Ok, so you are talking to a "cockeyed optimist" that absolutely loves Christmas. The last two years have been kind of hard on us and I have had a really hard time getting into the spirit. Those of you who do get into the Christmas spirit know that if you don't get into it it just doesn't come and well... the last two years or so... it didn't come. This year it is making it's presence known early. I volunteered to design a tree for the tree festival for the boys and girls club of Island County. So I have been frantically making ornaments when there were not customers in the shop. the last three days, I have been really busy with ornament making. When the tree is finished I will try and get a pic. Anyway, it has brought on the Christmas spirit so much that i have determined I will be really decorating the shop for the holidays. Of course I will also have my own tree.
Along with the things to do for the holidays comes the memories as well. Wow have I been flooded with those this year! First the memories of my grandparents and my great aunt Ella. We used to go to their house for Thanksgiving and they came to ours for Christmas. Mom always hated this as she did not care much for my grandma and hated her cooking. As kids we loved it! We could always count on staying up late and watching the roller derby, wrestling with my grandparents and helping decorate the tree. Grandpa and dad went and got the tree for Christmas and they drank so much that grandpa drove the jeep off a bridge and they ended up hitchhiking home. They had the tree though! Grandma and mom were so mad at them they didn't speak with them for days! I remember it as one of our funnier Christmases. We always had homemade wine on Christmas eve and on Thanksgiving. Even us kids got to drink some.
There was always my mom and dad at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My dad (who I have often referred to as a big bear) loved the holidays. He would take us kids out and we would hike through miles of trees to find just the right Christmas tree (shades of "Christmas Vacation".) Mom and us girls and my brother decorated the tree and as we got older it got to be more of a chore and less fun. One Christmas we got into a huge fight over it and my sister ended up wearing a black eye. We wanted to watch Christmas shows while we decorated the tree and dad and Dean wanted to watch football. The guys won when my sister and brother got into it and Dean gave Shan a black eye. But the girls left for the evening and it wasn't until much later that the tree got decorated. (This incident is what made me vow that no TV or electronics would be allowed from December 24th through December 26th and that we would not have TV on when decorating the tree.
Then there are the more recent memories of Christmases with my children. Wow, now these are strong memories and made stronger when I pull out our homemade ornaments to decorate the tree. We always spent a lot of time with the kids at Christmas. Our traditions were fairly simple. We started on December 24th with homemade cookies for Santa and then a dinner that the entire family helped cook. This dinner eventually became pizzas because everyone could make their own. After dinner we read out loud Christmas stories by candlelight. Children in bed by 9:00PM and Dan and I would drink a glass of wine and enjoy each others company while waiting for the boys to go to sleep. Then it was a mad dash to wrap presents and put them under the tree and at midnight we stopped and waited for the animals to talk. (They never did and were usually not happy that we woke them up from their sleep to try and get them to say something). Then it was back to finish assembling and wrapping and put under the tree and then it was bed. The boys usually woke us up around 6:00AM and we would open presents (one at a time) so everyone could see each gift. Then I made a big breakfast so everyone could last till dinner. We did the dishes, played a few table games and I prepared dinner. When the kids were younger we had Jesus's birthday party complete with a birthday cake (yule log) and gifts and then we broke a piñata. We had dinner around 4:00PM and spent the day reading to each other and playing games. The day after dinner began about 6:00AM as well with the house getting cleaned and all the presents put away in bedrooms. Then it was cooking time. The guys helped and told stories or played games while we prepared a feast for anywhere from 5 to 79 people. Our day after Christmas party has been going on now for 30 years. We will host it again this year. For those of you counting, last year we had 35 people. The 27th of December has always been a day of rest for us! sorta. The last three years it has been spent here running the shop. This year will be no exception.
Well all this reminiscing comes about because I wanted to review a movie. It was my intention to go to the Clyde and watch "Elegy" but I had an hour and half before the movie last night and i got to surfing on the net and low and behold I found an old Christmas movie that I absolutely loved and hadn't seen in several years. Do you remember "The Gathering" with Ed Asner? Well, I have been wanting to see this movie again for the last few years and it is impossible to find. The sites that say they have it on VHS don't and the DVD has never come out. I found it on the net last night and for an hour and half and then another hour and half I cooked dinner and watch "the gathering" (both episodes although I really did not care for the second one as much. My review is simple.... It is a wonderful Christmas movie! Sappy and makes you cry and want a large family and well it is what a Christmas movie should be. Given that I figured I should probably post my top favorite Christmas movies then when I get sappy you will know why... So without further ado: 1. Christmas Vacation 2. Fanny and Alexander 3. An American Christmas Carol with Henry Winkler 4. Miracle on 34th Street 5. The Gathering 6. Charlie Brown's Christmas7. Scrooge the musical 8. The Grinch who stole Christmas (the cartoon)9. The Muppets Christmas 10.It's A wonderful Life There is probably more shows I love about Christmas but these are the top of my list. The number the rate is subject to change depending on the day as well. So come by the shop and see the ornaments, and see if maybe you can catch the spirit too.
Christmas on Whidbey Island