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Holiday Togetherness

Christmas time has always been a very special time of year for me.

When I was a child, Christmas felt magical.

I was very lucky. Not everyone gets to experience this.

There was always an extra excitement in the air that started when the multi-colored Christmas lights came out after Thanksgiving. It wasn’t about how many or how big the presents were. It was about the normal day-to-day routine changing to include family and friends. (In the bus-i-ness of living sometimes our friends and family only catch a glimpse of us as we pass by.) For me, the holiday season is about being together and celebrating life with each other. This is the magic!

By the time that I had children of my own, Christmas was becoming a commercial holiday. Stores were no longer waiting until after Thanksgiving to put Christmas on display. I could even feel the stress myself; from finding the time to fit everything in, to just the cost of what was being displayed in front of us. As a nurse, I could also feel the depression from the patients hospitalized over the holiday, and the co-worker that had to work the holiday and could not be home with his or her family. The magic was missing.

I wanted my children to feel the magic that included giving, and in the giving, receiving, along with the sense of togetherness and family.

In order to do it, do it right, and enjoy it, Christmas become a season instead of a day for us. I worked weekends so that I could homeschool my daughters during the week. I built into our schedule that we would get ahead in the schoolwork so that we could take the month of December off. December became our month to feel the magic of the holidays and Christmas.

As a family we put up and decorated the tree. Each year I would give each of my children a new ornament, special to them. My thought was as their separate ornament collections grew, they would one day take their ornaments into their own home. Each one was marked with the year it was given.

Together we made and decorated cookies, fudge, and bread. These were part of our offerings to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. In the beginning, some of these offerings didn’t look the finest, but I guarantee that every one of them was made with love and joy. The girls delivered them to the neighbors. Each neighbor felt the excitement and joy they experienced in making them. The girls got to feel the joy in giving.

Each year, I came up with some simple crafts that my daughters could make and sell to neighbors and friends. I paid for the supplies. They however got to keep any monies made and use it towards buying gifts themselves for others. For example, one year m they made a plaster mold of a dove, painted it, and tied a ribbon on it so it could hang on a tree as an ornament.

While they were working on their crafts they took time to put together something small that could be given to each patient on the floor where I worked on Christmas day. If I happen to be working Christmas eve night, I would quietly walk around and put one on each patient’s tray table so that when they woke up, they had a little surprise. If I wasn’t working, we asked someone to give them out for us.

There was more that we did, but the details are not so important as the fact that we did them together. Their dad participated when he could around his work. He would traditionally take the week off from Christmas to New Years. During this week we could relax, play games, and enjoy being a family together. Of course there were trips visiting extended family too! Our holiday season came to a crescendo on New Years! We brought in the New Year with activities, vision boards, music and one last moment together before the bus-i-ness returned.

I felt that as a family, we brought the magic alive. My husband is no longer with us. The girls and I still feel the holiday season is very special. Every holiday season was like a long drawn-out priceless Kodak moment and has left us with some very fond memories.

In the process of bringing back the magic, a legacy was born!

Now during the holiday season, my two daughters keep our traditions alive. They work together creating fudge, cookies, and breads that they share with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Their collection includes old recipes and new ones too. They Christmas shop together and enjoy time with each other. Together we celebrate New Years just as we did when they were younger.

I hope you were able to find moments of magic and togetherness this season!

With the flame of Love,


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