Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Magic of Santa Claus

I used to get very excited to go see Santa .... until I actually saw Santa! I never really thought the dude in the red suit at the Elk's Lodge (we didn't have a mall back then) was the Santa Claus, but I still became very, very nervous (I mean, they were surely connected somehow, right?)! I suppose things don't really change that much for children, huh? And I suppose that's part of the magic of Christmas ...

My sister and I with "Santa" in the late 1960's.

My sister's grandchildren with "Santa" in 2011.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

It Snowed!

At Christmastime of 2005, I worked at Mount Vernon Estate. Happily, today I found my Christmas letter from that year.

It snowed today! That big, beautiful snow that proves each flake is different. The kind of snow that makes you wonder why some people actually hate it. And if you catch a bit of it on your tongue ... it truly tastes like Christmas.
I was in the atrium at Mount Vernon when it started to snow. Sitting in the round, glass room made me feel as if I were caught inside a charming snow globe on someone's pine covered mantel. The trees and landscaping were absolutely, breathtakingly, incredible.
"No estate in United America is more pleasantly situated than this," is how George Washington described his home in 1793, and as Mother Nature wrapped a light, fluffly blanket of snow around Mount Vernon's shoulders ... I, too, can think of no more beautiful place on earth.
I drove down to Old Town Alexandria after work to shop and bustle as we all do this time of year. The lights through a wet windshield made the old-fashioned street scenes look like a picture postcard. I wish I could paint, because that would be my inspiration. On a night like this, I would like to bundle up, hop in the old convertible, and take a city sleigh ride, letting the snow gently fall into my hair...
Our house looked cozy when I arrived home. A dusting of white on the holly trees outside and a warm golden light peering out through the windows, like loved ones awaiting my arrival. Three dogs curled up by the fire were surprised to see me, as if they had drunk in the snowfall like warm holiday cheer. The house was quiet and peaceful in remembrance of the season.
One last look out into our beautifully picturesque Christmas neighborhood before I went to bed ... and oh yes, it snowed today!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

O Tannenbaum

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way I decorate my Christmas tree. I am not a perfectionist. My tree is not monochromatic, thematic, or even symmetrical. It's just my tree full of memories.
Each and every ornament has a beautiful glint of nostalgia for me. Even the newer ones that I purchased myself at Target, because I bought them the first year I could afford a bigger tree and needed more ornaments!
The only rules are that the angel goes on top, the white dove that was our wedding cake topper gets a prime spot in the front, and anything that makes noise goes on the bottom in hopes of catching a dog's tail from time to time.
Beyond that .... it doesn't matter. I don't care if they overlap and even the "holes" don't bother me too much. I'll hang an ornament that is broken. I still use the bread ties, pipe cleaners and curling ribbon on the oldest ones that we used in the lean years when I was a child. I still hang the ones that are so ugly we were allowed to take them to school to decorate the trees in our classrooms.
The antiques dangle in pleasant camaraderie next to the more modern pieces. My first Christmas out of the Air Force, I was broke. That year my friends, the brothers Wolff (heirs to Wolff Antiques), surprised me with a little tree filled with glorious ornaments circa 1970. I loved that surprise and I love unwrapping those ornaments every year.
No wonder a Christmas tree holds so much magic! It is filled with love and memories and reminders of yesteryear. And it absolutely glows with hopes and dreams!
Now, if I can just get Puzzle to stop being afraid of it and whip one of those low-hanging bells with her pretty little tail ...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

You Better Be Good for Goodness Sake!

I've been listening to Christmas music on Pandora while getting ready for work the last several mornings. I am attempting to induce the Christmas Spirit, and I think it's working! I just heard Santa Claus is Coming to Town and started LOLing with myself.
That song used to scare the bejesus out of me when I was little! Seriously? He sees me when I'm sleeping?! He knows if I've been bad or good?
So, you mean to tell me, all my late night lobbying to Cher and Captain Kirk ... all my well-prepared presentations to God ...
.... all for nothing?!
Santa KNOWS?!?!?!