People always say that those first holidays are rough after you lose someone---it’s almost a cliché. I should have expected it but I hadn’t---so I felt a bit blindsided by my emotions on my first Thanksgiving without my mom. Last year we were in Chicago and helped my parents host 30 people---that's just my siblings and their children and that still wasn’t all of us. This year’s Thanksgiving was decidedly quieter and it was lovely, but it was also incredibly sad.
I’m torn between wishing we were going to be in Chicago this Christmas so we could be with my dad and my brothers and sisters,----and being grateful that we won’t be because by being far away, I can pretend that she is still there, baking Irish Brack for everyone, with seven-layer-cookies in the oven, her holiday village all set up and Andrea Bocelli in the background. It doesn't matter if it’s been years since she was able to bake those raisin-filled cakes; I can still imagine her healthy and getting so excited for her annual Christmas Eve gathering of grandchildren.
Left to Right: That’s me in braids, with our basset hound Wilma in front of us, John, Karen, Eileen, Elizabeth, and Erin. Maybe 1977?
I’m grateful for the magic my mom created for us every Christmas as kids. I’m grateful that Aidan’s and Nolan’s first Christmases were celebrated in Chicago. I’m grateful my brother Kevin and sister Elizabeth flew in last Christmas, making the holiday so special for Mom. I’m grateful for the memories and the traditions, new and old, that make my mom part of our holidays.
In case you too are finding the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas, from what was to what is, a bit harder than normal this year, or I've depressed you with my time-out from baby posts, here’s a few things to make you smile:
1. Turkey Tunes. Jimmy Fallon’s rendition of We Are the Champions was the hit of the Macy’s Parade with my boys, and they loved his holiday version of all their pop favorites even more.
2. Cookie Monster Humor
3. Tara Whitney’s Elf Bernard
I adore Tara Whitney in general, and her Bernard is much more original than the Elf on a Shelf phenomenon. Her post from 2010 may be what made me think an Elf on a Shelf would be a good gift for my friend Angie. Christmas isn’t Angie’s favorite to begin with, and then I gave her one more thing to add to her to-do list---because a Christmas elf is more planning, more work. We joked about it this fall, and I realized I made a classic gift mistake---giving something I wanted so much that I couldn't imagine another person not wanting. So I ordered this cheaper elf for our family: The Elf on the Shelf: Plushee Pals 19 Inch Elf Light Skin---and I’m putting Aidan in charge of his magic. Tara’s version is lovely and I’ll be lifting lots of her ideas.
I know you don’t like to post comments (because I see how many people visit here and don’t leave comments!) but I’d still like to hear how you are planning to add some magic to your holiday this year.
If you missed the Tiny Prints Cyber Monday 30% Sitewide Sale, they extended it for another two days. You can still get a great deal on Christmas cards, Hanukkah cards, holiday party invitations, custom photo gifts...everything on their site is on sale until the end of today November 29. Just use the promo code CB12 when you checkout to get 30% off your entire order.
We just got our cards in the mail yesterday---now the challenge is to carve out time to write them! I really do like the quality of Tiny Prints cards. Their site is super easy to use and you can personalize everything by writing your own text, uploading pictures, and making everything uniquely you.
If you miss today's 30% deal, I believe this weekend the promotion will continue as 25% off sitewide with the code: WKDSALE1112 That's only good Friday through Sunday.