Friday, November 24, 2006
THE MAGIC OF THE HOLIDAYS!
Since I was a little girl, I have anticipated the holiday season all year long! I remember in June of the year I was seven, counting the days until Christmas! I grew up with so many magical holiday traditions. We always went to see Santa in the downtown window of Frederick and Nelson department store. Afterwards, we had frango ice cream with real silver spoons and beautiful white cloth napkins in their beautiful dining room. It smelled of real pine boughs and had a red Christmas carpet, put out just for that season. My Mom and I saw the Nutcracker Ballet every year, and I never tired of seeing the gorgeous ballerinas and the snow fall on the stage. The music of the Nutcracker filled our home for weeks before we went so we'd be in just the right mood! My Dad, Mom and I went to the same Christmas tree lot every year and spent lots of time and conversation on picking the perfect tree. I remember the fresh smell of pine after my Dad sawed off a fresh piece of the bottom of the tree so the water could be easily absorbed up into the branches. It was my job to crawl like a soldier under the branches to keep fresh water in the container. My Dad played Santa every year to help raise money for Children's Orthopedic Hospital, so we took him in our car to neighboring houses (like the Nordstroms :)) and got a sizeable donation for the kids at the hospital. Mom and I drilled Dad on the reindeer and their names so there would be no slip ups. We always watched the movie White Christmas and since there were no DVDs, we had to wait until it was on tv! I knew all the songs by heart and thought Rosemary Clooney (George's aunt) was the most beautiful woman! In my home growing up, the holiday season started before Thanksgiving and went through the New Year. The focus was always on two things- embracing the magic and joy of life and giving to others. Those holiday memories float in magically each year as Thanksgiving approaches.
Years later, I find that I LOVE reviving old traditions and creating my own new holiday traditions and memories. Long before Thanksgiving, I start to string small, delicate white Christmas lights from the myriad of tree branches in our yard! At night, we look like a fairyland :) Weeks before Christmas, I get paperwhite and amaryllis bulbs and plant them with the grandkids. They each are growing their own plants (secret gifts for their parents) in our sunroom. This year Emma is growing a pink amaryllis and Jacob's is red! The smell of flowers is delicious in there! Other fun and meaningful traditions with grandchildren include getting turkeys for the food bank and decorating ornaments for their Christmas trees. In the early fall, I count the weeks until the Nutcracker ballet tickets go on sale (usually in mid September) and anticipate where we'll eat lunch and what fun Christmas outfit I'll wear. This year I'm going with Emma and Jessi..and I can hardly wait! I love putting out our Nativity and telling the story of Christmas..that the real reason for the season is that it is the birthday of Jesus! I love that Amy and her family make a birthday cake for Jesus! I draw my own Christmas card most years and love working on it for weeks to get it just right! In my prayer time I ask God to help me appreciate all that I've been given and to help me see life through the eyes of a child..that same little girl who sat on Santa's knee so many Christmas years ago. And Christmas now, as then, is still about loving the magic of life, celebrating God's gift of His Son, and giving to others! May God bless each of you and may you relish this wonderful time of year and each of your traditions! Love, Linda
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