Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Final Night at Christmas in the Village

What a hectic 6 days. Two weekends, Friday, Saturday, Sunday! We did Santa pictures at Heritage Acres. Our mission was promoting family pictures. So many times a family has lots of pictures, but one member is behind the lenses.

We had some of the cutest kids. And most had a very definite idea of what the Man in Red should bring to their house.
 It was encouraging to hear that some were asking for things for grandma, or an uncle. One asked for her daddy to be home for Christmas, from Afghanistan.

The CribAnyone who didn't get back in time to pick up their photo's can pick them up from the office on Monday.

The line ups to get in were right down the road, and at $10 a carload, it is a good family treat.
The miniature trains were a hit as usual, with over a mile of decorated track.

Even the weather has been cooperative. Tonight is the last night

Thinking of family pictures makes me think that we should slow down and look around at those of us that have families. Give thanks for those people that we are related to, and while we are at it, make sure we spend some quality time with them, too.

Don't get so busy, that you don't have time to start or continue  family traditions. A popcorn night and watch the Christmas Carol together, or one of the new Christmas Specials.

Bring the tree home from a local tree lot where you can chose it as a family and not part of the groceries. Then  the tradition is started and includes the young ones, as well as supports local businesses.

I see more and more people caught up in a desperate frenzy of committing time, money and energy to what was supposed to be a time of renewing love, family, and friendships. They seem to have forgotten the simplicity and joy of that first Christmas.
Photo: Santa's Toyland Window Display, 1953

Toy land windows courtesy of Santa's Toyland window display (detail), 1953
Reference Code: F 229-308-0-719
Archives of Ontario

Cut down on the dizzy whirlwind. It isn't a competition. The most important thing to share is your time, and with those people who are important in your life.

 Make time to share preparation with your children or your mother and grandparent.
Have them pick pictures with you to make a collage of pictures to share with absent family members.
Share family recipes and make sure you start a recipe book for your children.Someday they may share those recipes and the stories with their grand children.

Lighten up on the gift wrap that will clog the land fill. Use  newspaper with coloured ribbon, or white paper and have the kids decorate the wrapping paper.
One year |I bought some cheap material and made reusable Santa Sacks with draw strings, or if you have a snooper, sew the end closed. My kids are still using theirs. It sure saves time on wrapping too.

 I do news letter instead of cards for people I won't be seeing complete with pictures, And those I will see will get a cheery Merry Christmas.

My daughter-in-law makes me a home made calender every year with the family birthday, anniversary and other important dates on the appropriate pages. I get a reminder and family pictures as well.

In this digital age, we take lots of pictures, but they live in our computer. I found a neat key ring this year. It contains a display for up to 100 pictures. The price? under $10.

You don't have to spend big bucks for meaningful gifts. Homemade baking, last minute slippers, a page of return address labels for a  senior to use, are not big stressful purchases, but will make life easier for a senior.. add a roll of stamps too.

Remember that some catalog sales outlets will deliver your catalog selections to an outlet in a town where your distant  family lives. This saves you postage and time,  and they were doing this before Online marketing was thought of.

I am getting a rag rug making course, that  I wanted to take, from my son. So not all gifts are under the tree.

And the best gift of all, a few minutes of your time, when you don't try and sneak a peak at your watch.

Here I will add my little soap box.
 If you know someone on low income, and I am thinking senior here, could you find them a small tree or green homemade wreath.
Some times, they don;t have the funds to buy things for their loved ones, can you include them and help them get a gift for their love ones?
 I do this with one friend by having her untangle wool and I make an extra pair of slippers for her effort, that I suspect goes to her daughter.
We share time together, and she entertains my family with stories about Christmas pasts during the war.

Christmas is a time for warmth, and loved ones, and a sleepy baby on your knee. Listen to tales told from year to year. The smell of mince tarts and cinnamon scenting the air. Familiar tunes and Carols in the background.
These are the Christmas's I remember. Not hitting big box stores and being towed around while other people walked on my toes.

Photo: Santa's Toyland, 1953Make sure you have time to tell your family about their grandparents and great grand parents, and your own memories of this time of year. Not all the data they need to feel complete is on a data base.

Photo: Santa's Toyland window display (detail), 1953I remember driving around and seeing the pretty houses. I can recall coming to Victoria and seeing Eatons and The Bay windows with their animated displays. At midnight, the curtains were closed on the windows.  
Santa's Toyland window display (detail), 1953
T. Eaton Co. fonds
Reference Code: F 229-308-0-703
Archives of Ontario
I can almost taste a malted milk at the Bay or going to the cafeteria and getting a Rum Babba. surrounded by cream.
Then we would go to the fish and chip shop on Cloverdale and eat hot fish and chips on the way home

Can you recall when we watched the TV specials and the cast would have their families on the programs and we would watch .
Do you take for granted that your children know the things you learned as you grew up? Do they know different customs in other countries? Like Black Peter and Father Christmas, kris Kringle, can they name the reindeer? Do they hang a stocking, or put out their shoes?
Do they know the origin of the Christmas tree?

In our house, Santa filled the stocking, but mom and dad bought the special big gifts.
 Thank you letters were a family task that was made fun not obligation by my mother inventing double meaning phrases and have us laughing like crazy as we worded our letter.

If there is a choice between a family dinner hosted by a loved one and a pot luck supper with strangers, choose the family. Who knows, it may be your last Christmas together. Changes happen, people move and sadly some chairs are empty when the big day comes.

I have heard of three of my friends who are fighting a battle with Cancer and may not be able to share another Christmas.

Try and keep in mind why you celebrate  and Who is the Reason for the Season.

And most of all, look after you... it is a season of joy, peace, warmth and good cheer.

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