Tag Archives: Christmas Traditions

Decorating With Grandma. Again.

Once upon a time my mother, two sisters-in-law, & I decided to start a new Christmas tradition. We each crafted a handmade ornament to hang on our trees. Four ornaments total. One for Mother, one each for sisters-in-law Pam & Nancy, & one for me to keep.

That first year, everyone made a beautiful ornament. We wrapped, ribboned, & readied them for their tah-dah moments, opening them up with anticipation. Mother’s, made of felt & sequins, elicited smiles from us as they sparkled with Christmas spirit. Pam stitched up a gingerbread man that quickly became a favorite. Nancy’s cross-stitch stunner dazzled us. Each one a treasure, beginning a family legacy.

Except for mine. Without going into detail, it was…unfortunate. My kind relatives uttered undeserved oos & aws over it, but I wasn’t fooled.

You might think these pictured are my handiwork. But no. They are more winsome than what I produced. Over the years, I tried to make an angel out of coffee filters, a salt dough ginger-boy (who was too heavy for the branch), a ball glitter-glued to gruesome heights, & a snowman who looked rather like Bumble, the Abominable Snowmonster of the North. But none turned out well.

Still, I yenned to fashion a gingerbread man as cute as Pam’s. Maybe a ginger-girl?

Handmade UGLY Gingerbread Girl

Oh, my goodness! It didn’t work out for me. (Sigh.) Another awkward attempt.

Eventually, we each fell away from the tradition. The task too time consuming, I fell first, followed by the others. Except for my mother, who faithfully crafted her ornaments year after year, gifting them to us joyfully, without comment on our lack of reciprocation.

We looked forward to receiving them & each ended up with a collection of her creations. Hours & hours of close work, stitching far into the nights to keep her end of the bargain, though we didn’t keep ours.

Every Christmas, when we unpack the precious ornaments, we enjoy the blessing anew. And remember the legacy of our Mother’s abiding love.



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A New Tradition: Holiday Mail for Heroes

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey

Traditions come to the fore when family gets together on holidays. Like you, we have ours. Long-loved practices we cannot wait to practice again.

As usual, our Thanksgiving table was set in splendor, designed by my daughter, Heidi, who makes everything beautiful. Fresh flowers in silver vases, chargers giving the plates even more importance, flickering candles, and lacy leaves scattered about. She added our usual name-tags, each decorated with fall cutouts and personalized with winsome descriptions: Extraordinary Eric, Debonair Dietmar, Exquisite Essie, Magical Maya, Sweet Sidney, and more. Mine was Creative Cathy.

Though Heidi was really the creative one.

In the kitchen, my son-in-law Eric sliced the plump turkey he had cooked; the aroma told us dinner was ready. Soon we stood around the table, holding hands, one by one expressing the gratitude in our hearts.

After giving thanks, we tucked in, enjoying our traditional dishes, turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, fresh green salad, corn pudding, Parmesan asparagus, grilled artichoke hearts, and Marcia’s famous Jell-O.

Once we relaxed with pumpkin and apple pie, sipping coffee and cranberry-apple cider, Heidi announced a new tradition for us to practice. Recently, she had seen a moving video of wounded soldiers, in hospital, lonely and away from home for the holidays. Yet cheered by Christmas cards sent from their grateful countrymen. And their country’s children.

Cards for the Troops sign

Six-year-old Sidney made a great sign for us.

What a great idea for us, Heidi thought. We could make our own cards! So in preparation, she spent many evenings at work on her Cricut, cutting out cards and ho-ho-ho designs.She gathered up festive stickers and colored pens. On Thanksgiving day, she asked her wee daughter to make a sign to hang over the kitchen table.

The children got busy and made a couple cards each.

Heartfelt Thanks from Linnea.

Heartfelt Thanks from Linnea.

Children working on cards

The Kids Got to Work!


Their messages were strangely mature in spite of their youth. Full of respect and gratitude. Though my two-year-old grandson went wild slapping happy Santas and candy cane stickers all over his card, inside and out.

Busy Cardmakers

Busy Cardmakers

Basket of Cards for the Troops.

Basket of Cards for the Troops.

Soon the adults took over the table and made more cards. We didn’t stop until we ran out of card stock and filled a basket with our warm wishes.

I hope we do it every Thanksgiving. A new tradition, worthy of much practice.




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