Today I am thankful we celebrate the whole 12 days of Christmas, which actually start on Christmas Day! It seems a waste to me to spend a month or more preparing for just one or two days of celebrating. So I have embraced the whole 12 days.
For each day there is a small gift or an activity of some sort. The gift or tag with the activity written on the back are hidden each day for my son to find. Hunting for the gift/tag is part of the fun. We also have a Harry and David treat box with a little something for each day that the three of us share.
Most of the days are kept simple. Today is “Thank you” note day, a package of blank notes the gift for my son along with a trip to the local frozen yogurt place after we finish writing our thank you’s.
It is delightful to still have so much to look forward to these next nine days! I hope you can find small ways to continue your holiday fun!
Today I am happy that it is Boxing Day! Well in the UK and Canada it is but I have adopted it. (I am a little bit of an Anglophile.)
Boxing Day you ask? I have heard two different explanations of the name. 1. The day after Christmas was when the churches opened up the boxes used to collect money for the poor and distributed it to the needy. 2. In the days of the big manor houses and estates the servants worked Christmas Day and had the 26th off instead. On this day the owners of the estates gave the servants their Christmas Boxes (i.e. presents). So the 26th was the holiday for the poor and servant classes.
So in my world today is another holiday! We will play games and eat too much (again) and be lazy. I’ll have crumpets and tea later as well as Cornish Pasties for dinner. We’ll have Christmas Crackers at dinner as well. (Crackers being a small wrapped tube you pull open with a pop and contains a small gift, paper crown and riddle or joke.) I may even work some British words into my conversations today!
I picked up our yule log cake for Christmas Eve today. I got it from Whole Foods. I seldom go into Whole Foods even though it is right next to the library, it is just a little too pricey for me. So how did I know Whole Foods made yule log cakes? The lovely woman at Coldstone Creamery told me! I went to Coldstone to order a cake for Christmas Eve and asked if they could do a yule log. She obviously saw the disappointment in my face when she said no and told me about the ones she had seen at Whole Foods. (Think Santa in “Miracle on 34th St.”!)
Of course I felt bad about not placing an order with her but she said it was okay: “She just wanted me to be happy!” How incredibly nice was that?
And I have decided to go back to that Coldstone and happily order a small cake for Epiphany. There is nothing better than a business that wants happy customers.
Ah, Christmas Eve and today I have a whole list of things filling me with delight! Everything is done: cards and packages mailed, cookie boxes delivered to the neighbors, house cleaned and decorated, meals planned and shopped for, gifts wrapped. And that means today can be slow and focused on anticipation and waiting.
Specific bits of Joy:
This morning we all slept in after a late night attending “The Nutcracker”. We had a festive breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and a cinnamon roll wreath from Trader Joe’s. As I sat sipping my tea a small beautiful bird landed on the rose bush outside the kitchen window. Being able to just sit and watch it brought an incredible rush of peace and joy. (I wish I had gotten a picture, it was small with a little pale yellow on it’s chest. Maybe a type of warbler or finch?)
My husband took our son and dog to the park giving me a chance to write this up, get in a few steps on the treadmill and enjoy a little pocket of quiet time.
Looking forward to:
Mugs of hot cocoa and watching a “Charlie Brown Christmas” after lunch.
That feeling of peace I get every year at church when we sing “Silent Night” by candlelight.
Wishing the whole world PEACE AND JOY this holiday season.
Today I am grateful for something silly: my mismatched no sense of proportion or cohesion winter village. I have no idea how it even got started, just some assorted buildings that one year I decided to put on the sideboard and the village was born.
I have no idea why this display makes me so happy but it does and I am always grateful for an involuntary grin of happiness.
It is the shortest day of the year. And I love it. Living in the land of many many months of harsh broiling sunlight is not my favorite thing so I love these short, slanty sun days. I like waking up in the dark, walking the dog without the sun beating down on me and preparing dinner with all the kitchen lights on.
This morning I turned on all the Christmas lights in the house and left them on while I baked the last batch of Christmas cookies. It is cloudy today too so the lights really shown making my home feel all snuggly and warm with the scent of cookies and Christmas tree filling the air.
I know in just a few short weeks it will be warm and way too sunny, but today I am delighted to enjoy a late sunrise and early sunset.
Today had the only task I was dreading this week, the last big grocery shopping trip at the commissary before the holiday. I envisioned a full parking lot, crowded aisles, empty shelves and a long wait to check out. But the shopping must be done and I figured the earlier in the week the better, especially with the threat of rain in the forecast for the end of the week.
When I woke up this morning I was dumbfounded to realize I actually felt good. Apparently the menopausal hormones were finally giving me a break. I left for the commissary about 9:00a after walking the dog and eating a hearty breakfast (waffles and sausages). The traffic was light. What? Maybe some of the schools have started their holiday break? Or did I just time it right? Whatever the reason I was happy.
At the commissary the parking lot was fairly empty but I have learned this is not a good indicator of what to expect inside. (I know, I don’t understand it either.) Once inside though, all was calm. Sure, there were other shoppers but not the hordes I expected. I found all my items, resisted all temptation to buy a bunch of junk (thank you hormones!) and only had two people in front of me in the checkout line.
It was surely a Christmas Miracle and certainly a Delightful December surprise!
We spent the weekend “up North” and got our winter on. Friday we stayed in Williams, AZ and rode the Polar Express to the North Pole. Saturday morning we headed to Flagstaff where we spent the night before returning home late Sunday morning. I took few pictures to my regret. But the scene is now set so on to the delights.
Today I was thankful for faith and hope. The forecast was for rain, all day, all locations. It spritzed a little through Phoenix and in Flagstaff was a steady cold shower. I enjoyed hot cocoa with my lunch and watched the rain puddle up. When we got to Williams the rain stopped and started and stopped again and the wind was brutal. But I did not give up on my hope for snow. It was so cold I was sure that at some point the rain would have to turn to snow.
When I woke up at 5:30a and looked out the window….snow, falling ever so lightly. Just enough to give the ground a good dusting. And yes, technically I did not get my snow until the 17th, but the hope of snow made all the rain on the 16th more bearable.
Today I was thankful for traditions. It was wonderful to do the same small things we do every December trip to Flagstaff. We went to the not too big not too small not too crowded mall. My son visited Santa and got his picture taken. I visited the calendar kiosk to get ready for next year. I bought some seasonal hand soap at Bath and Body Works. We had a snack at the food court. Then we went to the tree lot to get our Christmas tree. This year we went to the same guy but in his second location as the the downtown location we used to frequent now has a hotel being built on it 😦
But after picking out our tree we went to downtown Flagstaff and visited the candy store and looked in store windows and noticed which businesses were gone. No more candle store 😦 But another candy store bringing the total to three!
Normally we would go to the park and play in the snow, but the snow was gone so we sat by the huge fireplace in the hotel and watched the wind sway the pine trees out the windows.
We decided it was too cold to go for a hike. (It was 83° in Tucson on Thursday so windy temps in the 20s felt really cold to us.) Instead we went to an early dinner at Sizzler and then curled up on the beds to watch “Christmas Vacation” before calling it an early night.
I realized the traditions themselves were nice, but the important part was the family time we spent together.
Today I was delighted to take an inadvertant nap. Though I slept surprisingly well on our trip apparently I was tired. Somewhere on the north side of Phoenix I dozed off (don’t worry my husband was driving) and woke up about 30 minutes later. I had missed a big chunk of our audiobook but felt really good.
Today is all about anticipation because tomorrow I am going to the NORTH POLE! I will be taking the Polar Express out of Williams, AZ and getting to the North Pole via the magic tunnel. I think I am more excited than my son. And there is so much to be excited about:
I get to wear sweaters and mittens and flannel pajamas with penguins on them. (Not all at the same time though.)
Riding a train with kids in Christmas jammies, hot cocoa and cookies, carol singing…all good.
We’ll spend Saturday in Flagstaff visiting Santa at the mall and getting our Christmas tree and taking a wintry hike.
Three full days of no cooking or dishes or cleaning or Christmas prep. Instead I get to enjoy simply festive fun time with my son in a place where it is actually winter.
I am even looking forward to the five hour drive. I have popcorn and the Trader Joe’s box of assorted Joe-Joe’s for snacking while listening to Christmas audiobooks from the library. We’ll stop for lunch somewhere fun on the north side of Phoenix, after which we can start watching for signs of winter as we gain in elevation.
I’ll be back on Monday with specific delights from each day. Enjoy the last weekend before Christmas!! ( I know I can barely believe it either.)