Posted in Wordy Wednesday

Wordy girl Wednesday–Merry Christmas

It’s quiet and all through my house those who are here are sleeping quiet as a mouse. I have coffee in hand, tree lights on and Christmas music playing. It’s a beautiful calm this morning.

This year we chose to stay home with whichever children could be here and enjoy a quiet day. It’s been an overwhelming stressful few months and having a calmer holiday seemed just the right thing. Sitting here this morning, enjoying my home in peaceful stillness I know we made the right decision.

Holidays can bring many expectations. And often we can be disappointed when these may not be met. They can be loud, chaotic and lots of fun. But also stressful and frantic. This morning as I start this day I am reminded what this is all about. Family. Love. Togetherness.

I am choosing to be joyful rather than stressed. I chose to enjoy the moments rather than expect them to be something in particular. We get to choose our mindset and I hope you chose love and joy today as you celebrate this holiday. I hope you focus on why we celebrate and what that means to you and yours.

As other family members are off to gather together I am grateful for those asleep in their beds above me right now. Grateful I get another day to enjoy this beautiful crazy life. Thankful for quiet moments to reflect and set my intentions for the day.

Even though this year is different than ever before, it’s still a great day. It’s still a day to celebrate. It’s still a beautiful day even as it changes and brings new moments.

I hope you hold onto every moment this day brings to you. We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Posted in General

And the stockings were hung…

It’s just about that time!  For me, one of the best days of the year!  Christmas!

I understand that some of you may not celebrate this day, but in my family we have always made this an extra special day.   In my house growing up, Christmas was not a particularly, overly, happy time. I was raised by a single mother, who was battling cancer a lot of my childhood years.  The holiday season was often difficult for her, as I have come to understand more as I too have been a single mother most of the child raising years.

But even in the midst of hard times, lean times, and illness, we found a way to make this season a special time of family and friends.  I don’t remember the hard moments the way my mother surely does, instead I recall what she instilled in us as memories and traditions.

As I prepare for the coming weekend, the festivities of the day, I think about the ways we celebrated as children and what traditions old and new I have carried into raising my own children and thought I would share these with you.

  • Each year we would hunt for a tree, helping her set it up as best as two little kids could, listening to Christmas carols as we hung the lights and decorations.   And now each year, my kids and I put up a tree (fake one for too long now) and spend a few hours without electronics, having put these away as we decorate and of course while listening to Christmas music.
  • We were not allowed to wake our mother up (my younger brother and I) till we had accomplished a couple things.  The tree lights must be turned on.  Coffee had to be made.  And if memory serves, we had to wait till at least 7am to wake her up.  Many of these we have carried over into the present day.  Although my children are older now, so I think I am the first one awake! But coffee is still made, hot chocolate as well for them.  Lights and music on.
  • Presents are slowly passed out to each family member, one at a time.  We have each taken a turn throughout the years, getting to playing Santa.  This year is my nieces turn! Present opening can take a long time,  as we go round robin one at a time.
  • We created a tradition when I was married, that even all these years later, although modified we still practice.  My kids’ dad would make homemade cinnamon rolls to eat early Christmas morning.  For years he did this, starting before we had kids.  As we no longer celebrate holidays together, my sis-in-law began a new tradition a few years ago; making homemade french toast.  Each Christmas morning, we fill our bellies eating her yummy food.  We even pause present opening!
  • And my favorite part of all is opening stockings!  Each year we save this for last, after dinner.  We always opened stockings as kids, but we didn’t wait, it was just part of the presents, but in raising my children, I wanted to find a way to make them a special part.  It’s ironic that part of the reason stockings are so fun to me, is from my first marriage, when my ex-husband placed little tiny diamond earrings in the stocking toe. The memory of that has always made me smile as it was an extra surprise after all the other gifts were opened.  I have since made stockings an integral part of gift giving.  And we enjoy doing them later in the evening, prolonging the gift giving all day.

These are just a few of the ways we make this day a special event.  It is a day filled with smiles, laughter, and family.  It’s one day we all come together.  Turn on Its a Wonderful Life movie and just enjoy the moment.  Creating memories.  

I hope you have a wonderful celebration the next few days.  From my family to yours… Merry Christmas!

Posted in General, lists

8 tips for getting through the holidays as a single…

With the holidays in full swing, my writing schedule has been a bit off. We’ve been busy enjoying all the things that are important to me to treasure.

Family. Friends. Traveling, playing, baking, creating; all sorts of ways of building memories together.

As I’m enjoying all this, I’ve been thinking about ways that a single person can make the holidays more relaxing,  enjoyable and less lonely.   This can be a tough time of year for many and as a single parent, there have many lonely moments throughout this season in the past.  But this year and going forward I have become committed to finding joy as much as possible, so I thought I would share with you some of the things I have done that have helped me.

Here is a list of things you can try to help ease the stress and find joy for you during this time of year:

  • Connect with friends.  Invite folks you enjoy hanging out with over for a social night. Play games. Watch movies.  Go out for Happy Hour.
  • Have a baking day.   Find a few cookie or treat recipes and spend a few hours creating in the kitchen.  And if you don’t want to eat all of these,  give them away to neighbors, co-workers or friends.
  • Pick up a new book, a glass of wine and settle in front of the fire or pour a bath.  Indulge yourself for an hour here and there.
  • Book a massage or pedicure.  Pampering yourself during this season can help when the blues might hit.
  • Keep up an exercise routine.  Bundle up and go for an evening walk to check out the outdoor lights.
  • If you are crafty, perhaps make some Christmas gifts.  Working the creative muscles an help keep us distracted when the evenings might be long.  And making things for others takes the focus off ourselves.
  • Volunteer.  Perhaps find a charity in your area that you can connect with and find a way to support them.  This year for us was an opportunity to share blessings with other single parent families, this was a great reminder to me of all the things I have to be thankful for.
  • Know that its ok to have moments that are tough and lonely.  Feel them, take a hot shower,  cry even,  but then get back to finding joy.

This is my favorite time of year and even when there have been hard, lonely moments, I have still been able to enjoy the holiday season.  I hope the same for you.

 

 

Posted in General

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s that time of year again…the Christmas season!  This is my favorite month of the whole year!  There are so many things to love and enjoy this season.  Here are some of my favorite things:

  • I love the smells of this time of year.  Christmas trees, wreaths and garland, the scent of pine or fir.  All the baking scents that fill the kitchen as we create homemade treats.
  • I love the coziness and hominess that we tend to relish in at this time. Gathered around with those we love, celebrating over meals and party nights.
  • I love the fireplace or woodstove burning warm and bright.  All the blankets and quilts we wrap in to stay warm huddled together.
  • I love the holiday movies, bringing laughter and memories as we rewatch movies we have seen for years.   It’s A Wonderful Life will always be my favorite.
  • I love the gift giving.  Thinking about what those I love need or want and planning out what to get them.   I love this season where many come together to give to others who may have a need.  I truly delight in being able to give more than receive.
  • I love the memories made.  The traditions we do every year.  The Christmas morning breakfast my sis in law makes.  The midday dinner that we all help with.  Opening stockings later after dinner, ending the day with a few extra surprises.
  • I love the lights and all decorations inside and out.  The cold nights and warm cocoa.  Each year finding a new location to check out the lights.  We have been to many throughout the years; The Oregon Garden perhaps my favorite.

The best part of this season is hard to pare down to just one thing.  There are so many great things we get to enjoy this time of year.  We seem to soften our hearts, even if just briefly.  We help each other more, we may offer to give more than we would have at a different time.

December is one of the best months of the year for me.  Even when times have been tough, when I have struggled to afford gifts, when there has been little to share with others, we have been abundant in being taken care of.  We have been showered with love; through family and friends.  My children have rarely known the struggles I may have had to provide a bounty on Christmas morning, but I think that is because this time of year, it’s so much more about loving each other, seeing the smiles, giving to others, relishing in the home, that what may have been lacking under the tree didn’t matter.

May you enjoy all the blessings of love and family and home this time of year.  May this be a season that is bright with new and old traditions.   May you get to pour out love and receive it in abundance back.