Christmas season with Newcomers

“It’s true. Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.— Caroline Kennedy

This month, this holiday season, these special celebrations of Christmas or Hanukkah or the beginning of Kwanzaa mean different things to different folks. Some go nuts on decorating or preparing food or hosting parties or buying gifts, or whatever, while others are much quieter in their approach to the holidays; others don’t celebrate at all. I don’t think my folks were hugely excited over Christmas celebrations; they went through the motions – my brothers and I had wonderful Christmas Days – but I don’t remember my parents being particularly excited about it all. I used to think it was because they were Depression Era kids and the memories of hard times were embedded in them; now I wonder if anything could match the cumulative excitement of five kids under the age of 12. LOL

My husband and I love decorating our house for Christmas; it’s something we do together, and I have to admit that we keep the decorations up way longer than most people do. Friends were visiting the weekend of the UT/Vanderbilt football game and it was their first visit at this time of year; the gals went around looking at various ornaments and such asking questions about them and wanting to know special stories about certain pieces. A while after they left for their homes I looked around and took the time to think again about when I bought an ornament or table decoration (and why) or why the Nativity scenes were so special to me.

I’ve thought about all the times I have hosted my family for Christmas dinners; there were those times when things have turned out beautifully AND there were huge kitchens fails. Don’t try to mash potatoes in a food processor! I remember the times two of my brothers would carry my disabled brother Phil from Mom and Dad’s car to my house and then from the family room to the sun room when it was time to open the presents. I remember a young nephew deciding he was old enough to sit at the adults’ table and having to move some stuff around to give him the seat he wanted. These special get-togethers were when my son Chris became the official carver of the turkey without having to watch that he didn’t eat half of it while he was carving. Some of the traditions started in the places we have lived are still in place in our Tennessee home, and I find that my kids and now my grand kids are expecting them each year. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our November luncheon was a wonderful event. Charlene Tilton was our guest speaker, and she was charming! She really seemed interested in the talk around our table, and she sounded like some of us when she said she had to leave at a particular time to pick up her grandson from school. Newcomers welcome Mary Anne Oglesby-Sitherly from Veranda Ministries and delivered our check in support of their work.

Our next coffee is December 8 at my house starting at 10a.m. We will be playing the secret (or dirty) Santa game so bring a gift to be able to join in the fun. If you want to donate a new toy to the Gallatin Daycare Center (our charity of the month), you can bring it with you to the coffee. Parking at my house will be a challenge; please park in our front yard if parking on the driveway isn’t feasible. Please don’t park in our neighbor’s yard (just to the right of our driveway as you look at the house). My husband will be available for parking assistance.

Please remember that our December luncheon will be held on Thursday, December 15. We will not be awarding door prizes at this event. There will be a repeat of the “Night Before Christmas Game” so please bring an ornament to be passed around during the game. You can also bring toy donations for the Gallatin Daycare Center. Everyone has been so generous with this initiative in the past, and thank you for keeping the tradition alive.

I found this quote when looking for a quote for December.

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” — Oren Arnold and then this one!

“The light of the Christmas star to you. The warmth of home and hearth to you. The cheer and goodwill of friends to you. The hope of a of a child-like heart to you. The joy of a thousand angels to you. The love of the Son and God’s peace to you.” — Sherryl Woods, An O’Brien Family Christmas

Wishing you good health, peace, and happiness in the coming New Year!