Posts Tagged With: Christmas spirit

merry and bright

Meadowlark Gardens does a Winter Walk of Lights at Christmas time!

I bought tickets and convinced YBW to go.
Initially I thought it would be a fun outing. You know, get all bundled up and walk around the gardens we love lit up at night. A Christmasy date night with my sweetheart.

But then…
But then, I got an idea.
“Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch got a wonderful awful idea.”
(Not really an awful idea. I’m just committing to the bit.)
I decided we could shoot our Christmas card photo there!
How precious, right?
Can’t you picture it? Two cutie-cutes all bundled up against the cold – festive holiday lights – the perfect holiday vignette.
The photographer in me was all about it.
The lover of all things Christmas in me was all about it.
Turns out, YBW was all about it too. Partly because he thought it could be fun, by mostly because I was enthusiastic about it.

There was a small part of me worried that it might be lame. Concerned I’d drag my husband out in the cold and it wouldn’t be worth it.
But when we got there, I went into full on SQUEE mode!

It was absolutely magical!
I took our photo at least fifty times and narrowed it down to two perfect Christmas card shots.
Mostly I just squeed. And told YBW how much I loved it. And thanked him for coming out in the cold with me.

I was the Christmas spirit.
I was child-like wonder.
I was joy.
I was merry and bright.

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this is the Christmas of my childhood

In the process of preparing to move, I went through my little two drawer file cabinet. Wedged into the very back of a file folder was a small stack of recipes.
These recipes are older than I am.
I set these particular recipes aside, put them in a safe place.
You know how that goes…
Meanwhile, Thing 1 has patiently waited for nearly five years for me to present her with the apple butter recipe. This recipe came from the next door neighbor, and is in her handwriting.
My mom made this apple butter as long as I can remember. Thing 1 loved when her Grandmommy would make it for her when she was a little girl. I think this might be her ‘golden ticket’ recipe.

It feels serendipitous that I came across these as we were coming into this time of year.
Advent is sacred to me. This most anticipatory time of year. When we’re enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, filled with love and hope and light.
Having these recipes in my hand at this time of year is perfect because they are absolutely the Christmas of my childhood.

My grandmother added her thoughts to the recipes she wrote out, and in the upper left corner you can see the words: Good Toots Recipe!
‘Toots’ is the pet name my grandparents had for their beloved and longtime friend. Grandaddy always called her Toots, but to me, she was ‘Little Grandma’ because she was small of build.

Little Grandma made these gingerbread men every single year. They were, and remain my very favorite cookie. They always had red hots as eyes, and hard silver dragées as buttons. They snapped in the most perfect way, and had the spiciest ginger flavor.
She only made them at Christmastime.
In the years since Little Grandma’s been gone, I’ve eaten many gingerbread men. Some disappointing ones. Some damn fine ones. But none as delicious as the ones she made.

I’ve been saying to my own baking guru Thing 1, I want to make Little Grandma’s gingerbread men. This is my childhood, I say.

Then I stop for a moment and I think, this is my childhood, and realize I’m actually hesitant to bake from this recipe.
How much of my love for these cookies is directly linked to loving Little Grandma? How much of my love for these cookies is about being excited to spend time with her in her little craftsman house in Clarendon? How much of my love for these cookies is about nostalgia?
Are they actually as delicious as I remember?
Can I just go to World Market and buy some Nyakers Swedish gingerbread men and be content?
Will Thing 1 and I bake these cookies and break my heart?
Will one of the last precious things from my childhood be broken?

That’s my fear talking. My anxiety. My sadness.
I’m sad that I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about when I remember. I’m sad my sacred and precious Christmas tradition memories are foreign to my daughters, to my husband.
I’m fearful that I’ll ruin those memories by trying to recreate them.

I have to stop and breathe.
I have to be more mindful.
Perhaps it isn’t about recreating as much as it is creating something new from something sacred.
After all, Christmas is about hope.

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a very Idol Christmas

My love for Billy Idol knows no bounds.
But this video…well…it kind of makes me giggle.
Meh, who cares? It’s Christmastime, and I’m ready to Jingle Bell Rock!
Please listen responsibly.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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