Getting Geared Up for the Holidays!

Yes, it’s been a while since my last post. I have no excuse except for the old cliche that I’ve been soooo busy! Halloween and Thanksgiving came out of nowhere, catching me totally off guard. Luckily, this year the kids wanted simple costumes that could be purchased rather inexpensively. This meant that I did not spend several hours sewing elaborate costumes, such as last year’s Renaissance dress my daughter asked for. A black cape, black sweats and some fangs were certainly easier, if a bit less rewarding in the creative arts department. Ah well. Next year might provide me the opportunity to try my sewing hand at a Southern Belle number or perhaps some fairy attire and wings. We’ll see!

Thanksgiving came and brought with it two sumptuous feasts and enough pie to warrant an early New Year’s diet plan. My mom is the quintessential Midwest farm gal, showing her love through food favorites when the holidays roll around. Where one or two different homemade pies might suffice for some families, she is sure to cover all bases when it comes to everyone’s favorite: pumpkin pie for Dave and Tom, lemon meringue for Julie, blueberry for Jane, tripleberry for Mark, apple for my dad, and banana cream for… well, I don’t quite remember. I’ve forgotten which is supposed to be my favorite, so I try a few bites of them all.

Now that we’ve put the great turkey feast behind us for another year, on to Christmas!

The Friday after Thanksgiving is reserved for the family Christmas tree cutting ceremony. This exercise in family fun involves my husband Ryan and me forcing the kids to trudge through snow and endure cold, blustery winds the find the perfect Tannenbaum. I’m finicky (again, I take after my mother who has blasphemously thrown out a Christmas tree or two after giving up on trying to hide the bald spots and unforgiving shapes before instructing my dad to “give it another try, and this time, do please try to get the Fraser Fir I requested and please leave the crooked, barren-spotted conifers alone!”). And so we walk. And walk. And walk some more. The entire time my husband and children suggesting a Blue Spruce or Scotch Pine. “What about this one?” my son will ask. My daughter just gives up, asking me to hurry up so she can get some free hot cider. My husband is a good sport. He knows that all the careful scrutiny will result in that one glorious moment when we round a bend or crest the top of an evergreen covered knoll and discover a perfectly-shaped, full, lush specimen of Christmas tree grandeur. I proclaim, “That’s that one!” and the kids clamber underneath with Dad, asking to take a turn at sawing for a spell to help fell the family Christmas tree.

Our tree is now up. The decorations were placed lovingly on the boughs (if a bit towards the lower half of the tree) by the kids while I handed them each ornament, recalling stories from Christmases past as Perry Como and Bing Crosby crooned in the background. I love these Normal Rockwell moments and hope they make an indelible mark on my kids’ Christmas memories.

The wreath is up thanks to my husband’s handy knot-tying skills. The porcelain nativity scene is arranged carefully, Mary’s superglued hand raised in exclamatory wonder (thanks to a certain curious 2-year-old munchkin a number of Christmases ago who brought me the “pretty lady” and her hand). Greenery and pine cones have been arranged, the embroidered stockings hung, and the outside lights resurrected and put up. Fa la la la la, la la la la!

The Christmas shopping list is nearing completion and I await a few afternoons of freedom to brave the crowds. Grandma’s Christmas recipes have been found. The kids can’t wait to help mom perch Hershey Kisses atop peanut butter blossoms and employ the cookie cutters and red hots. Ryan has reminded me that the chocolate bon-bon cookies are his favorite, and my mom has hinted at scheduling some rosette making time.

This weekend’s lineup includes: gingerbread house decorating, ice skating and a visit to see Jolly Old St. Nick.

I’m making every effort to get it all done: shopping, baking, drafting the Christmas letter, pulling together a Christmas pictures… ‘Tis a busy season. But as time is so fleeting, I’m trying to embrace the holiday month. Like our children’s baby years, it’ll be gone before we know it!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Year, good luck with preparing and enjoying your holidays!

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