Putting Away Christmas

essay, non-fiction 4 Comments »

red bowWhat’s with those of who hesitate, drag our feet, nearly refuse to “put away” Christmas?

I’m a member of this group.  And as I drove up to the store last night, I saw several homes remaining in ornamental light mode.  Some with just a tree or two in the yard lit, others “loudly” announcing Christmas with nativity scenes, Santa, reindeer, snowmen.  We don’t want the holiday feeling to go away.

My Christmas tree still holds all of its regalia in its branches.  A couple of days ago a friend let me know that she had just “unplugged” the lights on her tree ~ a start, she said.  Promptly, I walked into my dining room and took down the wreath.  I put away a wintry holiday snow globe yesterday.  Today I will begin to box up the ornaments. This got me to thinking that “dedecorating” might feel better as a process for people like us.

When most of us decorate, we set aside one day and transform our homes with not only nativity scenes, the tree, and endless stands of lights, but also with wreathes, mistletoe, garland, red ribbons, candles and gingerbread houses.  Within a matter of hours our homes change into our own personal magical kingdoms.  The air is different, the energy dances, sweet smells waft from our kitchens and smiles grow broader across our faces.

Of course if we leave up all the décor year round, then we would get used to it and the “magic” would fade.  But what if we systematically took down the decorations a little bit at a time so as to reacclimate into non holiday mode?  Well, I’ll keep you posted, because that is what we are doing this year.  The family has decided to do a little putting away each day instead of seeing the dramatic stark disappearance of the season.

The question remains though: How do we stay living in the season throughout the year?  Hark! I think the herald angels continue to sing.  Don’t store away your kindness, your sense of giving, love and gratitude with the décor in plastic tubs until next year.  I do, and have for the past several years left white lights (year round) outlining the large front window in my house~happy lights~happy reminder.


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New Year’s Eve is Like Every Other Night

essay, non-fiction 1 Comment »

2010New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

With great gratitude to all my friends and family for being part of my life this year, years before and years to come ~ for each one of you have brought me gifts that without, I would not be who I am.

Let this be the year that marks the beginning of real peace. Begin at home, then to take it to your neighbors and friends ~ if each us does this all the circles will overlap and we will see change in 2010 ~ every day is a holiday; every day is a new start. Get out of bed in the morning and greet the world with hope, love and peace ~ and every night be grateful for all that you have ~ and the hours in between learn to forgive ~ it is a double gift.

Happy New Year ~ love, nannette

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It’s a Wonderful Life

essay 31 Comments »

Dec 23 09 006If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

The journey of the holidays, the season of love, the start of a new year, the path of life is now. No matter what your particular tradition is, the energy is undeniable. If you are wrapping gifts, preparing a meal, building a fire, playing a game with your children, holding your partner’s hand, remember to open your heart and prepare to give and receive. As Yoda says, “Do or do not… there is no try.” Choose to do. These are the things of which memories are made. Make the memories good ones.

Pay attention to each precious moment, love all who come your way, live with purpose. Remember you are sacred and unique~ just as when Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, wishes he’d never born and Clarence the Angel grants him his wish, everything changes. Each moment is extraordinary. Savor these small increments of your wonderful life. Without you in the mix, nothing remains the same.

Remember, you are always on the journey of the holidays, the season of love, the path of life. It is always now ~Live in the season~

I am grateful for my followers on twitter, my friends on facebook, and all my family & friends.

Love & peace, nannette

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Ditto ~ Save on Electricty this Holiday Season

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dec 10 09 001

Took this in Kansas City last week! Nearly had a car accident stopping to take this one ~

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Ode to the Family Ugly

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Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world~Susan Lieberman

2009 ~ With so many of us financially strapped and the holidays upon us, maybe it’s time to start a new family tradition.  This won’t cost you a thing, but will provide lots of smiles, laughter and memories.

About twenty years ago one of my brothers, Ben, was about to have a garage sale, when my parents asked if they could give him a few things to include in his sale. “You can keep any money you make. You’re doing us a favor by getting this old stuff out of here,” my father said.

traditionNaturally, my brother took the items over to his house and began to go through and price them. One of the items was a large brown, ugly vase that Ben made in grade school for my mother. My brother called me laughing that our mother had passed off this elementary art project for sale in the own artist’s garage sale! We laughed and laughed until I said, “Wait. Don’t you dare sell the vase!” Ben said, “It’s ugly. Nobody is going to buy it anyway.” I agreed on its unattractive look and said, “Wrap it up and give it to Mom for Christmas. We’ll write a poem, place it inside with instructions for the family “ugly.” Again, we laughed.

Several months later on Christmas morning, all seven of my mother’s children, with our husbands, wives, our smaller children and my father looked on as my mother began to unwrap her present from Ben. My siblings and I knew what was coming. It took my mother forever to peel off the wrapping as we all tried to hold back our excitement and laughter.

As my mother pulled back the tissue paper and saw the vase, she and my father burst out laughing. “I got rid of this,” she managed to squeak out between gasping for her breath.

“There’s something inside. Read it,” I said.

After my mother reached inside and pulled out the piece of paper, she read:

Ode to the Family Ugly

To you we pass on this cherished ugly.
It’s been part of the family for years.
Do not take this passage lightly or smugly.
Or you may be foiled in future careers.

Let me tell you the story of this pottery’s latest travail.
This past summer Dad handed Ben old things in a box,
Ben’s school days brown vase inside must be allowed to prevail,
And honestly upon hearing this news the family felt shocks.

No. No. Not this. Anything but this.
This piece has history, memories and use.
To get rid of this treasure would be absolutely remiss.
Mom, how could you perpetrate such nostalgic abuse?

Take this torch and guard it with respect.
For this is your present for Christmas celebration.
We know you’ve wanted it and wont object.
Shame on you, Mom for attempted abrogation!

However, with this gift do not plunder.
Do not now become overly attached.
After all this ugly may appear as a blunder.
And it must, in the future, be re-dispatched.

We laughed and laughed until we cried. Over the last twenty years this ugly vase has been gifted and regifted to various family members for weddings, graduations, birthdays, house closings, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and even one Groundhog’s Day.

The “ugly” has seen some wear and tear ~ one year it was dropped and broke into seven or eight pieces. It was promptly super-glued back to its near original shape.

It has become one of the most delightful family traditions we have. And whenever this “ugly” is gifted, a note which includes the date, the occasion and both the giver’s and recipient’s name, is folded and put inside with all the other notes. To further the tradition, all the notes are reread as the next recipient unveils his/her turn with the “ugly.”

(If I were in possession of the “ugly” currently, I’d post its picture~but right now it’s in the hands of one of my siblings…but not for long.)

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