“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

Growing up and the majority of my lifetime I lived where having a white Christmas was part of the Christmas decorations created by mother nature. Around Halloween the first snow would arrive, large feathery snowflakes whirling slowly downward in the still and quiet night arousing the Christmas spirit for the year. My favorite time of the year.

By Christmas, there would be several snowmen taking up residence in the yard. Birds and mule deer would wonder in curious about our new temporary residents and to check out the food stored in the barn for the horses and chickens.

Since moving to Texas, I have very rarely seen snow. The opportunity to make a snowman has occurred only once, and not around Christmas. I work at creating my own Christmas wonderland. Instead of mule deer wandering into the yard, I have lighted metal framed deer to remind me of years past. There are plenty of birds who visit, and cardinals. Growing up the area I lived in had very few if any cardinals. I decorate with artificial trees in the yard creating a forest where my artificial deer hide. The lights are hung on the house eaves and the trees lighting up the area I have decorated with a manger and various other seasonal decorations.

Yet, I miss the guardians of Christmas past, the snowmen. Each year I purchase one new Christmas decoration for my collection. This year I was planning on the purchase of a snowman and snowwoman. But money has become tight, so there will be no snow people in my Christmas yard.

Each year when I am writing Christmas cards with letters for each person on my list, I think of Christmas at “home”. Like the song, “White Christmas”, I will be home for Christmas if only in my mind. And perhaps just a Christmas wish for a white Christmas this year in Texas.

amtolle

Preparing for Thanksgiving

This year we are having my husband’s daughter and her family down for Thanksgiving. Along with her and her family of four children, she is bringing down a boyfriend to meet her father.

They have been seeing each other for a least two years. Their relationship is getting serious. Her children like him, and his children like her, and the children like each other. A big positive for a relationship of blended families to work. Thanksgiving we are meeting the boyfriend.

A week ago, I was calling to confirm the dates they would be here to visit, and getting a commitment on staying at our house. My husband’s daughter, Ms. T, jokes just like her dad. I made some reply and heard him in the background with a reply and I said something back. Soon he was on speaker phone, and then he and I talked for two hours. He was mostly asking questions and learning about me and the farm.

It is common being nervous meeting the parents and vice versa, meeting in the boyfriend. At the beginning of the conversation with Ms. T, she was sharing about flying in an airplane to meet his family. She relayed we could fly to Colorado and visit them this summer. We were joking back and forth on why I do not fly anymore. I mentioned the reason being no place to escape during an anxiety attack when you are thousands of feet in the air, from the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He heard I had PTSD. He also has PTSD.

We had common ground. He began talking. He asked for me to share the event, I do not share the event. Then we discussed my triggers and his triggers, both of us wanting to avoid exposing the other to triggers during their visit. Then the conversation moved to horses, as he wants to learn how to be around and eventually get on a horse. From the horses the conversation evolved to nationalities, spiritualism and cooking. After two to three hours of conversation, he was excited to come for a visit. He was no longer nervous and wanting to be option of staying in a hotel. His last words of the conversation, “Yes, we will be staying at your house”.

I never thought a condition I suffer with daily, would be used to open the door for a relationship. This man is important to Ms. T and I am glad that with our conversation, he is more comfortable about coming down and meeting the father.

Now I am busy preparing the house for six people. Getting beds ready that have sit vacant for four months, dusting and clearing cobwebs out of the spare bedrooms, moving the extra boxes I have stored in one room to the storage building. Determining the menu and making sure there will be enough food and drinks for their visit.

I am even thinking of putting up the Christmas decorations early. As we will not have family here for Christmas, and Christmas is my favorite holiday. I am thinking of combining the Thanksgiving and Christmas in one celebration this year.

amtolle

Christmas In July

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Christmas is my favorite holiday to celebrate. I enjoy decorating the house for Christmas. Each year I create a new item to add to the decorations for my house. For me, I need to start early in creating the new item as I have a busy schedule.

One other tradition I started when my children were small is Christmas shopping. I start in July. By starting in July I have time to make unrushed choices in the gifts I purchase for family and friends. I have the time to research and make quality choices in the gifts I purchase.

Another benefit to starting my shopping early is the ease on my bank account. I am able to spread the cost of Christmas gifts over six months, instead of three or four weeks. By spreading the cost over several months, I have a larger budget for Christmas shopping.

Another option for those who love to fight the crowds on “Black Friday” is to have discipline to start early and save for the purchase of gifts. I personally do not like the large crowds in the stores on “Black Friday”. And there have been times I waited hoping for a better price on “Black Friday”, only to not be able to find the gift to purchase. Starting in July, I may not have the lower price, but I do have the item to wrap and give.

I like to wrap the gifts to look special. I am able to spend time a creatively wrap the gifts for each person. Creating name tags and bows unique as the person receiving the gift.

Christmas cards are started in July. I pick out the card and address the envelopes using Calligraphy. In December I will write the Christmas Letter to place in each envelope, seal and mail. Most people receive junk mail and bills in the mail, I keep an old fashion tradition of giving Christmas cards to send cheer in an unexpected place, the mailbox.

I do go shopping in December. I pick out the next year’s Christmas cards as they go on sale. I also buy wrapping paper and supplies when those items are on sale in December. Stocking stuffers are purchased along with peppermint candy canes and candy that is only around during the Christmas season.

After Christmas is a shopping time with every store wanting to get rid of all things related to Christmas. Three years ago I purchased a six foot tree for $25.00 on sale, regular price was over $100.00. There are good deals after Christmas, although the selection is very meager.

Each year when I put the tree up, for a short time there are numerous creatively decorated presents under the tree, until I package and ship.

amtolle