Family and friends who have known me for a long time know how much I love Christmas. Young children in both my Florida and South Carolina neighborhoods referred to my home as the "Christmas House." They frequently would stop by to check out the decorations (inside and out) with barely controlled excitement.
Those who attended my Kids Candy Day threw that control right
out the window. Picture a group of kids (and me) stirring up a bundle of holiday delights in my kitchen with flour and sugar flying, icing dripping, melted chocolate being divided (not always evenly) between chocolate molds and little mouths, and laughter and smiles. So much laughter. So many smiles.
Those children are all adults now and have scattered to various colleges and professions but a couple of them still stop by for Christmas fun in the kitchen. There may not be as much flying four and sugar but smiles and laughter...and hugs...are still in abundance.
I've been having a little trouble getting into the mood for Christmas baking and candy making this year. The past four months have been difficult. I've lost two friends and my brother, Jim. All unexpected. It's been hard to find my Christmas joy but in the past week that's begun to change. It started last Sunday with a rare pre-Christmas snowfall here in North Carolina. I went to bed Saturday night surrounded by green and awoke Sunday morning to a winter wonderland. I couldn't help but think it was a message from Jim, a reminder of growing up in Michigan and all our wonderful memories of playing in the snow as kids. Even as an adult, he always got excited over the first snowfall, Face-timing me so I could enjoy that excitement with him. He also loved to cook and bake and was my generation's keeper of our grandmother's delicious fudge recipe. Our snowfall made me think of the hours he happily spent in the kitchen making that fudge and, more importantly, the joy he received by giving it all away...to the mail carrier, the women in the apartment complex office, his favorite cashier at Walmart. He loved making people smile. He loved making his big sister smile.
Slowly, over this past week, my spirit has been lifting. I'm starting to read some Christmas romances (more on those later), I've been playing Christmas music, I'm making chocolates and other goodies to bring smiles to others this holiday season. I had a "chat" with my brother and told him his Heavenly message had been received.
And, just now, as I'm typing this, I received a text from one of those grown-up children I talked about earlier. She wanted me to know she and her boyfriend are home from grad school and ready for "Elf Duty" if I need any help in the kitchen. They're coming over this afternoon.
The spirit of Christmas is re-awakening in my heart and though I will always miss those who no longer dwell with us here on Earth, I have no doubt they are smiling down upon me from Heaven.
What gets you into the spirit of the holidays?
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Getting out the decorations and putting up our tree with my granddaughter and making our annual Christmas cookies.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a fun time!Delete
Christmas music - specifically - Christmas Carols from Kings College and Merry Christmas Frohe Weihnachten - the Vienna Boys Choir. When I listen to those 2 CD's I am reminded of the Beauty of Christmas.ReplyDelete
I understand about the difficulty you are facing this year - me too. In my family there have been 2 of my relatives who face a cancer diagnosis. I have lost several friends recently and I feel absolutely as though no one should be celebrating right now.
But, when I think about it, the reason for the season is a reminder of joy and the birth of the Baby Jesus is a reminder of my faith. There are things which are different this year. There are things which I will not be doing this year because I cannot get that old feeling. But, I am working on it.
Please know that I am saying a prayer for you.
Christmas music and The Hallmark Channel. We totally downsized when we moved so no more big trees. We have a small one that I decorate. Kids live in other states so I do the baking. When you said fudge, I thought it is time to make some to give away. I have my cookies baked so that if our great nieces and nephews come by, the cookie jars are filled. The are shaped like old ornaments. One is red with white snowflakes and the other is white with curly q's.ReplyDelete
Take the time you need PJ. I know I didn't celebrate Christmas the year my Dad died. It was at Thanksgiving and I just couldn't. Sending hugs and prayers.
I'm having trouble getting in the mood too. But I've been watching a lot of Christmas movies on Hallmark, Lifetime & a few other channels. I've done a bit of gift shopping (we're doing a small group this year - we see the larger family every other year). So perhaps by the time Christmas gets here I'll be more in the mood.ReplyDelete
Sometimes it's music, sometimes it's putting up the tree, sometimes it's the changing of the weather temps (hopefully...you never know in Alabama), and sometimes it's just the contagiousness of being around others who are caught up in the spirit.ReplyDelete
PJ, I'm glad to hear you are beginning to feel more in the spirit. I lost a dear friend three years ago just before Thanksgiving and it took me quite awhile to begin to feel "normal" again. Wishing you a peaceful, hopeful holiday season.
Watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music always gets me in the spirit.ReplyDelete
Putting up the tree with my daughter and getting her wishlist.ReplyDelete
A book written with a Christmas setting or a Christmas movie usually help me on my way. Funnily enough, many of both can show main characters who are not feeling the happiness of the season. Reading/watching them find their way to more uplifted spirits, in and toward the holiday season, can help spur my Christmas cheer, too.ReplyDelete
I never attempted to wield the magic of Christmas candy making but I can certainly see why you would have had many volunteer elves for it. Mostly, we have long cookie baking sessions but this year I will attempt a stollen moment. Well, admittedly, it will take considerably longer than a moment what with the risings and all. But the eating of a slice...
This has been a difficult year for a lot people, me included. Watching Christmas movies on Hallmark has helped a little as has doing some baking. Sending you virtual hugs PJ and hope the spirit finds you and moves you.ReplyDelete
I decorate at a local hospital on Black Friday.ReplyDelete
Knowing my grandchildren are coming and cooking all their favorites!ReplyDelete
Are comments moderated? I don't see my last post.ReplyDelete
Okay I guess I need a redo lol.ReplyDelete
My one and only grandchild who is 15 months old. I can't wait for Christmas Day (we got him one of those battery operated cars in red, his favorite color). There's nothing like seeing things through a child's eyes. Happy Holidays, everyone.
I don't decorate much any more since I hurt my back three years ago. It's only my husband and me because we always have Christmas at one of our daughter's. I do however, love to sho p. Going in the stores with Christmas music playing, the crowds of people, the holiday spirit. I also spend a day baking with my daughters and we have a couple of teenagers join us. They call me grandma and have been with us since they were 7 or 8. It's the one Christmas event they refuse to miss and we all have so much fine. We each take a ton of cookies home and usually prepare others for co-workers and special friends of the family. My husband is out taste tester!ReplyDelete
When I think of the little ones who will visit I am uplifted and feel happy and look forward to this holiday. Preparing meals, and goodies keeps me busy and giving gifts cheers me up.ReplyDelete
I know that I feel better when I create unique gifts from the heart to special friends and family who appreciate the time and effort. I am enjoying this work which isn't real work and I realize that giving to others is really what I enjoy the most. The children and adults are always surprised and that is what I love seeing. Smiles and joy.ReplyDelete
Since we moved 5 years ago to be near the grandkids, my husband is ready to decorate the minute the turkey and dressing are eaten! In our old home, he hardly raised a finger, honestly. Now, he is the Clark Griswold of our immediate neighborhood and he builds/makes a lot of our outside decor. So he gets me in the mood. And seeing the looks on the grandkids' faces is totally worth all that work.ReplyDelete
Being with the children always gets me in the holiday spirit. We also work with several veterans group. One of the things we do is deliver cards to National Guard Units, Reserve Units, Deployed troops, and veterans in nursing homes and the local VA hospital for the Red Cross with the Holiday Mail For Heroes Program in our region which covers 13 counties. We enjoy visiting veterans during the holidays and at other times throughout the year.ReplyDelete
We have been too busy to do any decorating yet this year. We live over the border of NC in TN and also got hit with the snow. It was lovely, but put us behind on several projects. My husband and I sat around and read which we haven't been able to do in ages. Hopefully next week we can catch up and do some decorating. When the family shows up for Christmas, the decorations won't matter as much as just having them around.
I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2019.
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I know the feeling, PJ! My daughter has been visiting and helping us decorate and get in the spirit. My husband and I can't wait for New Year's Eve. We really need to kick 2018 to the curb!ReplyDelete
This post makes my heart so happy! How wonderful that the Christmas spirit has found you! I'm am very sorry for the people that you are missing, but so glad that you have been moved to remember the joy of the season. Enjoy your time with your elves today :-)ReplyDelete
Sending sincere sympathy for your losses! But please don't sent any books, I am drowning in books!ReplyDelete
I forgot to mention that I bake goodies for family, friends and those who provide services to us.ReplyDelete
I love Christmas and usually put up tons of stuff. However, this year we're not putting anything up as we're getting our kitchen and floor remodeled right after Christmas. Your choccies look really scrumptious.ReplyDelete
Every year my grandkids and their parents get together for a cooking making day. We did it already and have a lot of fun.ReplyDelete