Monday, December 20, 2010

What Defines Christmas to You

Just thinking. And wondering. From tonight until Christmas, I'm going to be focusing on the beauty of Christmas. I want to try and do things that mean Christmas to me. But what? What really defines Christmas to me. I'm being brutally honest here. These are the things that bring me joy and make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. Hmmmm. As my lists always are, in no particular order.

1. Listening to Christmas carols. I love the old, old ones. I like to listen to the ones that were popular in the '40, '50s and '60s. I try to imagine what Christmas was like back then.

2. Watching Christmas TV shows and movies. I love Christmas television shows. And once again, I like the old ones. Betwitched, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Andy Griffith, The Brady Bunch (now there's a classic), Good Times, All in the Family. Well, you get the picture. And we've watched National Lampoon Christmas Vacation at least twice all the way through. We play it in pieces the entire Christmas season. Charlie Brown's Christmas is my most favorite. Next on my schedule is It's a Wonderful Life. I'm hoping my DVR is going to catch all the old sitcoms that will be on.

3. Snow globes. I will post a picture soon of my Christmas snow globes that I've been collecting since Jeff and I were married. I don't know how many I have. I've never thought to count. I love each and every one of them and they are my favorite Christmas decoration. My great-grandmother had one of the little blue plastic ones and I remember shaking it and watching the flakes inside. I couldn't have been more than about 5 or 6. You might say I've liked them awhile. For the next few days, I think I'll wind a few up and watch the snowflakes fall.

4. My MaMa Kimball's Not Like a Fruitcake Fruitcake. I made it again this year. It seemed dry at first, but I reached in my bag of tips and remembered that MaMa always put an apple slice or two with hers and it stayed moist and wonderful. This isn't your average, dried out, crumbly, full-of-who-knows-what. No, this is one that has 8 cups of pecans. Oh, yeah, it's divine. I'm blowing my diet from now until Christmas. MaMa Kimball's Not Like a Fruitcake Fruitcake comes but once a year. I'm eating it. I'll just have to spin that much harder in January.

5. And coincidentally, this one came last. Maybe it's because it's the one I'm focusing on the most. This year I'm going to really soak Christmas in. I'm going to enjoy every single second that I spend with every single person that I'm with this holiday. I'm going to make pictures to remember with, both on my camera and in my heart. I'm going to celebrate the birth of my Lord. I'm going to enjoy the smiles and expressions on my sweet boys. They'll always be boys, to me. I'm going to sleep with my Christmas snowflakes lighting my bedroom so beautifully. I'm going to enjoy the chaos that is Christmas Eve with my precious nephews, niece and my sweet sisters! I'm going to be thankful for what I have. I'm going to pray for others. The people that I know and people that I don't. There are children hurting and there are grown-ups hurting. I'm going to remember them all.

What about you? What's defines Christmas to you?

Till next time. Live. Love. Laugh. And do it with all your heart!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Working, Shopping, Wrapping & Baking

Do you ever wonder how in the world you get it all done? Today I've worked. I shopped. I wrapped. And now I'm baking.

And the funny thing about this is that I DON'T LIKE TO COOK! It's taken me a little while to publicly admit that I just don't like cooking. It's not natural. It's not womanly. It's not maternal.
I'm making Pioneer Woman's Christmas Rum Cake. I had not quite half a cup of rum. I needed more. So I just poured the rum that I did have in an ice cold glass of Diet Coke. Wow. It was so good. Even after the Diet Coke and rum, guess what? I still don't like to cook.
I'm also making a big pasta salad to take to our South Georgia Christmas tomorrow. We're gathering at my cousin Rick and his wife, Jackie's house. They live in Alpharetta, which is about an hour away. Even before I started to drink the rum, I had mishap after mishap in the kitchen. For example:
1. Spilled an entire, FULL CUP OF CHOPPED NUTS. (Yes, Bandit was quite happy.) Maybe that was what caused her to poop in the house. (Yes, I was SO NOT HAPPY!)
2. Burned my fingers on the pan with the boiling water and pasta.
3. Dropped half the noodles down the drain after burning my fingers on the pan with the boiling water and pasta.
4. Thought I bought olives with no pits. Bit into one. Guess what? Picked up the wrong jar.
5. Removed the pits from exactly 12 olives. Didn't take me long to decide that a machine needs to do that job. This pasta salad will have 12 olives only.
Those things have happened and I have not yet mixed up my cake yet. Jeff had to stop on his way home from work and get me some more rum. I may have to have another Diet Coke to make it through the rest of this cooking project.
Hope y'all are getting all of your Christmas chores done, and that you're enjoying every minute of it. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Till next time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lifesaver Storybook

Around here tomorrow is the last day of school before the Christmas holidays begin. I've been reminiscing tonight about what that last day was like when I was a little girl.

We always had big class parties. We had a room mom who would bring refreshments for us. I don't remember making very many Christmas ornaments or crafts, but there is one craft in particular that I made that my mom and dad still have. I don't even remember making it really. It was a baby food jar, filled with water -- I guess it was water, but it's still crystal
clear -- and it had plastic holly inside. I always loved it when she brought out that jar.

I also remember these.

My friends and I would exchange gifts. I'm sure you know how that goes. Some girls would start telling you in November that they were going to give you a gift, so naturally, you would make sure to get them something. Sometimes they gave you something; sometimes not. But that didn't matter. My mom always bought several of those Lifesaver books for me to give my friends. And usually a friend gave me a Lifesaver book, too.

Sometimes we would leave our house after school and head to south Georgia to celebrate Christmas with my grandparents and my uncles in Twin City. It was a three-hour drive and I can remember sitting in the backseat of the car with my sisters looking at the wonderful little gifts we had gotten at school that day. The thing I remember the most is those Lifesaver books. And the occasional LipSmacker.

Santa brings my boys a Lifesaver book each and every year. I don't know if they like them or not, but nevertheless, they get one. Sometimes I curse Santa for bringing them because the silver wrappers are everywhere, but Santa knows what he's doing. He knows that one day my boys may remember, with the same fond memory as I, the Lifesaver Sweet Storybook.

Till next time. Be a blessing to someone this holiday season. You don't have to look far to find someone who needs one. Maybe you can share a Lifesaver Storybook.