What?!! Christmas is Coming…….!?

I noticed that on Halloween night, it was official:  the Christmas Season has begun!  After going around  my Granddaughters’ neighbourhood ‘trick or treating’ with them , I came home and turned on the T.V. and the first thing I saw was a commercial for Home Depot about Christmas.  Heck, ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ wasn’t even over yet and the media was already ushering in Christmas!   Isn’t the end of October a little early?  Bah, Humbug!  Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas!

But one good thing:  it DID get me thinking about Christmas and motivated me to take stock of my own Christmas gift preparations that I started many months ago.

Winter Planter

In November, I create my Winter ‘display’ in my 2 large recycled pots out front – in the summer I plant canna lilies, marigolds, and cosmos in them.  First I go for a walk-about in my neighbourhood and cut a few Red Dogwood branches which usually grow in the ditches.  They are SO striking looking with their red branches against the white snow.   I usually place them in the back of the pot.  Next I go around looking for broken pine branches from blue spruce or white pine.   That shouldn’t be too hard considering all the wind we had this past week because of Hurricane Sandy.   I also cut some dried hydrangea ‘snowballs’ on long stems to add.  In the garage, I have a bucket of ‘decorations’ that I keep from year to year to add to my planter display, including small and large red ‘balls’ , old fake poinsettias from an old ‘plant’, decorative ball chains, etc.  I just begin to create my display, standing back to assess it until it’s finished.

Around here, Christmas doesn’t just happen on December 25th with the opening of presents.  It’s actually many months long in its duration.  First I begin anytime after last Christmas, pondering whether my Grandchildren might like a particular full-of-thought gift I’ve come across.  My granddaughter Kalia is easy – she has always LOVED No-Name Creamy Garlic Dressing so a  couple of years ago, I bought her a jar and wrapped it up.  She was absolutely thrilled and told everyone she saw that her Gramma gave her Garlic Dressing for Christmas!  She actually was REALLY delighted (as I knew she would be) whereas those she told likely thought I was just cheap.  lol  I did buy her something else too but nobody can remember what it was……. only the Garlic Dressing!

A few years ago, it became just too much trying to find the right gift for each of my 7 children,  children-in-law and grandchildren plus the never-ending gift wrapping……….. it was just too much for me  and it was not fun anymore.  It became a chore.  SO last year I decided to only give gifts to my grandchildren and my two youngest children who were still living at home.  I felt as if a big weight had been lifted.  But I did manage to come up with a ‘family’ gift for everyone:  I have had 20 years worth of VHS tapes of our family adventures (9 tapes) that I recorded over the years which we lovingly named “Family Frolics”.

Family Frolics

I spent about 6 weeks transferring the video from my VHS tapes onto my computer, then formating them onto DVDs (32 of them).   And ALL without my computer techie kids knowing or guiding me how to do it.  I purchased a connection gadget from Ebay (VCR to PC) to make this possible.  I was actually quite proud of myself for figuring all this out even though it was frustrating at times.  I had a great time watching the videos again too.  This year, I’m not sure if I can come up with a family gift that grand…..I have to admit, I’m a little slow this year or tired or something.   But I still have time to figure something out …..   I’ll know it when I ‘feel’ it.

In years past, I’ve created several gifts for my family and friends.   I have done several  paintings for many of my grown children including “Pacific Ocean @ Bamfield B.C.” for Robin,  “Backyard Sunrise” for Darin,   “Home” for Taylor, “Perce Rock” for Kristi, and “Cardinals at the Feeder” for Marty (which I completed at 4 a.m. one Christmas Eve).

Backyard Sunrise

Another favourite was the photo albums I created for each Melvin and Nellie called “Daddy and Me” with 200 pictures of each of them with their Dad Chris, who passed away when they were 13 and 16 yrs old.   I made another photo album for  Kristi which included every picture I had of her.  I even scanned and emailed a treasured grade 8 school project to Robin called “All About Me” when he lived across the country.   And one year I found his favourite TV show of all time,  ocean videographer John Stoneman’s “The Last Frontier” on DVD, (the complete series!) at an Ebay store!   Of course, baking is usually a welcome gift too, especially my homemade peanut brittle and Christmas squares.

Cardinals at the Feeder

I like taking a long time to create Christmas – I’m not a “last-minute shopper” or even a ‘shopper’.    It’s more about the ‘feeling’ I get than about the gifts:  how excited I feel when I make or find something I know the recipient will adore; or having a ball searching for and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree with my children and grandchildren; or feeling abit nostalgic when watching the Christmas movies like “Christmas Comes to Willow Creek”; or knowing how much everyone will enjoy all the baking I’ve done when we settle down for some dessert on Christmas Day after supper; or the smell of the cinnamon soaking in apple juice on the wood cookstove;  or how a beautiful, red Poinsettia  plant on my dining room table seems to make everything complete; or thinking about Taylor (and missing him) every year when I set up the Christmas Village he gave me long, long ago…….

Homemade Peanut Brittle


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maureen Sinclair
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 21:11:27

    Beautiful written Linda. as always. I bet it;s nice spending Christmas with you. & your family. Homey & all those Christmas smells. Love it.
    Love : Maureen


  2. Fred Schueler
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 22:41:14

    now that you have a blog, you can just paste edited accounts into a book, at e.g. lulu.com and distribute copies of that – do it in black and white, and you’ll be able to afford to buy a stack of them


  3. thatoldschoolgirl
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 03:53:46

    Wow the real meaning of Christmas at your place. It sounds wonderful


  4. Manda
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 15:43:03

    Linda I laughed out loud when reading about the garlic dip. Kalia really did love it….and your right I have no idea what you got her that year…just her beloved dip!!!
    I am looking forward to some of your Christmas baking..chocolate macaroons….drool!


  5. df
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 21:25:39

    Your Christmas and your Christmas preparations sound lovely. I’m a huge fan of food-based gifts; they will be used and enjoyed, often with others, and don’t cause clutter. I love photo albums too and am trying to work on several for my family this year; it all takes more time than I have, but I can’t see any other way. Love your outdoor arrangements, which reminds me that we planted a dogwood in front of our house this fall (we finally got around to filling in the blank space across the front of the house after moving into our new build two years ago!). I love those vibrant red branches too. Beautiful post!


    • grammomsblog
      Nov 13, 2012 @ 21:37:01

      df, thanks for the compliment! Photos (people, pets, homes) in picture frames are another great gift idea if you don’t have time to compile the whole photo album.


  6. Trackback: Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Eeek! | Grammomsblog

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