Have you ever seen It’s a Wonderful Life ? If you haven’t you must take time and see Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in this classic that plays every holiday season. I have both the color and black white dvd versions and watch both, depending on my mood. It’s an inspirational movie, a simple story of George Bailey who had an itch to leave his hometown of Bedford Falls but fate had other plans for him.
Its greatest lesson is realizing that you inspire and affect people around you and without you, their life could be quite different in a negative way. It certainly puts my life in focus, that regardless of my life’s problems ,it truly is a wonderful life! Every time I watch this flick, it gently reminds me that I’m truly grateful for all the experiences of my life! It hasn’t always been easy, but God doesn’t promise that. But he does pledge that he will carry you through. Every single day is a gift and with the faith as small as a mustard seed you can steamroll through.
Tonight by the colored lights of my tree and blazing fire I watched. I still choke up during the bridge scene towards the end when George says, “ Dear God, I want to live again. Please let me live again.” Then it starts magically snowing. I smiled as his family and friends gathered around to help when he was in trouble. Mostly I thanked God for this life and everyone special in it who has enhanced it. I am grateful for this movie and how it makes me feel. Thanks, Frank Capra.
What is it about getting older that brings nostalgic thoughts and dream reenactments of childhood holidays? I think this happens to most of us as we age…when we truly realize how special family is and the holidays with them surrounding you. There are some Christmas traditions that mean even more to me as seasons come and go.
Every family has the tradition of special foods that are prepared once a year. My mom made spicy gingerbread men every year. Mom poked holes at the top to string ribbon through. We ate some and hung the others on our Christmas tree. Most Christmas mornings my mom made Bisquick Jam coffee cake.
Tom’s Mom’s Traditions
There was always a clementine nestled in the stocking toe with little boxes of cereal that the four children would eat for breakfast. They would open their stockings early around 4, discovering their new treasures. Meanwhile their mom and dad slept.
The Sears Roebuck catalog was the wish list and each child picked out one gift they wanted and they always got that one special gift. Tom received a bike when he was 8 or 9. One year the girls got ice skates.
Their father plowed snow and one year he was out all day working and they waited for him to come home to open the presents. I’m sure it was even sweeter that year because the children had to wait, but it was worth it to share with their dad.
Tom and his cousin Kenny
My Christmas Traditions
Growing up our family had a tradition of opening one small gift on Christmas Eve. I wanted us to continue the fun and so our boys always had one or two presents to open on Christmas Eve. Usually there was new pajamas and an ornament for the tree. It was fun shopping for unique ones that represented the year. One year I bought a little snowboarder for Dylan when he was snowboarding on our hill. Branden got a cinnamon smelling cat as he loved our cats.
As I wrap up this post I want to thank you all for staying with me and investing your time to catch a glimpse of my life. Many of you have become my friends and I’m thankful for the connections we have made across the country and the world. Things are getting quite busy here with finishing shopping, cooking and baking and wrapping for Christmas. I will not post again until Christmas or after. I wish you all a Merry Christmas with your loved ones and friends.
Most families have hilarious Christmas memories that are retold every year. Some of these antics are captured in photos and others live in the depths of memory, ready to be shared with family and friends. I want to share my crazy and not so crazy Christmas memories with you all.
My sister and I were probably 12 and 8 and it was the eighties. We had a habit of taking out the presents under the tree and inspecting and even counting how many they were. I know…this is obnoxious but it was innocent kids’ play. One night while everyone else was asleep, Barb and I started our present pile up. The tv blared HBO and Timothy Hutton in TAPS played. We laughed. We piled. Suddenly our Christmas tree swayed and shimmied, toppling over in a loud crash! Right on top of all the presents! We tried to get the tree back in its stand to no avail.
Finally I decided that we had to wake up mom or dad to help us. Oh boy, was my dad mad and cussed in his bed at us! It’s funny that I don’t remember if he got up to help or if he fixed it in the morning. I do know that our present piling came to an drastic halt that night!
While rehashing crazy holiday moments I have to share this one. My mom, sister Barb and I were coming home from Christmas shopping. It was a snowy day with accumulations with few snow plows in the area. We gleefully sang Christmas songs in the spirit of the season. Suddenly our car hit a patch of ice and our car spun in a 360 and hit a telephone pole. It’s humorous looking back because we were so joyful and singing and such a freak accident was so unexpected! Thank goodness we were all okay but the car was dented a bit.
Another memory was when I threw away one one of my Christmas records as a teenager! The 33 must have gotten mixed up in the clutter of wrapping paper and it was never recovered! It was a valuable lesson learned! Always keep organized when unwrapping presents and keep the bags of wrap handy in case something ends up missing.
Every Christmas my sister and I tried to wake up our sleeping older brothers to get up for the tree. No matter what they always kept sleeping! What a lasting memory of impatience on exciting Christmas morning! Then there were a few early mornings our dad made us have breakfast first before opening presents. Looking back I’m grateful he did this, a little family time over a festive breakfast is a blessing.
There is that Christmas Eve I heard jostling around and thumping around our fireplace. Being a curious child, I couldn’t help but try to catch the big man in the act! I gingerly snuck out of bed. Opening the door ever so softly, I peeked out to discover my dad filling the stockings. At eight years old I knew the truth…the magic was over but it was kind of humorous seeing him in action.
Around the hectic but thrilling Thanksgiving season I started noticing my pets’ anxiety heighten. The holidays are usually a season of rush and stress for humans but do you know that this rubs off on your precious pets? I’m thinking of ways to alleviate that strain for your fur babies.
Try to keep your daily rituals with feeding and snuggling the same
Make sure your pets are eating healthy and drinking plenty of fresh water. Don’t give chocolate or sweets to them as they can be toxic.
Have quiet moments throughout the week without company, loud music or television so the fur babies can rest.
Provide play toys for cats and chew toys for dogs to entertain them
If you have sleepover guests, make sure your pets have their same sleeping spot
Keep poinsettias away from pets. Poinsettias are said to be toxic to your pets. If leaves are ingested, it could induce vomiting or drooling. That’s enough for me to not have the plants around.
Remember that during the stressful rush of the holidays your pets are stressed too. Try to keep their life as normal as possible. Nuture and love them too!
If you read my blog posts often you may already know that my family has an annual cookie day. I enjoy hosting my mom, my sister Barb and my niece and goddaughter Ella Kate. Everyone brings a chosen cookie dough, their special cookie cutters and extra cookie pans to work with. Anything goes…most years Barb brings old picture albums for us to peruse. Ella Kate brought paper angels to decorate and lovingly put one on my Christmas tree. We bake, reminisce of past Christmas memories, listen to angelic Christmas songs and drink cocktails. This year we drank mimosas and last year it was homemade egg nog. I get out my special Christmas wine glasses for our drinks.
This year my mom made gingerbread men with her granddaughter decorating them with her. Barb brought sugar cookie dough while I made chocolate and peppermint kiss thumbprints.
Although Ella Kate had a little cold and was tired, I think she enjoyed herself. I asked her to check my advent calendar and get out December 8th and hang it on the little tree. She liked that and found my snuggly bear my mom made me years ago.
All in all the day was happy and joyous! I wish for us to continue every Christmas with love. I wish you, my friends, much happiness with your holiday traditions. Old and new traditions are moments to cherish!