Favorite Things

I noticed I have some favorite things that I do every year at Christmas. Quite a few years ago my BF gave me some iTunes money. I actually do not like iTunes. But I bought two movies with that money–Elf and The Santa Clause. That has come in very handy, because I like watching both of those movies every year. I also like The Holiday, especially the part with Jack Black and Kate Winslet. Oh, and those two little girls that are Jude Law’s kids are darling. Oh heck. I like the whole movie. So this year instead of renting it again, I just paid the $8 to own it. So now I can watch my three favorite movies every year.

My favorite Christmas book is Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems. It is poetry, but not rhyming poetry. It is just so beautiful. I love reading one or two poems from it each morning between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

My favorite Christmas song is the Hallelujah Chorus. In my opinion, this is the best quilt I have ever made. And I almost forgot, but I got it out of its cubby in the closet and hung it up in my house. I am so happy that I did that.

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Of course, there is the inevitable dog crate there with the pile of Very Important Magazines… And don’t you just love Santa with his two little dachshunds in attendance. (Thank you Shelley!)

Some years I just can’t be bothered getting all the Christmas stuff out. I started out this year with my wreath from Trader Joe’s (for that lovely piney scent) and two poinsettias from Home Depot because they were so darn cheap. I thought that might be enough for Christmas this year. But then I felt a little pressured to decorate a little more because other friends were doing it. I have a LOT of Christmas stuff.

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I started out just bringing in the little Christmas tree, and just one box of ornaments. That was just perfect.

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The santas on the wall behind the tree are cross-stitched, and were given to me by my dad’s wife.

Here are two of my oldest ornaments. The little skating girl was mine (I put my name on her butt so my sister couldn’t claim her 🙂 ) And the ornament above her we had when I was a little girl. I guess that makes them antiques!

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In the box with the tree were some of my favorite Santas. And don’t you just love that lantern shaped thing. It has a blower in it so that the sparkly stuff is always circulating!

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I also bought some of these cinnamon scented pine cones because they smelled so wonderful when I walked into the grocery store. Then my sister gave me another bag of them so I have them in three different rooms in my house!

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And this is the one thing that I for sure put out every year. My mom “made” this set when we were just little kids. I’m sure she saw it in one of those women’s magazines. Why else would she decorate Mary and Baby Jesus with velveteen and Joseph with silk? and the blue and white spun glass was from way back when too!

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This year I decided to do some baking for Christmas presents. Of course, I have to try them to make sure they taste okay. I might be returning to the sugar-free life in January!

In case I don’t write again, I hope all of you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!!

 

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A Quiet Christmas

This year I noticed I was in a pretty festive mood even before Thanksgiving. But I was working constantly on finishing a special quilt, one that I had conceived last year at Christmastime when I attended a performance of Handel’s Messiah, and I didn’t want to stop to get Christmas decorations out.

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When I finally finished the quilt, (and I did finish it in time to hang in in my church the week before Christmas,) it was raining, and I didn’t want to haul Christmas decorations from the storage shed to the house. Then I was working quickly to finish one quilt for a present for my brother’s family, and I didn’t want to take the time to put Christmas decorations up. (My brother loves the zoo, and I couldn’t resist this panel of zoo animals when I saw it at the fabric store.)

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Finally, I got a pattern to make “artful oven mitts,” and I was having so much fun making some last minute Christmas presents that I didn’t want to stop long enough to put Christmas decorations up.

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And that’s how it happened that I had a Christmas without decorations even though I was in a festive mood. Somewhere along the way, I did have an epiphany–one of the things I DON’T like about decorating for Christmas is hauling the decorations from the storage shed to the house. I now have more storage room in my house, and so sometime in the new year I am going to go through my decorations, thin them down a bit, and bring them in the house.

I did remember to order a ham from the local meat market for my own Christmas dinner. I almost forgot about the rest of the dinner, and one morning I was at the store with only about 10 minutes to spare and I suddenly remembered, what else do I want to make?! So I remembered that I love this old recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Buffet Potatoes, and  I love the jello salad I’ve made for years.

I made lightened up versions of both, and I’ll share that in a post later this week. Yummy, if I do say so myself. I only made one batch of cookies. They were the featured cookie of a well-known quilter, so I just had to try them! Quite delicious–the recipe called for fresh cranberries, but since I had a boatload of dried cranberries, that’s what I put in mine.

The girls got new beds and toys for Christmas. Bessie claimed the small round bed next to the wood stove.

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And Chloe is quite enamored of all the new toys 🙂 Sophie prefers her perch next to the wood stove. After all, the Queen must maintain a higher station than the common dogs.

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All in all, for me it was a wonderful Christmas season. I attended a wonderful church in Folsom that celebrated Advent in a special way, each Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I attended my home church for our Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve candlelight service, and again on Christmas morning, before heading to my niece’s house for a nice Christmas dinner with family. For me, this is the way to celebrate Christmas.

I hope you all had Christmas just the way you wanted it, and I wish for you all a peaceful and happy New Year!

Merry Christmas to All!

The decorating continued! I put a little tree in my bedroom!

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The bathroom got in on the act:

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I made a table runner for my little table. That snow globe is a special gift from a friend.

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My BF made this Christmas tree quilt for me years ago. Each Christmas I add a few “decorations” to it–single earrings or pins I will never wear. It is full of fun treasures that I would otherwise never enjoy.

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And to all a good night!

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