Category Archives: Christmas

Monday Modge Podge

I didn’t have the best week, but more than made up for it on Saturday when we went to the Oliver Kelly Farm to see how the holidays were celebrated on a real life working farm back in the mid-1800’s.  It was a lot of fun.  Not to mention beautiful weather at about 30 degrees.  Wish we would get more snow.  We went on an oxen-drawn wagon ride and saw a Great Blue Heron rookery.  So glad we went.  Other than that, real life settled in this week with the holidays, science projects, birthday parties and what-not.

Enjoy :)

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Monday Modge Podge

I had a variety this week, Monday to Monday.  It was 40 degrees last Wednesday with blue skies.  Today it was under 20 with a light snow falling and a dusting on the ground.  Tonight it will be single digits, and then supposed to get warm again this weekend.  Only in Minnesota. :)

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Feeling Christmas Again

Bah Humbug.

I hate Christmas.  Plain and simple.  I hate it worse than I hate sweet potatoes and green bean casserole.  I have not “felt” Christmas in a very, very, very long time.

When I was a kid I loved Christmas.  We always had an awesome Christmas.  My grandma lived with us, so we always celebrated at home.  There were always presents under the tree.  LOTS and LOTS of presents.  Sometimes they would trail out into the middle of the floor from under the tree.  One of my favorite memories was the Christmas I was 9 years old.  I got a puppy.  A poodle.  And oh how I loved that puppy until I was 19 years old and we had to put him down.  Most of the rest of the family hated him, though, LOL.

This is a pic of my sister and brother on a Christmas Eve before I was born.  Couldn’t find one of me in my mom’s stash :(

Christmas Eve at my house was a site.  I have a very large family, my mother coming from a family of 11 children.  And they had kids, and they had kids, and so on.  On Christmas Eve, they would start coming in the afternoon and the last one left around midnight.  My mother, her sisters and my grandma always baked a TON of cookies, breads and candies.  At last count before my grandma passed away at the age of 86 in 1987, she had 32 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren, and a couple of great-great grandchildren.  I think.  LOL.  Every last one of them, their spouses and kids, received a gift on Christmas Eve from my grandma.  She must’ve started shopping early!

I was never able to open presents on Christmas Eve until I was in junior high.  At that time, as with any other kid, it was all about the presents.  My grandma passed away in 1987 at the ripe old age of 86.  Very few relatives came after that on Christmas Eve.  It seems like our family “disbanded” so to speak when grandma died.  She wasn’t there to keep us all together.  I haven’t seen a lot of family members for years.  Over the years we have lost many aunts, uncles, and cousins to cancer, stroke, heart disease, or what have you.  Including my own brother at age 53 in 2005.  After Grandma died, my parents sold the house I grew up in and moved down the block.  When I was in my early 20’s, Christmas started to lose it’s fun.  My parents still managed to make Christmas big, celebrated by immediate family members and a few relatives who decided to drop by.  By then, it was all about the grandkids, as it should be.

After my parents sold the house, my mother took an early retirement.  Her health failed very fast after that.  She has CHF, COPD and has been confined to a wheel chair for many years, with my dad taking care of her.  They lost the house and moved into an apartment.  They weren’t as  financially sound as they had been, and my mother always felt bad that she couldn’t do Christmas like she did before.  By then I didn’t care, it just seemed like another day to me.  Another hassle.  When I got married and my ex couldn’t hold down a job, EVER, Christmas became a burden and I started hating it.  We had his family AND my family to buy for and the money was never there.  It became a very stressful time of year, as I know it is with many, many families.   Running here, running there, buying this, buying that.

When Baylee was born, it changed a bit because we had our own child and could start new traditions.  But it was very short-lived, as I soon became a single mom.  Needless to say, my hatred of Christmas got worse.   I struggled every year to buy her “the gift” that she wanted.  Seemed like every year it was something, as it is with all kids :)  I remember one year when she was 3, she wanted a life size Barbie.  It was $100 and there was no way I could afford that.  I had just gotten laid off and we were living with relatives.  My former co-worker friends all pitched in and “Santa” got the Barbie for Baylee.  I’ve said it before, good friends are a rare find and some days I don’t know what I would do without mine.

We finally decided a few years ago in my family that we were just going to buy for the kids.  Not each other.  That made it a bit more tolerable for me.  I still always kept a smile on my face, took Baylee to see Santa, baked with my mom, put up the decorations, but I became more and more depressed every Christmas.  There was the Christmas my great nephew was born six weeks early and came home from the hospital Christmas Eve.  That same Christmas my dad had triple bypass surgery (at the same hospital no less).  Last year was the worst.  My mother became ill 4 days before Christmas and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital where she almost died.  She was released from the hospital two days after Christmas.  It was rough, but I tried to make the most of it for Baylee’s and my dad’s sake.  Have I mentioned I hate Christmas?

Until now.

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, “I got a Feeling”, as the song says :)    I am getting into decorating, making lists, already started baking.    I bought a new tree after the cat broke our old one last year.  We decided on a 3-footer.  Now that we have it up, I hate it! I want my big tree back.  What is this little tree in my house?  I don’t want it.  It’ll do for this year, but we will be on the hunt for a new tree after Christmas again :)  I find myself looking in the paper for deals, finding holiday things for her and I to do, make, see, etc.  I don’t know if I am making up for lost time or what.  I spent last night driving around town taking pics of my wonderful little town lit up at Christmas.  In an SUV with no heat.  It was 20 degrees.  But I loved it.  I would’ve continued, but I heard “Can we go home now, I’m freezing MOM” LOL.

My mom, Baylee and I spent a day last weekend baking Spritz and cut out cookies.  I have not made either in years.  We had a great time, and Baylee even commented on how much fun she had with grandma frosting the cookies.  I know that will be a precious memory of hers for years to come, epecially when my mother is gone.  Just as I have precious memories of my own grandma doing the same exact thing.   I wish I had taken photos of Grandma and Baylee, but my mom is camera-shy.  I did take a picture of the cut-outs and posted it on Facebook.  A couple of my cousins commented on what fond memories they had as a child coming to my house and visiting on Christmas Eve.  That warmed my heart.  Because I have the same fond memories.

I thought for sure after the year that I have had, that this Christmas would be even more depressing, but for some reason, I have Christmas spirit again.  Is it my newfound passion for photography that is changing my mind?  My search for spirituality?  I have no clue.  I have made plans for us to go to an old 1800’s working farm to see how the pioneers fared over the holidays, Breakfast with Santa, and maybe, just maybe, we will be going downtown on the train for some shopping and the evening Holidazzle parade.  I am scaring even myself.  I can imagine what Baylee is thinking.  “Who are you and what have you done with my mother?”  She knows how I hate Christmas.

Maybe it is that I am finally finding out what Christmas is all about.  It’s not about the money, commercialism, shopping, etc.  It is about giving, family, love and being together.  And of course Jesus, which is another blog entirely.  The two Christmases I spoke about earlier I have come to realize were Christmas miracles.  My great nephew Cooper was born 6 weeks early, but he was definitely an early Christmas present to his parents, my dad’s bypass was a success and he is doing well today at age 80.  And my mom pulled through her episode last year and we celebrated Christmas a couple days late.

I’m still broke, I’m always late with my bills, I have no heat in my truck, I got in a fender bender last week, I had a flat tire on Monday and I still have some crap going on in my personal life.  But the way I see it is that I have a roof over my head, food on the table, I have a vehicle that gets me to a job that I am thankful for during these stressful economic times.  And I have my camera.  I have found peace in photography.  I am at peace more now than I have been in years.

I am very blessed to have family and friends who care about and support me.  Without them, I wouldn’t be me, and I thank God for them every day.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”, my favorite all-time Christmas movie.  Clarence was right.

Remember, George, no man is a failure who has friends” (Mark Twain)