Friday, December 5, 2014

AM~Erica Finds a Different Way to Remember

So anyway...

It is that time of year, folks. A time of lights, trees, wrapping paper with lovely ribbons & bows, shiny ornaments, get togethers, mad-dash shopping, baking, cooking, photos, big guy in red, Nativity scenes...
Yep. It's Christmastime. Can you feel it?

As much as we love Christmas in our own house, we've been too stressed out & pulled too many directions to ever really enjoy it the last couple of years. We've had a couple of years where we just were having trouble feeling the season's spirit; having trouble finding the meaning.

Don't get me wrong. We KNOW what it's about! There's no mistaking it. We just couldn't get in tune with it. When things are too rushed, too filled, too much to just be able to breathe it in & focus. Then the time is gone...and we are even more disappointed that it's time to pack everything away & we didn't get

I'm not exactly sure what became different this year. It just seemed easier to move into this time of year. It's going to fast...but it felt right.

We changed some things. Our main tree set up is different.

That's right. We have a forest. This was actually a fun & awesome idea from my hubby! The big, main tree is actually a tree we've had for several years, it has been set up for the last 3 years (never taken down) downstairs, and now has it's chance to shine as the main tree! I love how it all turned out.
Oh...and our new North Pole-trained wrapping elves, Elof & Winka, have been hard at work so far!

I have also been wanting to do a Scandinavian-style tree since I started researching TO CELEBRATE LEIF ERICSSON DAY! The more I got looking into the Norse & Norwegian celebrations & customs, I was taken by the simplicity of the God Jul trees. So, I worked it where I could have that in my own home!

We had the old popcorn tins, so I set up a couple tiny trees to hold a few more ornaments. It's still a work in progress, but I'm loving how it's coming out!! Maybe more on this set up when it's all done...

Then, if you remember when my mom & daughter went with me to DECORATE A TREE FOR MARILLAC, I had some ornaments left over. Plus, I'd gotten some clearance ornaments for that tree, but couldn't find them when it came time to go decorate. Well...I found a bunch of what I'd gotten (figures), and so I thought I'd use them for the house. I used another tree we had stored to put downstairs. I began to place the browns & golds on & around the tree. I found a golden bird ornament that seemed to be featured. It has this great feather tail! As I finished up, I thought it needed a little remembered I had, at one time, purchased some brown, off white, and deep red feathers for some decorating! So I grabbed them & added them to the tree!

Even though some of the lights are out, I'm so happy with this adorable tree. With some of my mom's prompting, I've decided to call it "Fine Feathered Fantasy." It's quite elegant! The pictures don't do it justice.

We also started a tradition a couple of years ago. Each person in the household draws a number (around Thanksgiving-ish). This is the order each person will choose 2 things: a Christmas movie/special & a holiday treat to pair with it. Everyone joins in! No electronics during this time! We do this about once a week up to Christmas, as scheduling allows. This year, I was up first!

We got this really awesome chalkboard, and I was lost as to what to use it for during Christmastime. One side is our countdown...

...then I decided to use the other side to keep everyone apprised of the next family holiday movie/treat thingy.

For my night, I "made" gingerbread cookies & decorated them!

Then served 'em up with egg nog for night #1 2014 as we settled in to watch "Elf"!

I must tell you that I was not a fan of this movie the first time I saw it. However, the more I watch it, the more I love it! It's beginning to move it's way up the list as a favorite!

Oh! And I'm pretty much the only one who really likes gingerbread! But I found Nestle Tollhouse put out ready-made cookie dough sheets! Really...all you have to do is put your cookie cutters to 'em & bake! And? My family LOVED this version of gingerbread! BOOM! I was happy with how the season started off.

That's a way to get the holidays rolling, for sure! Next up will be Lil Guy's picks:

Looking forward to his turn!

As we prepare for that, there was something else that is different about this year. LOSING MY GRANDMOTHER. Man...all the Christmases in my life included her. Even if we had to shuffle a couple things around, we were always at her house to start the last run of Christmas events. This year...we won't. It won't be at her place, anyway.
Part of what made this time difficult was the fact that my grandmother was to turn 94...yesterday. *sigh*
The last few years, the family would gather to celebrate her birthday, and then as part of her gift, I would put up & decorate her Christmas tree.

My grandmother's tree I decorated, circa 2012

With her birthday being in December, and she loved her red birds (the actual bird, not the baseball team), and with her deep spiritual relationship, I came up with a grouping of decor that included "snow", cardinals (some nesting), and an angel topper for her fiberoptic tree. I called it "Heaven and Nature Sing." She loved looking at her red birds accented by the snow. She loved she could see them even if the lights on the tree weren't on.

This year, that didn't happen. And it won't happen. And it's sad.

In the faux forest of Christmas trees that hubby dreamed up, he thought maybe 4 trees. Ambitious, amm-i-rite? But the last one I saved. I decided that I would decorate it on December 4th. I wanted to add poinsettias to it since it's the flower readily associated with December. I also added 4 jingle bell snowman ornaments to this tree. My grandmother gave each of the kids one several years ago...each snowman has one of their names. And now they hang on the memory December tree in her memory. I will be finding at least one cardinal to place on the tree. I should have it soon...or it wouldn't be right.

Last year when we put up her tree, NBC was airing "Sound of Music Live!" We were watching some of it as we put up the tree, at the time we could gather for her birthday. My Lil Guy had trouble remembering that. Not in the fact of remembering...he was sad remembering it. Last year, we didn't know that would be the last time we would be doing that for her. He's still hurting from her loss, too. However, how fitting that NBC would be airing "Peter Pan Live!" on the night I would be decorating the tree in memory of my grandmother.

As I continue to grieve her absence & as we plan onward, we realize there's so much to do! We've got gatherings to attend, we have Christmas programs to put on. I'm even planning on channeling my grandmother as I attempt to make some candies & cookies this year.

We actually have lights up on our house, too! That hasn't happened for a couple of years, either! And...I've got another tree to put up in the kitchen. Be watching for that!

Ah...yes. That time of year is upon us. And this time, I feel merry & bright! Things will be different. But we are making the most of it! Looking forward to continuing on with our beautiful Advent season. My grandmother would want that happen...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica


  1. Beautiful remembrance of your grandmother! My grandpa passed away on Thanksgiving Day this year and I know that next year will be particularly hard for our family, but I hope we can find a way to honor his memory, not just be sad. I know that's what he would want.
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Oh, sad to hear about your loss. What a way for family to spend a holiday.
      I know your loss is much more recent than mine, so keep grieving as you need to. Also incorporate your grandpa's memory in your celebrating...then cry about it, laugh about it, ponder it...whatever you need to do. I'll be prying for you all this Christmastime.
      Merry Christmas to you, too! And have a blessed Advent!