Just Preparing for the Holidays!

I’m not sure I even have the evidence of last year’s holiday season properly stored away and here it is time to drag all that stuff out again! Well, the spiral notebook is coming out and my holiday lists begin. Over the last few months, my tidy table in the workplace has been piliing up with completed gift projects, books for avid reader friends, Post-It notes to remind me where the Post-It notes are stored, ingredients for holiday menus, piles of ‘gotta try this’ on Thanksgiving/Christmas, and a bouquet of artificial flowers. I do not care for artificial flowers but my cats are afraid of them so that is my cat repellant of of choice.

I do have most of my shopping done as I started the week after Christmas last year. I never see something and think, “Remember to get one of those for whoever,” but always purchase it at time of sighting because I will either forget to put in on the list . . . or lose the list!

My freezer is ready for holiday baking . . . mostly. Butter is expensive so I’ve been stockpiling it in the freezer since June along with chocolate chips and baking chocolate. I have way too much Christmas wrap so don’t NEED to buy any but probably will if it is a.) unique and different, b.) on sale or c.)both.

I just finished packing my Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoeboxes and ended up packing two more than planned . . .overpurchased as I can’t resist buying for little children since mine are all grown up.

Hopefully and happily looking forward to Thanksgiving, my favorite meal to prepare of the year. I’ve been doing it since I was twelve years old and look foreward to it every year especially if I have a crowd around the table. And, that gives me the opportunity to start another list. My Thanksgiving list turns into the plural as I need the shopping list, the prep list for timing the food preparation, and the timing list for the actual day as my husband and I have some differences of opinion on who gets the oven first.

Times do be a changing, however, when it comes to holiday meals as one of our guests is a vegetarian, one is a total vegan, and my husband doesn’t eat sugar or gluten. My family and guests, however, are not overall picky eaters and you will find the carnivores enjoying some of the vegan/vegetarian options, too.

Samaritan’s Christmas Shoebox Time!

Operation Christmas Child®

Where has the year gone! It is already reminding us that Christmas is around the corner AND time to start packing Christmas Shoeboxes for the mission children overseas and other needy places. If you check out the pictures on the site, you will not be able to stop smiling as the children open their boxes to more fun and treasures they have probably seen in a lifetime at this point in time.

The computer site gives you all the information you need down to where to buy/order the necessary shoeboxes, what and what not to include, and many suggestions for shopping ideas. Don’t forget to include your young children in the process. It helps them to realize the blessing they have in life as they help you make a few, small dreams come true for children in other countries.

Addresses for times and drop-off places are are the site. Since a convenient one is near my husband’s office, he has been my carrier for the last few years and has come to enjoy the experience. They even have the people who come in join in a prayer for their own intentions and for the children who will be receiving the boxes.

My helpful suggestion. It is best to use one of the prescribed boxes but when you go shopping for items to fill the box, borrow a plastic shoebox from the store shelf as you go along to get an idea of how much you can put in a box about that size. The second half of my suggestion? Even though you CAN use a plastic shoe box, the new boxes you can order from the site are a bit bigger and easier to fill, festive and colorful. AND, you can always put some pretty stickers on the outside of your box, too.

I just ordered my shipping stickers for eight boxes this year. My husband is retiring next year and income will be less so we are going with sending extra this year.

Christmas Brings on the Memories . . .

As we grow older, we discover that each new Christmas sharply brings to mind the people who are no longerĀ  gathered around the Christmas dinner table and festive tree any longer. Although, we never stop thinking about them, the joys of the season seem to accentuate the empty ache in our hearts.

For the people who don’t see past the decorations and mad shopping preceding the days to the ‘reason for the season’, one has to feel sorry for them. When we take note of the changes that are felt more strongly in the midst of joy, we have to solace of knowing that we can pray for their souls and still send them good wishes and kind thoughts in spite of their physical absence. For those who believe that life is terminal as we cease to exist the moment we close our eyes in death, you have to wonder how they cope with such a finality without hope.

Given these thoughts, I think that is why I was actually thankful that two of my offspring decided to come early and grace the Christmas season in December. I suppose, to them, it is often an inconvenience in having to share the holiday. I look at it as a happiness to take the edge off the people in my life that can only be here my thoughts and prayers.

 

A Blessed Christmas!

Advent . . . a time of waiting and a time of preparing. If we gave sufficient time to the spiritual aspect as well as the holiday/baking/gift given perspective, one should now beĀ  with a sense of peace and excitement about what tomorrow will bring.

My husband decided to spend Christmas Eve (AFTER he helps with the housecleaning!), creating a Panettone with my daughter. They have been glued to the bread book all week reading and rereading the directions and lining up ingredients. The recipe calls for a ‘starter’. To those uninitiated in the ins and outs of breadmaking, there are times when a recipe calls for nurturing a mixture of water and yeast into a gentle rise which will be the leavening ingredient in the final outcome. My daughter is 28 years old but decided that the starter needed a name so they have been periodically checking on Hector. He is doing fine, by the way.

Earlier in the month, my daughter and I spent her day off from work icing cut out cookies and the four hours it took were amazingly fun as we talked about things, admired each other’s handiwork and overindulged in edible glitter and sparkles for the cookies.

We plan to attend Mass on Christmas Day and then my job will be preparing a beef roast along with two vegan dishes for my son who went vegan a couple of years ago. After that, presents and another set of memories until, God Willing, we make some more memories throughout 2019 culminating in another Christmas together.