Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Stockings Were Hung....

by the chimney with care. I grew up in one of the snowiest places in the country. And yet, we didn't have a fireplace. It wasn't until I moved to the far south (Texas) that we had one. Then again in California and Virginia. And so, as a child the stockings were just laid at the foot of the tree. Stockings at our house now are hung from the mantle, with a variety of stocking hangers. We often have six or more. One for each of us (yes, adults included) and leftovers for the cats or whoever might be visiting. Santa fills the stockings when he comes by on Christmas Eve. He usually leaves little gifts and sometimes candy. After they're filled, he leaves them on the hearth. Kyle and Katie are allowed to peak in stockings when they first wake up. They usually get Harvey and I before they get down to the serious opening.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Just a few things left to do

Wrap the Gifts
Pack the suitcases
Get the cat sitter
Get a ride to the airport
Eat up the leftovers
Enjoy!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Christmas programming for...

Hannukah!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Didn't See That Coming

I received a Christmas card from my uncle Jimmy. This is my mom's sister's (Francis) husband. Francis passed a few years ago. And I never really heard much from my mom about Uncle Jimmy. As a kid, Aunt Francis kind of scared me, but Jimmy was always big and friendly and cuddly. He always had a great garden. That's what I remember about him. I didn't know my cousins, Robert and Paul, very well. They were older and, well, boys. So, I was quite suprised to get a Christmas card from him. He's had some health problems, but is on the mend and in an adult care facility. Overall, sounds like he's doing okay.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dear Santa,

It's been forever since I wrote you a note. I guess I thought that after a certain age, we either a)weren't supposed to or b)didn't need to. How silly.

So, here goes:

I would like time to slow down. My children are growing up too fast, and I need several more years with them before they go out into the world.

I would like at least one more day a week. Preferably mid week. This would be the day where I can play hookey, but not really, because it would be called Myday.

I would like a couple of new friends. I like the ones I have, but could always use a few more.

I would like to enjoy more time with my husband.

I would like to not worry about the future.

I would like our mothers to get/stay healthy.

I would like peace and prosperity for the world.

And if that is asking too much, the usual scented candle, cozy socks, scrapbook supplies and maybe another bird feeder will do.

Thanks Santa,

Love Heather

P.S. I'll keep an eye out for you on Christmas Eve, just like I always do.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Perfect Gift

Have I ever received the perfect gift?

Honestly, nothing is jumping right out at me. I've received some very nice gifts over the years, from crayoned pictures to sparkly gems, but not one stands out right now as the perfect one.

Have I given the perfect gift?

Again, nothing is jumping. I've given heartfelt gifts, and homemade gifts and gifts that I thought were perfect, only to receive a lukewarm reception. As of yet, I havent' heard an "oh, that's so perfect."

When you're husband is Jewish, pretty much all the Christmas traditions fall on you. Gift giving is no exception. And while Harvey is a talented gift giver, he only gives to me, leaving the rest of the purchasing a aquistions to me.

When the children were little, with not much in the line of preferences, things were easy. But I tended to go overboard. I'd start early, having a good bit done by early December, then coninue to shop during the final weeks. I'd buy everything I thought they might like. (Was I really buying things for me? Of course.) Christmas day would come, and I'd see the piles of toys, and it would make me a little nauseous. Who needs all that? Lately, I try just to buy what they really want. It's still "thing" driven and "wish list" driven. Not a lot of creativity.

I've gone down the homemade gift path. Scrapbooking and quilting being top hobbies, they were also my choice for handmade gifts. I've learned the hard way that people can't possibly appreciate the 50 or so hours that goes into making a quilt. The gifts that I thought would evoke tears and profusive praise, got perfunctory lookd throughs and "oh, did you make that out of old shirts?" Now, if I decide to do a homemade gift, it's small, quick, and I have no emotion attached to it. I do it because I enjoy the process, not because I expect it to be treasured.

I've tried to remember any perfect gifts I received growing up. I look at photos from Chistmases past. Chatty Cathy, baby dolls and Barbies. Later, clothes, a hairdryer. When we became adults, my parents gave up and just started sending money. They did there best.

This Christmas, I've wrapped a few things that I think will be very much enjoyed. Are they perfect? Who can say. Is what's perfect for the giver perfect for the receiver? Or vice versa?

As for me, what would be the perfect gift? Probably the gift of time. A date with my daughter. A date with my son. A trip with my husband. A trip with my family. If these gift aren't under the tree, then perhaps they'll be a gift I give to me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grateful

So much to be grateful for this season. Some big, some little. Some serious, some silly. Here's a few that come to mind:

*Getting together with my family for Christmas. The last time was seven years ago. Dad was with us then.

*Having a job that I enjoy, that someone came and offered to me, and that I'm good at.

*The feeling that this is possilby the most creative time of my life.

*Having projects that I'm excited about.

*Making time to blog today!

*Good coffee.

*A book sale to go to later today.

*I get to start Twilight today!

*A stack of magazines for the plane ride to California.

*Katie's excitement about our trip.

*When Paws has "good days".

*My new blog project for 2009.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Something Christmasy

It's December 4th and I want to do something Christmasy today. But I've got the book fair all day, and I really need to get some work done. Then pick Kyle up after practice, eat a quick dinner and then over to scouts. Where's the time. Wait a minute. My favorite garden shop is just a few blocks from where I take Kyle to scouts. Let me check.....yes! Just popped over to their web site and they're open late tonight. So here's the plan. Cakes and I will drop off Kyle, pick up a Starbucks then go to MacDonald's and see all the Christmas pretties. I'll bring the camera. It will be sparkly. It will be magical. It will be Christmasy. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Cards

I don't remember when I first started sending Christmas cards. After I moved into my own house? Or when I got married? Doesn't matter. For years, I looked at it as more of an obligation. Just another December task to cross off the list. I usually tried to find something cute rather than religious. Sometimes I cheated, and bought the next year's card at the after Christmas sales. But it all seemed like a bit of a chore.

Then came the advent of photo cards. Those I got into. They were something I enjoyed receiving, and something I could do relatively easily. I didn't send them every year, maybe every other, with a traditional card in between. Sometimes the Christmas card became a Happy New Year card, if I procrastinated. Not a lot of writing, just a quick signature, if that.

A few years ago, it seemed like I wasn't receiving as many as in previous years. But then again, I wasn't sending as many either. And I really like receiving them, even if sending them, not so much. It dawned on me that to receive, I must send. So I started sending to neighbors and friends. (Before that, just to out of town friends and relatives. After all, my local friends know what we look like!) Now, I try to do timely cards, for Christmas, and get them in the mail by the second week of December. And this year, we're going to try a Holiday Letter. Harvey even said he'd write it! So we're branching out. I hope we get a lot of mail. And if not, I'm enjoying the sending a whole lot more. So, if you'd like to send me a card, please do! I've already got you on my list!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow...

I wish we could let it snow. But it just doesn't. At least not in Virginia.

For a girl who grew up in Liverpool, New York, you'd think I'd had my fill of snow. And truth is, I have. At least the 10 foot drift snows. The get soaked down to your frostbitten toes snow. The do your homework by candlelight because there's been no power all day snow. The have to drink powdered milk because no one can get to the grocery store to buy real milk snow.

But I'm still nostalgic for the hot cocoa and mashmallow snow. The mom, can I have the car keys to pick up all my friends to go sledding snow. The Mr. Wells is driving his snowmobile to the grocery store, do you need anything snow. The cool, our fort is taller than the car snow. The let's flood the back yard to make an ice skating rink snow.

After growning up and out of New York, we spent a few years in Houston (actually had one brief snowfall in three years there.) Then off to Los Angeles. Again, I recall one afternoon, driving around while house hunting, when there were flurries in the valley. And then here to Virginia. At least here, we have the possibility of snow. And we have had a few decent snowfalls over the past 16 years. They don't last. And that's fine. In reality, I don't want that much.

What I want is some flurries on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I want a snow day once a winter. I want to wake up with Kyle at 5:30 and turn on the news, and see that school is cancelled and see that grin spread across his face. I want hot cocoa, cozy sweaters, maybe a fire in the fireplace. I want enough snow to make some snow angels, make a snow man, make some snow balls and make some snow memories.

And, living in Virginia, that will be enough.

My Gift

My gift for this Chistmas is the journal I start today.

To remember Christmases past.
To savor Christmases present.
To cherish for Christmases future.

It's a journal for my family. Maybe for some friends. But mostly for me.

It's a gift to myself. A gift of time. A gift of creativity. A gift of expression. A gift of thought.

To: Heather From: Heather

Merry Christmas