Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sweet Christmas Sentiments

Let's talk tradition.  I love it!! I love everything about it!! Growing up in a teeny tiny family, as an only kid, I can tell you that I longed for brothers and sisters and a great big family who had TV like productions on the holidays.  I wished for "a kids table" at dinner, and Aunts and Uncles in festive holiday sweaters...  but it didn't really happen so poetically.  Instead we had a mush pot of friends, family, lonely neighbors, stray acquaintances, you name it... Everyone would ultimately gather around our holiday table for dinner.  My mom would slave away in the kitchen, making Christmas favorites, along with traditional Russian recipies, and whenever I'd ask her who was coming for dinner, she'd just shrug her shoulders.  No one ever knew who was coming to dinner~ they'd just show up.

Over the years, we had some very memorable Christmas dinners.  Some were great, some were not so great, but I was always excited to see just who would show up.  Now, some twenty years later, we've adopted the "just show up" tradition to our Thanksgiving dinner.  And I love it!

My wish for Christmas tradition came true when I married into a gigantic Irish Catholic family three years ago.  It was everything I ever wanted in Christmas!  A full house with lots of kids running around, my mother-in-law wearing the festive holiday sweater, a game of touch football in the backyard... I wouldn't change a thing.  This year, our daughter Betsy Jane is 20 months old.   I cannot tell you how excited I am to share this Christmas with her.  Our favorite traditions have become her traditions now.  Here are a few of my favorites that we just can't go without...

Getting our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  I simply couldn't sleep the night before we bought our tree this year.  And Betsy thought it was absolutely hilarious that we put it on top of the car to transport it home. This year was especially great because Grammy was here from California & got to spend her birthday and Thanksgiving with her first grandbaby.

Decorating a Gingerbread house.  As you can imagine, this takes on a whole new meaning with a toddler.  I decorated and she fed her baby the tiny bags of candy. 

Buying a new ornament for our daughter (and hopefully more children in the future) each year.  This tradition was started by my husband's grandmother "Mema".  Last year, we were given all of Tom's ornaments from the time he was born until now.  We still receive a new ornament each year from his mom, and now we've started the same tradition for Betsy.

Christmas Jammies!  It wouldn't be Christmas without a new pair of pjs.  Nick and Nora had the absolute cutest pajamas this season.  Yay for Target and saving a few bucks.

Christmas gatherings, whether large or small, with friends, family or neighbors, are what you make of them.  From our house to yours... Merry Christmas!  It is the smallest things that we do for others that embrace the spirit of giving.  Inviting someone to "just show up" may be the biggest gift of all this year. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home is where the heart is.. y'all

This is our first Christmas in Houston.  Three months ago, we packed up our belongings, the dog and the cat, and headed south for the winter.  We will be in Houston until summer, when the weather warms to ridiculous temperatures and only the bravest of the brave can survive. We cannot.  But for now, we are enjoying the balmy days of December.  It's hard to believe that Christmas is just ten days away!  But here we are... wrapping gifts and explaining who Santa is to our now 20 month old daughter.  She is confused but mystified by this "Santa" that we speak of.  She's perfected those three little words.. Ho ho ho.  It's almost time little Betsy girl! 

This year, in my quest for the shatterproof, toddlerproof tree, I took to crafts table to create memorable little ornaments for friends and family.  The results were quite shabby and chic, if I may say so myself!  The best part is that Betsy gets a kick out of finding Lulu & Grammy in the Christmas tree.

Happy Holidays to all! Please stop by again soon.  This blogging thing is a bit new to me, but I've really come to enjoy reading the creative and thoughtful entries by so many wonderful writers, moms, shop owners and friends.