be 1 or 50. It's up to you! But, you must pass it on to at least one person in order to keep the Christmas cheer going! Let your recipients know that you have tagged them by leaving them a comment.
5 Things...What Christmas Means to Me and More!
1) A Family Tradition:
One of my most cherished memories and traditions in my family is the placement of "Santa Claus." My mom and dad always had Santa Claus gifts displayed like a Macy's window. I always found it strange growing up to see kids on TV unwrap their Santa Claus gifts. I thought Santa Claus displayed their gifts for them just like for me. Looking back on it, I think my mom must have spent hours on the displays, with larger items in the back and graduating to smaller items at the front. Barbie's were dressed and ready for a Jeep ride, toy houses were "staged" (my mom was an original Home Stager - lol), game boards were ready for the first roll of the dice.
I am the baby of the family with my brother being the oldest and a middle sister. We never had any doubts as to what belonged to who. My sister's gifts were always placed on the left, my brother's on the right and mine was smack dab in the center. My beloved mother is 73, and we go over to her home to eat Christmas Day dinner. And even to this day, right there in all its glory - are all Christmas gifts from "Santa" displayed in "our" spots. Since we are all married with children and even grandchildren, the spots have become "family" spots. I only have one son so he enjoys the whole tree (LOL) but both my sister and my brother have continued this tradition , too.
2) My Love of Decorating for Christmas:
I love decorating for the holidays, but especially for Christmas. Its a love instilled in me through both my grandmother and my mother. My ultimate dream is to be featured in Southern Living magazine. (just like every other warm-blooded Southern gal) I start the night of Thanksgiving as soon as I can
kick out...oops, I mean - graciously say goodbye to my guests. I realize that my glutton for Christmas decor is borderline sin. But I just can't help it. I have had a theme of red cardinal's for several years. The red cardinal is also the NC state bird, so I love that. Its embarrassing to say that if I stacked all my Christmas decor boxes together, it would look like a small family of four was moving. eek! :-) I cherish every object and each has a story to tell. I look forward to passing this collection to my son and his wife and my grandchildren one day. but not any time soon. LOL
3) Sharing the Spirit of Christmas:
Sadly, my son has spent three of the last four Christmases in Iraq. It's a bittersweet feeling to celebrate Christmas when your only son and child are so far away. I am so proud of him that words cannot begin to share how I feel. But, this year - I am blessed to have their son, my grandson with us this Christmas. I was not sure a few weeks ago if there would even be a Christmas in my home when I became sick...but today is a good day! I feel pretty darn good...let the Christmas celebrating begin! Yes Cole...there is a Santa Claus!
My husband and I have had a "tradition" of our own since we married 16 years ago. Even when I am blessed to have my son and daughter-in-law home for Christmas, we still invite several Marine's and Sailor's into our home a few days before Christmas for dinner and games, and we send them home with small gifts and lots of food packaged to share with others back in the barracks. At first they are shy and reserved, but after a while they warm up and hopefully by the end of the night - get a true feeling of the spirit of Christmas. Some have told me they have never had a better Christmas, and it is sad to hear some of their stories. I want to take them all in. Even if you do not live near a large military facility, there are generally recruiting depots, etc, nearby. You would be surprised the young kids or young families who cannot afford to get home. Please consider adopting a service member of their family during the holidays. Simply contact your local USO for more details.
Baking has never been my thing. I am more of a "smidgen" and "dash" kind of gal, and I think all the precise measuring gets on my nerves too much. LOL But not at Christmas time. I bake loads of cookies, pies, cakes and my fave - trifles. I buy inexpensive trifle dishes throughout the year, and these are what I give to neighbors and friends. Last year I made 20! This year it is an cranberry eggnog trifle.
5) Remembering Christmas pasts and a hope for a Christmas future:
When Christmas time rolls around, I long for Germany. When we lived in Europe, there was nowhere that epitomized the Christmas holiday like Germany. All four Christmases we were there, we traveled to either Germany or Austria for Christmas. These are some of my fondest memories with my son. He was between the ages of 10-14 yrs. His goal is to spend at least one Christmas in Germany with his own family. So next year, I might be saying "Fröhliches Weihnachten" if Barbie gets her way. :-)
And now...I would like to give this award to:
Gollum at Designs by Gollum Blog
From one dish lover to another...she always inspires me!
Jan and Tom at Jan and Tom's Place Blog
Read their inspiring story of how they helped a young family last year who had lost all to a house fire. THAT is the spirit of Christmas like no other.
I hope you have enjoyed this small snippet of my life....