Have you ever considered a Christmas in July Celebration? I talked about this in a post last year but wanted to write about it again.
The white elephant game has been a tradition in our family for many years when we gather to celebrate Christmas.
The first rule for the white elephant game is that we do not buy new gifts, but instead bring something that we already have.
We had our annual family Christmas party last week. My son and his family from Denver Co could not be here, but that left 30 of us to be together.
The day prior to our party, Grandpa Bob and I did the food prep and made up cookie trays for everyone to take home. I worked on the sides and appetizers and Grandpa Bob got the meats ready. He loves to play chef.
Each year, for the past 29 years that we have been married, my husband takes up residency in his hunting cabin about 45 minutes away. He use to stay for 6 weeks but now it is only a total of 4 weeks. This escape from civilization begins the week prior to buck gun season. He is a dedicated hunter. He does come home for Thanksgiving dinner and then once a week to re-stock on food and wash his clothes.
The hunting season becomes my time to create the holiday home for our family. I make lots and lots of lists to begin with. I am a micro manager of myself with lists.
I decorate the house, upstairs and down, as well as outside. This year I had some assistance from 2 grandsons with stringing lights in the bushes and creating their North Pole in the woods.
Last week I had a free morning so I went to a display of gingerbread houses at a hotel in our town. This is just another one of those things I was never able to do while I was working.
It is the same beautiful, historic hotel that I wrote about in The Festival of Christmas Trees post. This was the 3rd annual gingerbread house contest.
The Festival of Trees is an event held in our town to celebrate the Christmas season. The trees and wreaths are decorated by people in the community and sponsored by different agencies. They are not only beautiful, but for a good cause. They are on display for a few weeks and then there is an auction. The proceeds go to the Easter Seals of West Virginia.
A friend and I went to see the festival of trees and then went out to lunch last week. We are now planning on making this an annual get together.
I always enjoy being a part of the Christmas shopping hustle and bustle but things seemed to have changed over the years.
I can remember going Christmas shopping with my mother and grandmother from the time I was a small girl. We always shopped in our downtown. There seemed to be so many stores to me. I can still feel the chill of the cold air as we darted in and out of each store. The snow was blowing in our face, Christmas music was playing over loud speakers on the street corners, and there were happy people every place.
This year my North Carolina family was able to come to our house for a few days over Thanksgiving. My husband came home from his deer camp for the day. We had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner followed by a lot of activities.
The weather was very nice so I took the opportunity to do some outside Christmas decorating on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The boys (age 3 and 6) wanted to help me. We needed to take down the fall decorations first so that kept them busy for a while. The 3 year old wanted to get it done quickly, so he decided that he could do it by himself.
Whoops!!! They were a little heavy.
I believe that over the years one of the most challenging things that I face when doing my Christmas shopping, is gift ideas for the grandparents, my elderly mother-in-law who lives alone, or other elderly people on my list. They really don’t need “things”. They really don’t want “things”.
Most people in this age range have downsized their homes or may have even moved into an assisted living facility. I try to chose a gift that would be useful instead of ones to sit on a shelf.
Thanksgiving traditions are created from memories.
Traditions are defined as the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. I was thinking of my Thanksgiving traditions and asked a few of my friends to tell me about theirs.
When I was growing up I remember that my mother cooked and baked for days preparing foods for Thanksgiving. I believe that I can still feel the warmth in our home and experience the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. Everyone came to our house to eat including grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. My father and the men in our family always liked to deer hunt so they were out in the morning doing that. After dinner we drew names for our Christmas gift exchange.
When I was in high school we moved to the country and for several years the same tradition continued. My mother decided to try hunting and enjoyed it so she started going out herself. Over the years as my brother, sister and I grew up and had our own families we were not always able to be together.