Monday, October 23, 2006

Maynard, Foster, Bruce GuestBlog: 'Tis The Season

CONTEST!!! 6 lucky commenting Bellas will win a copy of either "A Very Merry Christmas," Wildest Dreams," "Suite Fantasy," "Night Before Christmas," "Santa Baby," or "Who Loves Ya, Baby?"

Lori Foster and Janice Maynard are two of my favorite people, two more women who deserve every bit of success they own because they work hard and are really good folk. I'm looking forward to e-meeting Gemma Bruce today, cause if she hangs with these two, she's gotta be somethin special. So, if we have to get in the holiday spirit (ugh) let's do it in a fun Bella way, as Janice suggests, and give the girls a welcome while we're at it...

Good morning, all! Lori, Gemma and I are happy to be GuestBlogging with the wonderful Michelle today! Because our anthology “A Very Merry Christmas” has hit the shelves, we thought we’d talk about one of our favorite subjects – the upcoming Christmas season. J

Lori and Gemma will both weigh in on the subject, but here’s today’s discussion topic…

What is your very favorite “thing” about the month of December?

We love to hear about everyone’s experiences – funny, serious, entertaining… so… “Ho, Ho, Ho”, and bring on the egg nog! (Which I loathe, by the way…) And don’t forget, we have many Jewish friends on our various loops, so Hanukkah is fair game as well!

Now, for “moi”, the Thanksgiving to Christmas rush is a wonderful thing. I am one of those “Monk” – type detail fanatics, so I do stuff way in advance, cards, gifts, wrapping, etc. This keeps me organized and happy, but it also eliminates that awful stressed feeling that interferes with enjoying sacred and secular activities and events.

I am a firm believer in living the Christmas spirit year-round, but it is wonderful to see people being generous and kind and thoughtful under the influence of that invisible holiday magic.

So here’s the bottom line… my Christmas CD’s are too many to count, “The Muppets Christmas Carol” is required viewing in our house, my twenty-something daughters think we “must” make iced cookies, and despite the mess, hubby and I opt for a live tree.

My name is Janice and I love Christmas. J

And now a word from the lovely Ms. Lori Foster… J

Smells. Sights. Sounds. Attitudes. I love everything about Christmas – except the cold, but hey, I can tolerate that for the warmth the season brings.

Everything about Christmas fills me with that giddy, special, thankful feeling. But the thing I love most is the spirit.

I don’t know if everyone feels it or not, but I do. In spades. It permeates the air, like the scent of baking cookies or cinnamon sticks or fresh cut evergreen. It brings hope, and it reminds us to be grateful while spurring us to generosity.

Everything else, the family gatherings and the festivities and bright lights and special gifts, are all a plus.

But for me, the pulsebeat of Christmas is the spirit.
I feel it building already, and I hope you do, too.

Ever feel like Christmas came and went and you missed it? After EBay, Amazon and trips to the mall. When the teenagers are fed and holed up in their rooms, I pour a glass of mulled wine and sit down with my tree.

I sip and breathe in spices and pine. I watch how the needles catch the light. How halos form behind the ornaments. No music, television, cell phone, or deadlines. Just me and my tree. Christmas is a time of fellowship, a time to share with family and friends and with those less fortunate than ourselves. For me, it’s also a quiet time, for listening, watching, and seeing.

Anyone else have a special Christmas ritual?

***

Encore! Grazie, Pamela Clare, for spending the weekend with us! We really enjoyed your take on romance, freedom of the press, snaxy Nathan Kamp, and "Hard Evidence." Please come back soon!

69 comments:

ev said...

Welcome Ladies!!

I love Christmas!! The lights are alread on the house. The ones I don't take down get plugged in and ready to go Labor Day or thereabouts. The others get plugged in when I unplug Holloween/Fall lights. The whole yard is done. For some reason they call me the crazy lady in the neighborhood. We don't have little kids at home anymore, but we do live across from a nursing home and they love the decorations. And betting on whether or not I fall off the ladder.

The tree goes up Thanksgiving Night. I am halfway done with shopping already. Cleaning and moving furniture is the hard part now. Even cooking for 20 doesn't bother me as much as cleaning. I hate to clean.

ev said...

Oh, and dang it Lori, I still have my copy of Hot and Bothered to send you to be signed (Plotmonkey visit). My memory is shot.

Stacy~ said...

Morning Michelle, and welcome Janice, Lori and Gemma! I loved "A Very Merry Christmas", and actually, I believe I already have all the books, or at least all the stories, so please don't include me in the contest :) I just like to chat.

Christmas is the time of year when people usually do try to get away from their busy lives and just spend time with each other. My family lives about 500+ miles, in northern Minnesota, so it's not easy for me to make the trek up there, so I've been "adopted" by a lot of my friends here in Chicago, and always have somewhere to go for the holidays. That's what the holidays mean to me - including everyone and sharing in our blessings. I've spent quiet holidays at small gatherings all the way to big, boisterous events with laughter, games, and the videotaping of the events. I will live on and on in the archives of one of my closest friends and her wonderful Mexican Christmas holiday. I am sooo lucky to have such people in my life :)

Janice Maynard said...

Hey, Ev - I am impressed with all your "outdoor" decorations. I do the inside of the house big time, but I don't have much bling outside... not because I don't like it! But because hubby is perpetually busy and I am SO not a "get up on the ladder" kind of gal. I think it's great that the nursing home folks get to enjoy your lights. Very nice!

Janice M.

Janice Maynard said...

Hey, Stacy - We must have been posting at the same moment! I, too, love sharing special events with friends. I have a set of Christmas china that I break out and use all during December. Lots of fun.

Janice

P.S. How do I get a little "picture" to show up with my posts. I am such a dork...

Stacy~ said...

Hey Janice :) It's in your blogger profile where you can select to put in an avatar, like a picture of yourself. It can't be any more than 50x50 giga-mega-whatsa-bytes. You right-click on the picture you want to add, copy the properties, and put that in the link for a picture. If I can do it, ANYONE can. Seriously.

I gotta run out for some errands but I'll be back soon. Don't want to miss this.

Lori said...

I love the Christmas holiday. There is just something about the holiday atmosphere near the holidays.
We just spend time with family...starting with the day after Thanksgiving. My mom, sister, and I get up at the crack of dawn to trudge to the sales. We have a family dinner of chili and stew on Christmas eve and then spend all day Christmas together. It is fun.

I thought that I would pop in before I head of to work and to take the kids to school. I hope everyone has a great day blogging!!
Lori T

Amy S. said...

Christmas. Spending time with your family. We usually put the tree up Thanksgiving night. We don't do any outside decorations, but we decorate the inside. Christmas Eve we usually have turkey and then open the presents. On Christmas morning, nieces and nephews get the big presents, like bicycles. Then we watch the Christmas parade on TV.

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome, Janice, Lori and Gemma!!

My favorite part of the Christmas season is I have the bestest kids. OK, so I use the old "Santa's watching" routine but I have it on good authority that he understands and approves of the reminder. ;o)
I also enjoy taking the kids around to look at all the lights. We don't do outside lights but we appreciate the ones who do. :o)
I'm with Lori on the feeling of the season. I think everyone is happier even during the stressful shopping craziness. :o)

Vivi Anna said...

Welcome ladies to RBTB!

Janice, loved Suite Fantasy...HAWT...oh and did I mention that is was HAWT!!!

I LOVE Christmas time. I love everything about it, baking, putting up the tree, decorating, singing Christmas songs, how excited my daughter gets, the fact that my whole family comes together to laugh, and eat, and play games, and just share that beautiful bond we have.

We always go walking the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights, then come home and have hot chocolate and sit by the fire and talk about it. We bake way too many cookies, but end up eaiting them all anyway. We sing karoke christmas songs as loud as we can. And we give as much as we can to those less fortunate than we are. Those are some of the things we do each and every Christmas.

Minna said...

We have a bit different Christmas traditions here in Finland. Day before Christmas Eve we go to get the tree from the forest and the next day after it has melted a bit we decorate it. Instead of turkey we eat ham and some traditional Finnish foods and we open the presents on Christmas Eve. And of course there is the Christmas sauna.

Robin Snodgrass said...

It looks pretty unanimous so far...Christmas is much loved! :)

I love the whole thing - the decorations, the weather, the family gatherings...what's not to love?

It's nice to read everyone's comments on the subject! Thank you ladies for your subject matter!
Hugs,
Robin

Kelley said...

I love the feeling I get around christmas. I feel happier and in better spirits. Problems don't seem as big, happiness seems more abundant.

ev said...

Janice- Don't worry you're not the only one who can't figure it out!!

No turkey on Xmas- we have the charcoal grill out and do a big roast. that is hubby's day to shine on the main course- I get to do everything else. Which I love.

I not only decorate the outside, but the inside too! When we married, we had over 40 boxes of decorations between us. I don't mean individual ones either- but storage boxes. We have whittled it down a little to about 20. I have trees ranging from 7 feet to various table top ones that are all over and get a different theme every year.

I also have Xmas china- one for dinner that day and another that I use all winter long. Almost time to get it out now. It has snowmen and snowflakes on it.

Yes, I am obssesed by the holiday. With 5 kids, 6 grandkids and assorted friends, you need to be. And we throw in Hanakkuah traditions too, since our daughter in law, and the twins (18mos) are Jewish. We have manged to blend them well.

Phyllis said...

I love Christmas! My favorite part is spending time with my family. EV, I also have 5 kids, but I have 7 grandkids. Our newest one born just 3 weeks ago and the next youngest a little over a year old. 4 under the age of 5, so it should really be fun this year. Also, Lori I love your stories and you are an auto buy for me. I look forward to reading this book.

Jennifer Y. said...

One of my favorite things about December is my birthday! LOL

I also like Christmas music. My Martina McBride CD is one of my faves.

I also enjoy getting together with my family. This holiday season will be rough for my family because it is the first without my grandaddy who died in a auto accident last New Year's Eve. I am not sure what we are doing for Christmas though.

I think Christmas seems to come and pass quickly when you are an adult. When you are a kid it seems to take forever to get here...but not now.

sharon said...

I love the month of December, mainly because it is very special to our entire family. My 2 sons were born in December and the first was born on my birthday so this time of year we have a big celebration for all of us. This time of year is very meaningful and we are grateful to have everyone around and feel the warmth and love.

pearl said...

Every year we celebrate Chanukah with a big party for the entire family. Friends and relatives get together at our home and we all look forward to this special time together. We make a huge spread with the latkes and the applesauce and all of the other wonderful treats. This is our yearly party that is fun and enjoyable for old and young.

Lisa F. said...

I love Christmas! And everything that it brings, from the shining eyes of a toddler to the greatest gift of all - Jesus. The happiness that comes from giving and the sadness of knowing that some people will go without. The colorful lights lining the streets and the reverence of a Christmas Eve Candlelit service. Spending time with extended family, consuming huge amounts of food, people watching at the mall and enjoying quiet moments by yourself.

bamabelle said...

Hi Ladies!

One tradition that I have with my children is making Christmas cookies to take to a local nursing home. Some of the elderly residents have little or no visitors, and it is a lonely time of year for them. My chidren and I bake a variety of cookies. We buy the cute Christmas trays from the dollar store and make cookie trays to take to the residents. The kids and I take the trays together. I like that it is something my children and I can do together to remember the true spirit of the season. In truth,I think we enjoy it as much as the residents do lol! Maybe more! :)

joelle said...

This season is one we all love. Our family gets together and we enjoy a large dinner with several other close friends. Everyone brings their favorite dish and the hostess really goes all out and cooks and bakes her specialties. It is so relaxing,and enjoyable. We appreciate the fun, stories and the great food.

bamabelle said...

I love all of everyone's traditions! I love the Christmas and holiday season. The world seems more hopeful and magical during that time of year.

ev said...

A group of us from our Elks Lodge goes to the VA around the holidays each year. (There is a lodge that goes every week,we rotate.) It is amazing how many of our Vets are there and have no one to visit them at all. We sing carols (I do the sleigh bells. Don't want me singing.) and have a trolley with popcorn and soft icecream. Nothing better than seeing a smile on one of their faces.

ev said...

Phyllis- Our grandkids go from 18 months to almost 21 and the kids are 21 to 48. Talk about a big spread!!

Jennifer y.- Last year was the first Holiday without Dad. We got thru it by remembering he was the biggest kid of all and how much he would enjoy watching everyone. We told silly stories, laughed and cried, and ate and drank a few for him. Everytime I turn on the Xmas lights, I think of him. We always hung them at home together. Now I just do it with him looking over my shoulder and making sure I don't fall. Last year, I bought toys in his memory for the families on our tree at the Lodge. He was a big kid, so his spirit still lives on that way too.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

I love Christmas because of the joy I see happening at this particular time of year.....giving....not just presents but giving to those less fortunate.

Each year the company I work for adopts at least five families where we provide presents and Christmas dinner.

We also organize serving dinner at a men's shelter and employees bring their children to help with serving dinner.

But most of all I love having all of my family home and friends stopping by Christmas Eve and day.

It's a magical time of year full of miracles with the most important focus for me, the birth of Jesus.

Stacy~ said...

My company gets a list of local kids to buy Christmas gifts for - some ask for toys, others ask for clothes. Every year it keeps getting bigger and bigger and it makes me proud how giving people are.

Also, I am hoping to get involved in this year's Fantasy Flight. Every year, a group of seriously ill or terminally ill children are brought to O'Hare airport to one of the gates, which has been magically transformed into a winter wonderland complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The thing is, the children are flown from O'Hare out of a different, completely normal-looking gate, and a few hours later, flown back to "the North Pole" gate. It's truly a magical experience, where the kids receive everything they've asked for.

Maureen said...

With two children born in December the month has been a crazy one for years. Now that my children are older it's actually more enjoyable because we're not doing two kid's birthday parties and getting ready for Christmas all at once.

Our funniest story comes from my children who admitted this a couple of years ago. I had always hidden their presents in the basement since it was off limits to them. Of course my daugther, the oldest, figured this out and simply waited until I was in another part of the house to bring her brother on a trip to check out what they were getting. As they were walking my daughter gets a fish hook stuck in her sock and yells to my son to help her. He screams, "It's a trap!" and takes off out of the basement. I was stunned that they would think the basement was rigged but they did stay out of the basement after that they said.

alissa said...

Every December we celebrate all the December birthday's of all our friends and family members. We pick a weekend that is suitable and just have so much fun. There are so many of us and we just love this opportunity to be in each other's company. We eat special delicacies of the season and have little special gifts for everyone involved. It is memorable and everyone enjoys this time of year.

Janice Maynard said...

Wow - lots of activity! I love it. :)

LoriT - Is it snowing in Wyoming yet??

Any - I forgot how much I enjoy the parades!

Julie - I still remember my mom and dad driving us all over Chatanooga to look at lights when I was a kid.

Vivi Anna - Thanks for the kind words about Suite Fantasy! It was fun to write. (And hot chocolate - yum!)

Minna - I think of Finland as a lovely snowy place to celebrate Christmas. :) And the sauna??? I'm a wuss!

Robin - You hit the nail on the head. We're all giddy about our favorite time of year!

Kelley - You're right! I think our own problems can sometimes get in perspective at the holidays when we see how much some people suffer.

Ev - Twenty tubs??? My gosh woman - you're my new hero. :)

ellie said...

We host an open house for all our friends and it is the best time ever. We have goodies and yummies galore and throughout the afternoon everyone relates funny stories and events that have occurred during the year as well as trips that have been taken. This day and evening can just go on forever. We always remember fondly this time of year and the people we have met.

Janice Maynard said...

Phyllis - I always think that little ones add an extra dimension of fun to the holidays.

JenniferY - I remember the first Christmas without my dad. It was hard, but and even now, I wish he could be here. Makes us appreciate those loved ones we still have even more!

Sharon - Wow - that's a lot of birthdays!

Pearl - I've heard of latkes, but I don't remember what they are??

Lisa F - It does break your heart to realize how much of the world goes without.

Bamabelle - Making cookies is one of my favorite holiday "sports". :)

Jennifer Y. said...

Thanks Ev and Janice.

Janice Maynard said...

Joelle - I love your name! I may have to "steal" it for a character some day.

Marilyn - Helping out at a shelter and adopting families are wonderful ways to help out.

Stacy - The Santa Gate sounds like a really amazing idea. I hope you get to help out.

Maureen - a rigged basement??? You are one tough mama! (Just kidding)

Alissa - What a neat way to celebrate all the birthdays...

Ellie - Open houses are so much fun - regardless of whether you are the host or the visitor!

Lori Foster said...

:::Waving hello::: to everyone! Guess why I'm late? Bet you can't guess!
I was shopping. For Christmas presents. LOL. Seriously.
My middle son and my future much-loved daughter in law where here for the weekend, so we all went to breakfast before they headed back to school this morning, then hubby, the grandson and I hit a few stores.
We found some awesome gifts. Not nearly enough gifts yet, but we're making headway. :-)

Janice, I love the outdoor lights. At our old house, we had a tree close to the side and rather than use a ladder, I just climbed the tree to the roof. That made it easy.
Now I need a ladder. Last year the boys were all home and put up lights for me, but usually it's me cuz I like doing it!
This year, with the grandson we like to call a tornado, we'll have to put the tree in the living room rather than the family room. Otherwise it wouldn't survive long!

Thank you everyone for popping in to visit!
BIG HUGS!

Lori

catslady said...

They're saying we may get an inch of snow in pgh. - too early for that!

I have a tree triming tradition - I get out the good china and have a sit down dinner and everyone helps decorate the tree. I love all my homemade and collected ornaments that mean so much to me. It's a live tree so it goes up right before Christmas and it's usually the end of January before I take it down.

krissyinva said...

I love the holidays!! I have to say that for the women in my family "Christmas time" starts about 3:30 am the day after Thanksgiving. Usually it's just my mom, my sister and I but we love going shopping on Black Friday. Usually that weekend we also put up the Christmas tree(yes it's a fake one but I'm allergic to most of the real ones). My kids and I put the tree up, I do the lights and they do all the decorations, I just love when they take forever to "find the perfect spot" for the decorations. For the inside of the house, we only decorate the great room, which is the central room of the house and the first one you walk into. Garland, bows, gold beads, stockings, nativty(sp?), Animated Mr. & Mrs. Claus, Train around tree, etc. Basically anything thats stationary is "Christmasfied". The outside is a whole family project, My husband and I on the roof and the kids on the ground. Our outdoors display is not as big as others but we add something each year. We love driving around looking at the christmas lights singing christmas carols the whole time. I'm not one for the cold weather but for some reason it adds to the excitement. What I love mostly about Christmas is family coming together. Nothing's better than joking on my sister's baking attempts or her teasing me about all the wrapping I have yet to do. It's perfect!!

My daughters birthday is the 6th, nephews the 8th and my sister in Ny is due on the 13th. It's very exciting because this is her first child. Well I better go I'm already exhausted!!

Karen B said...

I love the music (but not until after Thanksgiving, please) and all the decorations - especially the tree. I'm alone on Christmas day because my family is so scattered but I spend hours talking on the phone to them.

Janice Maynard said...

Catslady - I have way too many ornaments, but just last weekend in Atlanta I bought 4 more--- little small ones at Crate and Barrel that will look nice near the top of the tree!

Krissyinva - I love shopping and I love bargains, but I hate getting up early, so I don't usually go out for Black Friday.

KarenB - It's tough when family members are far away! Thank goodness for phones!

LoriF - I wan't surprised to hear you'd been shopping. :) I'm the same way... I've bought lots already.

Janice Maynard said...

Well, pooh! I've been trying all day to get the cover of A Very Merry Christmas in my blog replies, but I did something wrong... sigh... computers hate me!

Janice

Phyllis said...

I'll try this again. I've posted twice already but still don't see it (my luck they will probably all show up together LOL).

Jennifer - One of my sons birthday is Christmas day also. We try to make it extra special for him and have always celebrated it on Christmas Eve.

Janice Maynard said...

Phyllis - I "see" you! Welcome!

Janice

Janice Maynard said...

Testing...

Lori Foster said...

Janice, let me see if mine is less blurry. ;-)

Lori

Lori Foster said...

So peeps, what do you think are some of the best (and not too costly) gifts to give? My nephew is married now, with a little girl of his own. I have no idea what their decorating scheme is, so I bought this very attractive wicker laundry basket and filled it with thick, colorful towels. I like it!

I have a niece whose backyard is like a park it's so beautiful, and we found this lovely bird bath marked down cuz it's soooo last season. LOL.
Any other kewl ideas?!

Lori

Cathy said...

When my kids were in college, it was important to me to have everything out and up before they came home for xmas break. A little less fun factor involved when I was the one doing all the work. This year I have one of my sons living at home again and I am actually looking forward to all the preparations a bit more. And like Gemma, I always liked the quiet time in front of the tree sipping a cup of hot chocolate.

Gemma said...

We always do the twelve days of Christmas, a little something special (it doesn't have to cost money or be wrapped) each day until Janurary 5. That makes it last longer.

In fact, I love Christmas so much that I try to stretch it as long as possible. That's really why I don't get my cards sent until January. LOL. I think it's nice to get a bit of the spirit when you'r already starting to count down the next 365 day.s

Jennifer Y. said...

My birthday is not actually Christmas Day but the 16th. We have 6 December birthdays in my family. My dad's is the 19th...I was an early birthday gift for him.

One thing about having a December birthday is that you only get to celebrate or get cards/gifts one month a year. I have some relatives that used to combine my Christmas and Birthday and just get me one gift...as a kid I didn't understand why. Now it doesn't matter to me. I like giving gifts a whole lot more.

One of my favorite gifts that I have given was to my sister. I got a big basket and filled it with toys from her childhood (Strawberry Shortcake, CareBears) and things that she can use now. It was a fun gift and she saw the humor in it. My niece ended up with the toys. I also gave my dad a stereo one year that looked like an old-fashioned radio but had a CD player, tape player, radio, and record player. The only thing missing was the 8-track player.

I always give my nephews and nieces books. My great-grandmother always gave us books for birthdays and holidays and I want to continue that tradition. I love books and want to share that with them.

Vivi Anna said...

Oh Gemma, I love the idea of the 12 days of Christmas...

Hmm, might have to think about implementing that one...

Maybe not gifts, but doing somethng special with my daughter. Like on the first day we bake cookies together, the second day we play a game, on the third we make snowmen....

Minna said...

Janice, what on earth can be so frightening about sauna?

Janice Maynard said...

Minna - I'm thinking about the thing where you sit in the sauna and then run and jump in the snow???

Loretta said...

I love Christmas because then I get to do a lost of baking and making all kinds of candy and cookies. This year will be even better for we will have my son and 2 or his children here for Christmas since they are living with us for right now. Wished his other two children were here also. My daughter lives close by so her and her youngest son come over for Christmas. Sometimes her oldest son is here for Christmas if it is his time to come and stay with his mom. We don't get any snow in the part of Arizona I live in but can drive two hours to Flagstaff if we want snow.

Monica Burns said...

Welcome Ladies to RBTB!!

{{{Bellas}}} I've missed ya'll.

Maureen - Dahlink, please give warnings when you're going to have a laugh out loud story! LOL I had to cover my mouth I was laughing so hard, and I didn't want the boss asking me why??? ROFL

Christmas is THE number one holiday in our house. In the past, I'd bake about 2000 cookies for giveaways and the advent service we do in our home the 4 Sun before Xmas. Before the small service we light candles for those who've crossed over. They all have their own special Xmas candleholder, lighting my Mom's candle is still hard because she picked her own out just before she died of leukemia.

I mentioned our advent service we do, we always open the holiday with a HUGE Thanksgiving dinner. I gave up the early-bird sales on Black Friday years ago, now we decorate the house. We have four artifical trees and one real one. The tree in my office is nothing but Star Trek ornaments. *bowing to the Roddenberry*

We have a handmade advent calendar that the girls rotate days on hanging up the ornaments for each day. There's one piece of candy for the kid hanging the ornament and a dog treat for the dog. The dog rules because she gets a treat everyday. *grin* We do the Angel tree where the girls get to pick out gifts and clothes for kids their age. We have a special nativity scene that's put out. It was the last present my Dad bought for me, and very special, Phallic palm trees and all! LOL

On Christmas Eve, we do our final advent service, and open gifts from family members under the tree. Then we have eggnog, appetizers and get the cookies and carrots out for Santa, then it's checking out Santa radar and off to bed for the girls, followed by Mom shortly thereafter, leaving Dad to unload the gifts out of the trailer and into the house. *grin*

Christmas Day is ALL about food. Hell the whole holiday is. LOL But the holiday doesn't end there. we carry it through NewYear's Eve to a party with old-fashion parlor games and poppers at midnight for the kids.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS, the sights, smells, sounds, spirit, everything. You can hug complete strangeres on the street this time of year and it's ok.

Stacy~ said...

Minna, do you get to see all the reindeer too? Both sets of grandparents had saunas, so it was tradition to go in everytime we'd visit when I was younger. And when I went to Finland, of course I had to use one, but my face always gets so red, like a tomato, that they thought something was wrong with me LOL.

Judy F said...

Hi all, late for the party that's me. Can't get on the internet at work like I used to... But I like my job better then the old one.

I love the holidays, esp the music. I play it non stop in my car from Thanksgiving till the new year. Make me made that the stop playing it after christmas.

I don't decorate as much as I used to. With working two jobs I don't have the time. I love putting up a tree and my christmas stuffed animals go out.

readingissomuchfun said...

Hello Everyone,

WoW alot of great stories have been shared :)

I love the month of December because of x-mas and my sister's
b-day :)

I remember every year till 2002 when my mom had passed away. Everyone year my mom would have my little sister wake me and my other sister's up every x-mas morning. It was so much fun and I still remember those days like it was just yesterday.

I also enjoy the decorations and taking picture's of the pretty houses with all the awesome lights and decorations.


Hugssss
Linda.H.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

SleighBellas ring, are ya listnen?

Heya, Janice and Lori and Gemma and friends new and old! What a lovely topic and convo today. I'm so buried and have to head right back out, but will join back in later tonite. I'll read all posts then, but I can't thank you enough for joining us!

Since we moved here 2 years ago, MN, and we have no family here, Christmas eve has become our special tradition time. I make an Italian soup called passatelli (kids call it worm soup cause the dough is squeezed throug a potato ricer) and we have an intimate dinner w/ holiday music etc for the four of us. Church xmas day.

One thing I really miss about MA was Hanukkah at my girlfriends' homes. It was so cool being invited and included (my kids went to Jewish preschool and since then we've always been included in our friends celebrations.)

My best friend from back East always does these funny, fun Hanukkah games, etc. I miss those, and my friends there in general.

I love decorating with quirky things, and if I remember I'll tell you the story of Queen Puss Puss and King Froggy. And I always get into putting on medieval christmas music.

Thanks again Janice and Lori and Gemma for getting us in the spirit!

Lori Foster said...

Hey Judy,
Have I told you lately how much I admire you for holding down TWO jobs? Incredible.

Linda, I've lost my mother too, and it does make it especially emotional at the holidays. Big hugs to you!

Gemma, that's too funny about sending the cards late. ;-) I like to stretch out the holidays BEFORE Christmas Day, but for some reason, the very day *after* I'm soooo done. LOL.

To those of you who help out at shelters or donate toys to needy kids - you should start watching for marked down stuff now. I've found some incredible deals! Just yesterday Bev and I (Bev is my future daughter in law) went to Target and we found this awesome quilt with flowers and green dots... anyway, it was originally $65, but marked down to - wait for it - $15!!! I couldn't believe it. I bought it to donate. Someone will love it, I know.
And we picked up some adorable marked down toys too.
It's so much fun. I love it.

It's pretty cold here, but thankfully no snow yet. If it was up to me we'd have spring or fall-like weather except for the week of Christmas. Then it can snow. But I want it all gone as soon as Christmas is over. LOL

Big hugs to everyone!

Lori

Gemma said...

vivi anna- we do that too. Even my children (they're almost adults) think the gift thing is too, too much.
We've always concentrated on doing things with friends and family. Once we made gingerbread men (and women) and decorated them like each other, but no one got to peek, until we were done. We had some good laughs over that. We even made gingerbread cats.
and ev
We have roast on Christmas, too. Along with Yorkshire Pudding(It smokes up the kitchen and we swear we're not going to do it again. But we always do.) and Trifle (my specialty) Can hardly wait.

KimW said...

Wow...What a nice surprise to see you all here.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. We always have one day with all of the family members and relatives and then one day my husband and I make our own little Christmas celebration. lol We have a nice dinner, open presents, sip homemade glogg and watch a movie. We also take a thermos of hot chocolate and drive around looking at lights.

catslady said...

Speaking of books - I always read a book my father in law gave us when my two girls were little - "The Littlest Angel." Well I can't get through the book without sobbing my heart out every single time - for some reason my girls get a big kick out of this and hand me the kleenex box before we begin.

robynl said...

Oh, I love Christmas and the time leading up to it. I bake, make candy and wrap gifts. I already have most of the gifts laid out according to the person who will be receiving them.
The music makes me 'sad' for Mom and Dad are no longer here on earth-both gone within the last 3 yrs. But I have to 'go on' for my siblings and their families. We have 2 new grandchildren this year and this makes a total of 5(but we don't see all of them together at once.) I do a box for 'Operation Christmas Child': they go to other countries where most don't know about Christmas. Last year some ladies and I started a 'cookie exchange' and rumor has it this year that we are doing squares. It is fun coming home with all the different goodies.

Cryna said...

Okay late as always........Sorry.

I used to have more traditions when my husband was alive and the kids were smaller. We used to decorate the house all up with lights outside all along the roof, in the trees, around the windows inside and a tree up and downstairs. We always put the toys together for the kids on Christmas Eve. The kids and I would bake cookies before Christmas. Now with being by myself, I find that I just put up the tree, and a little one at that, but don't go all out like I used to. Although the year I had my grandson living with me was like old times and was so much fun.

I do love the Christmas songs and play them all the time. I have so many Christmas CD's............

Janice Maynard said...

Wow! This has been so much fun today. :)

I've really enjoyed hearing everyone's traditions...

Loretta - I learned how to make a great chocolate fudge last Christmas - even bought my first candy thermometer.

Monica - Your post made me tired, but it all sounds amazing and fun.

Judy F. - Girl, you work so hard... I am glad you were able to stop by tonight.

Linda H. - Childhood memories are special!

Michelle - Thanks so much for inviting us - we've had a blast!! And I love the medieval music thing. Have you heard Dan Fogelberg's Christmas album??

Lori - Aren't sales exciting?!?!? I got Anna a set of tea lamps to match her Christmas china (Lenox). They were originally $86 and I got them for $11.99!

Kim W, Robyn, and Cryna - Welcome to the holiday "mini-party". The more the merrier!

Janice

KarenG said...

I am very late getting here. I was not able to join in earlier. I enjoyed reading all the family stories. I have many fond memories of when my children were small. We would go sledding, make snow angels and have an ocassional snowball fight. Just a playful one so no one got hurt.

Monica Burns said...

We would go sledding, make snow angels and have an ocassional snowball fight.

THAT! sounds like loads of fun Kareng! I remember my grandmother would always take us running barefoot through the first snowfall, before racing back into the house where we'd warm our feet with towels she'd laid over the radiator. *grin* I love sledding too. But I HATE the walk back up the hill. LOL

Janice - I'm sorry I wore you out, I know I have a habit of just running on and on and on. But I do try to keep a spare set of batteries around when I'm gearing up for the holidays. *grin*

Diana said...

Well, my birthday is in the month of December, so that's probably my favorite "thing" about December. :P I don't celebrate Christmas, but I like how the winter holidays put most people in a good mood. :)

ev said...

I had to go to work and miss the rest of the fun.

I look forward to the sales AFTER Xmas- that's when I stock up on toys for the following year. I can buy more for the money. I have to remember where I put them though- sometimes my memory fails me. :P

Monica- I am glad to know I am not the only crazy one who runs in the snow barefoot.

Minna said...

Well, Janice, some people do run and jump in the snow, but I prefer swimming in the lake. I have never swam at winter, though, but I might try that some day. I did swim once very late at autumn and it was very refreshing. But the sauna has to be VERY close to the lake!

Stacy, I don’t live in Lappland, so I don’t get to see any reindeer around here. We have elks here, or moose as you call them in the States, but here I only get to see reindeer on my dinner plate.

kim said...

everything maybe exceptthe weather. i just like spending time with my family and co workers. they are great. i like giving to my family and their faces when they see their gifts.