Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category
This is not the post I planned for today. I originally wanted to write something funny about one of my favorite holiday films, Christmas In Connecticut, or poke fun at myself for crying over Christmas carols, like Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home).”
Today, though, I have a need to write a long post (my apologies) about a very different Christmas in Connecticut, a very different Christmas in America — and the idea that I, and I think most of us, cannot stop crying — with or without Christmas carols. For me, the overwhelming sadness is just below the skin. It doesn’t take much — the news, a moment of silence, an overheard conversation — to unleash a flood of tears.
Miracle. It’s one of those words that’s often tossed about, especially at this time of year. Just Google the phrase “Christmas miracle” and see what comes up — miracles, it seems, are no longer just on 34th Street. They are, in fact, everywhere — and on this particular day, they make up a large part of my life.
Today, is my 15th birthday. Geez, it was only a few days ago I was 12 — or, rather, being an uncle and having to purchase a Christmas gift for my 12-year-old niece.
Never mind, though — today I am celebrating the miracle of being 15.
December 12, 1997, was like many of those Long Island winter days — not sure if it wanted to be cold enough to snow or warm enough to rain. The result was a gray, damp, slushy mix that left a coating of black ice on the pavement — and this was my commute home.
It’s official. I’m old.
Although 50 is around the corner; although I wince each time I hear ‘80s music on an oldies-but-goodies radio station; and although the sunlight reflecting off of the grays and silvers in my hair causes a halo effect — I never considered myself old.
Until I went to the mall to shop for some Christmas gifts for my 12-year-old niece.
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and that can only mean one thing. My PHSD is about to kick in.
Post-Holiday Stress Disorder, or PHSD, is the only way I can describe what happens to me once turkey day is done — and in less than a week, it’s about to come on full force.
Just the other night, while Joe and I were shopping in a local home improvement box store, I heard tinny, computerized notes weaving their way through the store’s general noise. The song sounded familiar, and as soon as I realized it was a Christmas carol, my head ached, my stomach knotted, and my chest tightened. Goodbye November and December, and hello PHSD.
Like a good postcard, this one is arriving to you after I made it home. Joe and I spent the past week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where we plan to retire in the near future. We purchased a small home there almost 20 years ago. In fact, we made one payment and a low pressure system became Hurricane Andrew. We also removed all of the shade trees and replaced them with palms. Since then, the house has been rented and we return several times a year to do yard work. Yard work? That’s a vacation? For us – and probably for most gardeners who have little patience for winter’s dreariness – this is a vacation: the chance to feel the sun, to play in the dirt, and to see all shades of green.
There was some extra fun this time in Florida since I had the chance to play with my Christmas gift, a Canon SX40HS digital camera. Armed with my new toy, I found every excuse under the Florida sun to snap some garden and vacation photos. Would you expect anything different from a boy and his new gadget?
Traditions are a huge part of Christmas. To mangle a line from The New York Sun, how dreary would be Christmas if there were no traditions. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. For me, traditions come in many shapes and sizes – from Christmas trees to antique ornaments to home-made cookies. Growing up, holiday baking was a family activity – Mom made the dough, Dad squeezed it out of the cookie press, my sister and I were in charge of the red and green colored sugars. Butter cookies were shaped like trees; cream cheese cookies, my favorite, were shaped like wreaths.
With age and lack of time, many traditions either fall by the wayside or become chores that compete with day-to-day life. It seems with each passing year, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the spirit of the season.
And it’s when I feel myself slipping into that frame of mind that I return to two of my personal favorite traditions. Continue reading »
How are things where you are? I know it’s been a while since I last wrote to you, but I have run out of options and I am turning to you and your elves to make this little gardener’s Christmas wish list become a reality.
I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to keep up with your reading, but a few posts ago, I wrote about the lack of G on HGTV. Far be it from me to tell you how to do your job, but you may want to consider a stocking full of coal for the network’s naughty executives. They have not been kind to the gardening population — and, in fact, they have not responded to my letter requesting more G shows.
But if you would like to avoid coal, might I suggest sprinkling them with some inspiring Christmas magic so they may wake on Christmas morning like a renewed Ebenezer Scrooge? To help you, here are a few ideas for gardening shows that I, for one, would love to watch on a snowy winter morning.
Part of the blogging experience is visiting other blogs – for advice, for ideas, and in the case of this post, for inspiration. I recently visited Visionary Gleam, where Jim Lewis posted “O Tanenbox, O Tanenbox,” a humorous and poignant look at his family’s Christmas tree tradition and the story of the ornaments.
I am a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to this most wonderful time of year, a fact that seems to worsen as I age. Jim’s well-written post, however, has left me thinking. A lot.
No matter how cynical I have become, the Christmas tree has always remained my favorite part of the holiday. Now, as I drive around town and peek into the windows of my neighbors and see their decorated trees, I wonder about their stories – and I reflect on the ghosts of my own Christmas trees past – long past and recent past.
There’s a handwritten sentence in the baby book my mother started for me when I was first born. There, in her cursive writing, is a brief sentence about the moment when the love affair began: “2 1/2 years old . Really knows what it’s all about . . . He says the tree has meatballs and a star.”