Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some Musings about Christmases Past and Present....

This holiday season started with a bang! Literally.

The tree fell down just a few days after we put it up and when I got home from work and a hard work-out and saw it, I can't lie, I was almost my fathers daughter! My first thought was to drag it out the door and to the dumpster, with lights and bulbs and the whole bit! I was so utterly frustrated that I would have to spend an additional couple of hours cleaning up the broken bulbs, fixing the stand and repairing the broken branches (yes, it's a fake tree) that it was almost the end of the tree, and the tree tradition altogether at my house.

But, I refrained, ignored the tree for 24 hours so that I could address it with the patience and care it deserved, and had it back up before Mikaela got home from Mike's house. The tree is still up (and thanks to some serious wire strapping, duct tape and a hot glue gun, the stand is nice and sturdy again) and will stay up until I take it down, in part, thanks to it being anchored to the wall.

 Red Neck Engineered...and still standing

 This whole adventure gave me plenty of time to consider my feelings about the hum-drum surrounding Christmas. And I came to the conclusion that if it weren't for getting to spend it with loved ones, I wouldn't celebrate it at all. I know it sounds terrible. After my last post about my Christmas wish list, I thought about some past Christmases and realized that Christmas was special because of seeing my family and friends. (I can't lie here either, I also love cooking all day for people I love and making homemade gifts for people)...and of course when it comes to Christmas, it's not my absolute favorite. Don't get me wrong,  I like it, but not as much as I like Fourth of July.

But anyway Christmases past... Grandpa Johnny and Grandma Carolyn used to host it at their house and when Uncle John was stationed in Okinawa, we'd get up early, talk to him on the phone, all of the kids and grand kids would open presents, many were hand-made, and then we'd eat a wonderful dinner together with homemade pies. (Wow, my sentences are becoming run on sentences!!!!!!) The year that Grandpa Johnny passed away we were scattered across the countryside, trying to figure out how to recreate what could never be recreated. Today it's the same - we're all scattered from here to Afghanistan.

Christmases with Aunt Vonnie... And then of course, there is always the anticipation of Christmas morning, which is almost always more fun than the actual Christmas morning. I remember one year, when we lived with my Aunt Vonnie, that I didn't want to open my presents. It was more fun to think about what might be under that shiny wrapping paper than to open it and finally find out. (where does that show up in my life? hmmm....)

There were Christmases with my dad...which I guess when I was little, were awkward, because he didn't know how to celebrate it. He'd grown up not being allowed to celebrate because of my grandmother's religous beliefs, so when  we went to  live with him during the school year, it could have been awkward again. But this time, Christmas included my step mom and two step brothers. They had experience celebrating Christmas the right way - with holiday music, a tree cut down from our own valley, baking Christmas goodies and sledding.

The sledding was always fun - we didn't actually own sleds. We used hoods off of old International pick-up trucks. We waxed the hood and tied a rope to it and with a blanket in the bottom of it so our knees wouldn't freeze to it. We'd drag it behind the pick-up through the hills. It could fit all four of us! Imagine! Four kids in a waxed truck hood and you can imagine how fast the whole ensemble flew over the snow! One time the rope broke and we went down a long hill off the side of the road. That was a fun adventure. I know my step mom was scared to death, but I am pretty sure we asked to do it again - even after it hit some rough patches and we toppled over and crashed! The hard part was pulling it back up the hills. The best part was that in the smaller rocky areas where the plastic sleds would have buckled, we were well protected by the thick metal hood that was under us.

Then there were Christmases with my mom, which included Christmases living with my grandparents and aunt Vonnie and so on...but since that time, she's hosted all of her kids and grand kids at her house and it's been enjoyable as well. Last year Mikaela and I drove up and surprised her and spent Christmas morning up there. Mikaela loved it because Santa came to the hotel room and then she opened presents again at Nana's house (my mom). Now she asks to stay at hotels all the time! I try to tell her Santa comes to wherever you are on Christmas Eve, but she's not buying it.  

This year, I will be spending Christmas Eve day at The Nutcracker with Mischa. She'll be spending Christmas with her dad and will get to open presents at my house later in the week. 

Every year, I make her something for Christmas, in addition to her purchased gifts. Two years ago, I customized her little guitar with a fairy and butterflies (I'd have to say it was a pretty cool drawing). She pulled it out the other night and I have the cutest video of her singing and strumming! Last year, I made her a castle out of a Xerox box. It's pretty cool!

Mischa's castle was pretty cool for costing me less than $10 to make between paint, fake flowers and glue for the Styrofoam turrets.

This year, I made her a fairy skirt (I worked on it last night) with cream chiffon and flower petals inside the rousching and it's going to be really cute when I finish it. I am also making her a fairy treasure box.

 Step One: Double up material, add ribbon and use an upholstery needle to connect all of it...I was sure missing my sewing machine!
Step Two: Connect the ends  - WOW! Talk about fluffy skirt!
This is a top view of it...I still have some work to do, but it will be cool when I am done.

This year, Christmas will be different, but it will be wonderful! I have two other, very special people I plan to spend my holiday with this year. I am looking forward to dinner on Christmas Eve with Ryan. I am in the process of making one of his presents now and I am really excited about that! (but since he sometimes reads this blog, I can't say what it is, now can I?) It will be nice to make something special for someone who is special to me and know that he will appreciate it. I also have some fun ideas for gifts that will be purchased, but I can't talk about those just stay tuned for photos! On Christmas Day, I'll be spending it with one of my best friends, Belinda, and making a yummy pot roast for dinner. I am sure we will fit in a movie or two or a board game or two in there as well.

So Christmas won't be a celebration at Grandpa and Grandma's house this year, but I am sure that in 20 or so years, I'll be hosting it at my house...using the same pie crust recipes my grandma and her grandma before her used, and still making holiday gifts for the grand kids.



Ludwig Family Randomness said...

ya ya, Merry Christmas!! I love you and and am thinking of you this beautiful Holiday season. much love friend.

Adam and Shari Crawford said...

This post is one of the reasons I LOVE you. You have such great perspective..... It's true that some Christmases will be different, but it all makes it worth it when spent with family and friends. Thank you for reminding me of this, since I will spend this day far from home with a different family's traditions.... You are SO great!

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