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Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Today's very topical mug shot will be the last Chronicles of Nani blog entry before Christmas. David and I have big things going on and a very full schedule for the days leading into Christmas including, but by no means limited to, finishing last minute gift buying, gift wrapping, groceries for our private feast Christmas night! He’s working evenings this week, except for no work on Christmas Eve and days on Christmas. The way our schedules work out, Christmas Eve is the big day will my family and having the evening rather than the day together on Christmas Day is nice because the candles and tree will sparkle during dinner. :)

I still have a couple crostadas that I’ll do this evening and a cake - if you’ve seen my decorating, the cake will be modestly decorated, don’t worry! Christmas dinner at home will be scallops and shrimp Rockefeller (see the Seafood Rockefeller recipe at Davlicious Recipes!) with linguini and a veggie that I’ll figure out when we go shopping!

Between tomorrow night and some time I find while David is at work on Christmas, I hope to have my train show close to done so I have time to make cookies to take this weekend. Then my Christmas baking will be done.

Remember, if you need some last minute cooking ideas for your feast, check out Davlicious Recipes and for a last minute gift idea - brag book pages! You can get some of those here for free, even if you don’t scrapbook, you can slip a photo in pretty easily on a free trail of PhotoShop Elements and get them printed as regular 4X6 prints at your local photo counter. A nice 20-page photo book, even the dollar stores have nice ones, and you have a fairly quick, inexpensive to the wallet, but priceless to the heart gift!

Okay, and Nani’s holiday quickie tips complete, on to the mug before Christmas! May you and yours have a very merry Christmas, beautiful rest of Hanukkah and enjoy the love and festivities of all of this wonderful holiday season!

Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys

This is one of my favorite Holiday mugs. It’s one of the newer ones, actually, although it’s about 8 years old. It was deeply discounted after Christmas at CVS in 2000. I think I paid 50 cents for it. But, it was one of those things I had to buy if for no other reason that to quell my screaming inner child who wanted it so badly.

One of the passions David definitely does not share with me is the absolute love of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. I have loved the story and watched the program every year since I was a child. That kinda goes with the love for Dumbo and The Saggy Baggy Elephant. I guess I’ve always been proudly different and I love stories about the wonderful treasures of misfits. This mug also has my favorites of the misfit toys on it, Charlie in the Box and Spotted Elephant. Yeah, I guess that’s a theme. I’ve always especially loved misfit elephants, huh?

I love this time of year. It can be frustrating sometimes, because I am so driven by the desire to make it perfect and to give generously. That’s tough when the money is tight, but I manage to make it happen, even if it means I’m wrapping up my shopping on Christmas Eve when I have a little more money for one reason or another. That has so much to do with why Grandma asks me to show her what I bought with the money she gives me for Christmas. She found out that one year, I spent it on my nieces and one year I paid a bill that I had let go to buy one mre gift. She insists that I spend it on me and show her what I bought now! Actually, I appreciate that. It means so much to me that she want to be sure I spend it one me!

I celebrate Christmas as several holidays. To me, Christmas is the religious acknowledgment of the birth of Jesus Christ, the miracle God sent to call those of us who would become Christians to him. That included my ancestors and traditions of the relationship with God that have been passed on all sides of my family. My religious observance of Christmas is private. It includes placing the baby in the manger in my nativity and spending some time in the glow of the Christmas lights gazing at the nativity, thinking, meditating and praying. It’s a very special time for me.

I also celebrate the Christmas holiday of family. Every year, we make a trip to Connecticut to visit David’s relatives and either Christmas Eve at my cousin's home or a a weekend dinner in the Motherland to be with mine. The big party I host is UNO and The Fabulous Dessert Bar. That was this past Saturday. I invite everyone in my family of friends, even those I know won’t make it, with a note to simply say that they are wanted here even if they can’t be here. I think it’s always important to invite the people you know won’t be there for that reason. Christmas Cards are a big deal to me in that same way. I send cards to people I haven’t seen in years because they were an important part of my life at one point. They still are. They have left their mark on me, an influence that is part of who I am. This is the time of year that I think back on how blessed I am and having had their influence, having shared part of my life with them, is one of my blessings. I have expressed that in my cards or in the notes I enclose more than once, and I have people I exchange cards with who appreciate and share that same sentiment.

The next holiday of Christmas I celebrate is the celebration of people. It’s really a celebration of the Holiday Season, because I celebrate all people. I love that the commercial world has created such a happy buzz about the holidays. Yes there is some bickering and PC junk. What displays places can or cannot have, what clerks at the mall should say to customers, but the point is, giving the respect that a stranger may not be celebrating the same holiday you are, a warm smile and a “Happy Holidays” to everyone will get that same warmth in return. I love the warm and happiness that’s shared at this time of year and I love being part of it!

Finally, there is that celebration the retailers love so much, the celebration of children. I observe that celebration, the one of Santa and magic, as a celebration of children and inner children, it’s the celebration of presents!

My Mom was big on making the tree bountiful on Christmas morning. The more it looked like Santa’s sleigh crashed in our living room and dumped the whole load, the happier she was. We had huge stocking that she sewed herself by hand. There were always practical gifts under the tree too. When we were in school we got loose leaf paper reams, pens and pencils. There were always small rattling packages of wrapped up boxes of tic-tacs or block-shaped packages of gum. I usually had a package of guitar pics and one of strings and Dave had a few tall, slender gifts sticking out of his stocking of drumsticks. There were clothes, including socks, later things for our cars and the stockings usually had jewelry, perfume and some nicer smaller gifts too. It was always a couple of hours of unwrapping, continental breakfast and just a festive morning with our parents and grandparents, warmed by the huge yule log in the fireplace and the champagne (for everyone after about age seven) toast to welcome Christmas Day.

I like the bountiful Christmas idea. I haven’t reached the point where I have the cash-flow on a regular enough basis to really do it, but I’m working towards it! Since I was a kid, every year there are one or two gifts that are handmade or otherwise personalized. This year, there are and unprecedented 6 personal gifts like that! Whether it was an issue of money or inspiration, I’ve always felt the most warm and fuzzy about the gifts I’ve made. I guess that means that somewhere inside of my undervaluing self, I really do place a lot of value on the things I do and my time, huh? Of course, the made by me gifts have always been the ones most gushed over by the recipients too!

I guess when all is said and done, from the hour I spend in spiritual contemplation to the handmade gifts, from the hours of baking, to the simple few minutes to write out a Christmas card, from the miles of travel to be with family to the quick smile passing strangers the greatest gift we receive and give during the holidays is time. Thank you for taking a moment of yours to read what I took a moment to write.

Happy Holidays!


seamhead gypsy said...

Merry Christmas Nani!!!

I'm sorry that I haven't spent as much time browsing and commenting lately. Katie has kept me pretty busy and I've got a fantasy football team that is on the verge of winning a championship tonight!

It's really enjoyable to see Christmas through the eyes of a child again. And this year Katie has been and is really excited. Though as often as I've tried, she still won't sit on the Santa's lap! But she has seen the Rudolph show numerous times as we've got it on DVD. I must admit, I've even seen it more than twice or thrice as well! This Christmas will be the first time I'll also have both "kids" on Christmas morning! We tried it once when we were living i n NH, but a snow/ice storm canceled most of the flights by the airlines for 2 or 3 days so #1 son didn't make it out. :-(

I also want to publicly Thank You for your help and advice this year. I look forward to "leaning" on you again in 2009.

May you and the rest of the family have a wonderful Christmas! And here's to hoping that 2009 treats ALL of us better financially than 2008 did as well as bring us all good health!

seamhead gypsy

Edna B said...

I want to thank you for all the wonderful stories you have shared with us all year. I do hope you've printed all of them out. What a wonderful book they would make.

Tootsie and I are wishing a Happy and Blessed Holiday Season. May your New Year be Happy, Healthy and Prosperous.

Hugs, Edna B.