Showing posts with label ornaments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ornaments. Show all posts

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jenna's Gumdrop Tree

          Jenna had made a gumdrop ornament in preschool one year.  We’ve had it for four or five Christmases now.  The neighbor asked if he could eat it.
          “The candy is really old.  It probably doesn’t taste good.  And it may make you sick either way.”

          He had invited himself to decorate or tree.  I thought that was presumptuous of him.  But it was dark.  I couldn’t see well.  Roland had gone into the other room.  And so I left Jenna and Trume to decorate (they actually were better at spreading out the ornaments than Ooki had been with his first tree).

          Before he returned home, I gave him a small tree that we had put in Jenna’s room last year.            I had confiscated the gumdrop ball and put it on the tree the next day when I could actually see what I was doing.

          After a week I noticed that the small tree had been returned.  I also noticed the gumdrop ball had been ripped apart as there were gumdrops and toothpicks all over the table.  I was upset not because of the ornament itself, but the possibility that someone had eaten these stale gumdrops.  Jenna claims she doesn’t even like spice gumdrops.  Why would she do that?

          I didn’t realize that the gumdrops had been used to decorate the smaller tree.  And actually they do look nice – but they don’t seem to stay.   It was a cute idea.  She said they looked like Christmas lights.  Her creativity made me smile.
We no longer have the gumdrop ball ornament.  After Christmas, the pulled off gumdrops will also be trashed.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh, No! Mom Fell Off the Tree

          I always think it’s kind of odd that so many ornaments are made from porcelain or glass as they break so easily and not all of us are blessed with a quiet environment in which the tree will rest looking perfect and undisturbed.  (Jenna’s eight.  I think she still rearranges the ornaments on a daily basis)

Several years ago my mom came home with a whole slew of ceramic ornaments that she had painted at a Relief Society activity.  I don’t know how many ornaments there were, but I believe I had at least four of them in my possession when Roland and I were married.  The fondest memories are of the Raggedy Anne and the gingerbread man Ornaments.

Mom had wanted me to have Raggedy Anne and Patrick was to have Andy.  But we also got to choose among the remaining how many ever there were. The gingerbread man is the first one I chose.  It had been left on the tree one year when the tree was on the curb.  One of our neighbors mentioned that there were still a few ornaments that were on the tree. 

I was devastated that my gingerbread man had broken in half.  I think it might have actually been the first year he was on the tree.  I glued him back together – and though he’d been somewhat of a sorry sight, I’d kept him around until recently.  I must have finally gotten rid of him as I can’t find him.  I was also willing to throw Anne away on December 9th of this year after Jenna dropped her on the floor and she broke into three pieces.

Who knows whatever happened to Ann’s partner?  Or if Patrick still has him?  I don’t know.  But we have many ornaments. And true, I did have a sentimental attachment.  But ornaments break.  Life goes on.  I put it in the garbage can and told Jenna I was not/am not mad at her.  It was an accident.  It is okay.

With tears in her eyes, Jenna retrieved the broken pieces from the garbage can.  I explained again that I was not mad.  But she looked up at me and said, “But mama.  This ornament looks just like you and I want to keep it.  Can’t we please glue it back together?”

She’d been talking about the red hair (which is as natural to me as Lucy’s was to her) but I looked down at the broken pieces which symbolically represented the mood I had had all day. 

Roland’s check had gone into the bank and we are strapped – every pay check.  It’s not even going to make it for one week – let alone two. We can never get on top of it – let alone ahead.  And ORS doesn’t take into consideration that our family was on welfare for two years – nor do they care.  We need to hire an attorney – but with what?

We had tried doing without the internet – dropped it three times in fact.  But it’s needed for education.  It’s needed for checking locations and budgeting and looking up needed information.  Access to the Internet is required for filing bankruptcy – seriously.  And it it’s not something that can be done in the allotted time given at the public libraries.

On top of a 14 year old boy  had killedhimself possibly due to being bullied – there is no call for that.  It’s just wrong and senseless and hurtful and mean. I did not know the boy but there is an obvious pain. Not just on his part but that of his family, classmates, the media and so that has also stirred me emotionally as well.

 I am still checking out assisted living and the weather had been gloomy and I was 99% positive that it was that time of the month.  (I was wrong) I haven’t been a Scrooge really – but I have been an emotional wreck.  I’ve been broken. 

I set the ornament aside so that if we ever found the glue (the glue from the glue gun just made it globby and less desirable to look at than the broken pieces) I still don’t think it’s worth saving – but if it makes her feel better, maybe it’ll be worth it.  We can throw it away after the holiday season and perhaps she’ll forget about it by next year. 

Or perhaps I should keep it around as a reminder.  A reminder to pick up the pieces and help lift and repair soles of others who stand in need of comfort.  I need to focus on others’ needs and not just my own.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Loving My “Christ Centered Christmas” Book

A few years before I met Roland,  I had gone into a Deseret Book Store in search of something.  Sharon Velluto was doing a book signing on her new book, “A Christ Centered Christmas” 

          I remember picking up a book and thumbing through it.  It looked interesting.  It was on sale as I recall.  I took it home and started reading it.

“How to Use this Book” – the very first words on the very first page.  “This book has been designed to satisfy the needs of all families {bold italics added} from those with small children to those whose children are grown, as well as singles and seniors . 
. . 
          How many times have I heard or read that . . . “and to all of those that are single, we love you as well” (though you are really not our main focus – we don’t want to exclude you – but these words will not be at all helpful to your current situation

          But it does!  Her book is seriously designed with everyone in mind.

          There are 24 devotionals that are designed to be as long or as short to cater to each individual or family needs and times.  I was so super impressed that the single person was not just mentioned – but embraced as well. 

          There are basically four sections – Devotionals, Optional Materials.  Cards and Activities, and Ornaments.

Illustated icons give the outline or theme on each devotional page


       In a nutshell: the jest of the 
       devotional outline

         The lesson

        Activity ideas (outlined in the 
        first section – detailed in the 
        activity section)

              Suggested song and scripture

              Stories are found in 
              optional materials

          I really like having an outline and being able to pull other resources that are available.  Not all the stories from the manual are among my favorites – but I especially enjoy the outlines and the activity suggestions.

          It’s NOT just a Christmas manual.  It’s a family home evening manual and resource manual to be enjoyed throughout the year – not just on Christmas!  It is such an awesome creation.  I actually ended up purchasing one for my sister-in-law for her birthday.  I don’t know if she’s used it near as much as I have.  My manual has actually taken some beatings during its life.

          I printed up the star ornament for the children in my primary class and we made them to go with our lesson.  But for the most part I really hadn’t done much with them until last year.  Jenna found excitement in creating a new ornament each day.  They continue to hang on our tree this year.

I have since adapted guidelines and themes for my own book with 24 sections and covers – instead of the four sections offered in “A Christ Centered Christmas” . I have my favorite stories and traditions and wanted to incorporate color and jacket protectors that can easily be removed or added to. And personalize it for me and my family. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Saving Lids and Christmas Trees

           I recall one year it was announced in Relief Society that we had been given the opportunity for submitting a tree to the festival of trees and were asked to save our frozen juice lids as we would be using them for making ornaments to decorate the tree.  We had an enrichment activity later on in the month making tin punch ornaments.

          I continued saving juice lids long after the holidays.  What a cute idea.  I tried making tin punch ornaments several years later with Roland’s two oldest girls.  As I recall, they didn’t turn out too great.  Still I kept the lids.  My scouting calling was too short lived for tin punch introduction.

Jenna found the lids when she was two or three. She’d play with them and count them and call it her money.  It was cute.  It definitely provided inexpensive entertainment.  So that was cool.

I love Jenna’s enthusiasm.  And what she perceives as beautiful.

When Roland and I were married, the boys had a Checkers game board with Santa Clause and Christmas tree pieces.  Over the years, the pieces would start disappearing and it wasn’t practical to try and play checkers. 

When Jenna was three or four, we had gone to a second hand store and she had fallen in love with a pink vanity set that I was not planning on buying – but the joy and enthusiasm and price made it worthwhile.

I remember coming in her room to help her find something and opened up a plastic drawer from her vanity and found it full of Christmas trees that were left over from the checker game the boys had.  It still makes me smile when I think of it.  She had to have them because they were “very beautiful”

Oh, to be that age again!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Jesus Sock: and Other Traditions

          Each of us has traditions.  Many are the same.  Some vary. Some get lost.  Some don’t work.  A tradition may be carried on for generations. Some may brush away.

          One of my favorite Christmas books is “God’s Vitamin C for the Christmas Spirit”  which shares stories, ideas, traditions and reasons.  One of the thoughts I read was written by Christi Anne Shepeard in which she shares a tradition of “The Jesus Sock”

          The story unfolds that there is an extra sock in her possession – one that doesn’t match the other socks selected for each family member that year.  She decided to make it a sock for the Savior in which her family would write letters and insert them into the sock – every year. 

          I thought that sounded like a cool tradition – one I wanted to incorporate into my brand new family.  But only Randy and I seemed serious about keeping the tradition and wrote faithfully for three years or so.  And I continued by myself for a while.  But then I seemed to lose track as well.  But our thoughts and words to Jesus are pretty much all year around without the sock.

Gifts  -         One of my favorite traditions is to actually take turns watching one another as we open our gifts individually.  When everyone is tearing into their own gifts they miss out on the joy of watching one another – I think.  I don’t know when it started for the family I grew up with, but I remember doing it that way more than not.  And that’s how we did it after I married into my new family.

          I thought the greatest Christmas would be if we could milk unwrapping packages all day.  I tried incorporating thoughts and scripture or singing carols between each gift.  That lasted only one Christmas.  But I finally got my wish when Jenna was a year and a half.

          Oddly enough her sisters actually spent Christmas Eve night with us – but Roland was instructed to have them home by 1:00 on Christmas afternoon.  The ward had provided many of the gifts that were under the tree – plus there were some from each sibling and the girls had brought gifts for Jenna, Roland, me and the boys.

We had set up an appointment to feed the missionaries for an afternoon lunch. And just so the girls wouldn’t miss out on seeing one another’s reactions, we had to make sure to open all the gifts that were to or from the girls before the missionaries arrived. 

We’d opened maybe 20 gifts before the missionaries arrived.  Somehow we had missed the one to the boys from Francis and Pamprin.  But Jenna took it upon herself to find and open the gift while we visited with the three Elders who came for lunch.
After the Elders left our house, we loaded up the cars.  Roland took Francis and Pamprin back to Malificent’s and I took Jaime and her brothers to my mom’s and we opened more gifts after Roland joined us.

We were at my mom’s for several hours, playing games with siblings and cousins and enjoying the holiday.  It was kind of late when we returned back to the house where Roland and I resided at the time – still many packages awaited beneath the tree.  Each we opened one at a time.  It had been an all day event!  I absolutely loved it!  And would love to do it again.

Ornaments -         And then there’s the ornaments.  Mom and Dad had no ornaments the first year they were married.  They decided each of their children would have ornaments to take with them when we left the nest. My mom and dad traditionally brought each child an ornament for every year they lived at home. 

Actually tried that one with the boys – but it didn’t take.  They had ornaments. I had ornaments – more than just the ones from home – they had doubled, quadrupled even.  And the amount of ornaments in the box always outnumbered the branches on our mostly Charlie Brown trees.

Roland was more into themed trees.  One year we had a boring one that consisted only of silver baubles.  I like the personalized ornaments much better.  The children have always decorated the tree.  I believe Jenna rearranges the ornaments on a daily basis.

Family dinner -    we do this on Christmas Eve. For the longest time we had it at the home of my great aunt on my father’s side.  It continued – even when the family seemed to outgrow the house.  10 of us became 12 and then 16, 17, 20 . . . and then it became too much work for my great aunt.  So we did it at mom’s house for a while – 25, 30, 32 – in-laws, schedules, more-than-not inconvenient weather.  And one year we said: “Maybe we can do a family bbq in July instead” which has its perks. 

We still do a family dinner, but right now it is just mom and her children and their families.  14, 15 16, 18 and growing. Neither my sister nor I have houses large enough to have us all around the table – but to take the stress off mom, we did a simple dinner at my brother’s house last year.  Their house is small, too – but somehow it seems to work.  As it would have worked at the first house that Roland and our children and I lived in.

Hats -          On Christmas morning the child who passes out the presents wears the Santa cap. Often the rest of us will wear elf or Santa caps as we open our gifts. 

Exchange - There is still gift exchange – though family to family is more of a recent thing where we draw names.  We used to get for everybody – but the economy’s made it tough.   Actually, we didn’t even draw names this year (that usually takes place on Thanksgiving)  Just as well.  We’re all on the financially strained side – three of the families are anyway.

Movies  -     I enjoy watching Christmas movies, no matter how trite and sappy.  I will always tune in to “It’s a Wonderful Life” just as Clarence jumps in the water to save George who jumps in after him.  I love that cute angel.

A tradition I have only for myself is to watch at least five different versions of the Christmas Carol between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Among my favorite are the Muppets, the American Christmas Carol, Mr. Magoo and the musical Scrooge.

And those are just a few of my personal examples. What are some of yours?