Silver Stars, Jingle Bells & Silence.

All is quiet today. 

The gifts were all unwrapped yesterday, the squeals of joy still echoing softly within my memories. 

The food, copious amounts of holiday delectables, were all devoured, the leftovers packed & sent along, saving only a few, choice morsels for myself.

The hugs & kisses warm me when I think back, bringing a lump to my throat & a gleam to my eye, as I know it’ll be a long stretch before it happens again.

But yesterday was successful and merry, just what I wanted for my Solstice gift.

And today…I spend alone.

You see, I am Pagan. I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Mine happened days ago, on the 21st, the Winter/Yule Solstice. To me, it is a time of homemade, heart-made gifts, not all of the tangible & able to be wrapped in brightly -colored paper. Sometimes, it’s as simple as someone not-Pagan remembering to wish me a “Blessed Yule”. It shows they were thinking of me, & thoughtful enough to remember that my holidays are different, but are not forgotten.

Other times, it’s a child offering their help with preparations, without being asked, &/or just doing something helpful without my knowledge. 

I do participate in the tradition of gift-giving, & my family has done this on Xmas Eve for many years. There are many reasons for this, but the simplest is that my children all go to their fathers’ on Xmas Day. 

So, Xmas Day is my Quiet Day.

A day of contemplation & relaxation. One I usually spend in decadent repose, lounging in my jammies, hair wild from sleep & no desire to “fix it”.

A day of grazing on leftover treats…a little pumpkin pie for lunch, some fudge for snack…maybe some stuffing, veggies & mashed potatoes mixed together with turkey for supper. 

I miss my kids, don’t get me wrong. 

I loved having all 3 home again, noisy & raucous, leaving little messes lying around of drink cups & my grandson’s toys. It’s odd to not hear him saying “Gramma…you know what-uh?” 

Speed Racer in his race car, complete with padded “helmet”.

But, last night, after all the hustle & bustle of the rituals of food & gifts… There was the chaos of the leave-taking. Packing items for travel, packaging leftovers for a long haul to Washington for EldestDaughter & her SO, for the shorter trek for YoungerDaughter back to her apartment, & getting OnlySon ready to go to his father’s.

And…when all had departed for their next destinations, I was left staring at the silent night, inside and out.

The silver Star atop my tree will join the jingle bells I had hanging next to the door – both will be put away tonight, clearing the holiday decorations swiftly, now that the revelers have fled.

And I spend today alone, watching the silent snow fall, content with yesterday’s success, mourning it’s passing, & hoping for the new year to be brighter.

Happy Holidays, all.

(EldestDaughter, OnlySon, & YoungerDaughter)

From our homes & hearts to yours.

EldestDaughter, SO, & Grandson. (Newest grandson also in picture, but not snuggleable till Feb. release date!)

May your days be Merry & Bright!

It’s the Holiday season – and Whoopty Doo!

Happy Yule to all my Pagan readers out there!

Today is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.

Up here in the Northern plains, we’ve been having some unseasonably warm weather, with temps running from the high 20s to the low 40s (meaning snow melting!)  I’m tickled about this fact, but my kids would rather have the whole “White Christmas” thing.  I told them we have the movie, we can pretend.  (They didn’t go for that very well, ingrates!  Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye should mean something, danggit!)

I’m still working on crafts for holiday presents… and yes, we will be going to my parents’ house for Christmas get-together.  Most of the rest of my family is Christian, so we celebrate with them, and I celebrate on my own (or with chosen pagan family) for Yule.

May your days be bright and warm, may your nights be full of wonderful dreams, and may your holidays be filled with laughter, love and light!

Blessed BE!

I’m Wishing for a Yule-ish X-mas

We’ve got the white stuff on the ground, so I don’t need to wish for that.

The tree is up, decorated, lit.

Plans are being made and finalized, gifts are being bought. 

Holiday parties are being attended and children are getting antsy.

And still, I’m longing for a simpler thing.

Part of my personal holiday traditions is to make a certain amount of gifts for friends and family alike.  Some people get home-made, some get purchased.  It all depends on what kind of time-line I have, whether I think they’ll be delighted or insulted by a hand-made gift, and how much I give a crap about them.

Yeah, I’ve gotta care to give you something I made with my two-own.

My OtherHalf’s cousin and his wife send little gifts to us every year from Japan.  They take the time, and the effort to pick up little things – things that probably don’t cost that much over there, but are heartfelt adored and enjoyed by my children here.  To me, that merits some giving-a-crap.  So this year, I’m making them a package of things.  For their little boy, who just turned 1 in September, I’m sending this:  I’ve made name plaques for my nieces before, and now I’ve made one for cousin Luke, complete with “lucky cricket”.  I just hope Miho (Luke’s mama) likes it!

I’m also going to be getting some little “North Dakota” things for George and Miho themselves.  There are stores here that sell “Made in North Dakota” stuff, so I’ma go there to find them some things from “home”. 

There are other projects in the works, but they’re not finished yet, so I don’t want to post them.  There are also a couple of things I’m working on that are going to people that read this thing, so I don’t want them to find out early what they’re getting! (Sparrow!  No peeking!)

I told a family member the other day that I wish, just for one year, that we could do an old-fashioned Yule-type holiday.  That we would only make presents for one another.  You want to give me something?  Make me something.  A drawing, a story, a plate of cookies, or some other type of hand-made thing. 

I’m tired of always hearing that more expensive means it’s better, right?

I’m tired of trying to constantly make sure that all the children are having approximately the same amount spent on each of them.  Sometimes, it just doesn’t come out fair.

And I’m tired of being judged by certain people on how much gets spent for the holiday on them.  How much money I spend doesn’t necessarily reflect how much I care.  Sometimes, it’s about the time I spent, not about how much I spent.

Sometimes, less is better.

Happy Yule season, everyone!

Something’s Humbuggin’ Me

I’m a fan of the holiday season.  I love the colors, the lights, the smell of the gingerbread ornaments hanging on my tree, the purity of the snow falling.

I was always the kid that started playing the Chipmunks Christmas 8-track on Dec. 1.

THIS is the version I had!

  Getting everyone into the right frame of mind for snow, holly, tinsel, ornaments and presents, of course!

Our family would put up the decorations and the tree the day after Thanksgiving.  It was just one of our traditions, and one that my kids still love today.  I’m just glad that I can trust them to put up the tree now, and don’t have to do it all myself!

Because, the last couple of years, I’ve been humbugged.

*The tree would have stayed in the box.  Maayyybe I would have gotten out our white table-top tree, and found a place to set it up.

*Most of the ornaments would have gone unused this year.  YoungerDaughter would have been highly disappointed in that.  She has to make sure that every single ornament gets some holiday love, and gets placed juuust right on the tree. 

*I cringe when I hear carols on the radio, and immediately change the channel.

*I put off shopping for the presents I have to get in person (not online, I LOVE online shopping!), till the very last minute, usually when they thing they want isn’t available, or I can only find 1 when I need 2.

*I had the children put up all the holiday decorations, and we haven’t even hung the outside lights yet this year.  (It’s always my job to hang the outside lights, and I simply haven’t felt like doing it.)

*I am working on holiday cards this year, and I will get them sent out.  This alone says that something is wrong.  I never get cards actually done.  I always say I’m sending them, and I even get them written.  They just never seem to make it in the mail, for some reason.  But this year, I’m ahead of the game.  I’m actually going to get stamps. Bah, Humbug.

I’m not quite sure why I’m so grouchy about the holidays.  I think it’s a lot of little things that have been building for a while, coupled with the negative spin that got put on the festivities last year, due to a family dust-up. 

I just wish I could get back to the holidays I used to love.  Simple, uncomplicated, and spent lying under the tree, listening to Alvin, Simon & Theodore, tellin’ me about how Rudolph is like George Washington…