Christmas Sweet

 Janice C. Kemp

Copyright 1999 by Janice C. Kemp
Handmade orniment by Travis Loller.  Photo owned by Richard Loller 
Photo of handmade Christman orniment by Travis Loller.  (c) 2004 by Richard Loller.

Fa la la la la la la la la, "Oh, how I love Christmas music!" I think one of my favorite things at Christmas is the beautiful Christmas music on the radio, and at church. I love hearing and singing "Oh, Holy Night". When I was younger, a group of us would go caroling from the church and that was so much fun to me. It gave me such Christmas spirit!

Making Christmas ornaments is another favorite. My children and I used to hand paint wooden ornaments. The ornaments that I cherish are those that my children made for me, not the collector items you find on a store shelf. I have special ornaments on my tree that the children made at school or at church. I have little ornaments with their tiny handprints. The hard part was getting some of these ornaments back after my divorce. My ex-husband had them all as I didn't think about Christmas in May when we separated. He chose to be a stubborn old bull and would not allow me to have any of my precious children's ornaments. As each year sped by, my daughter would be able to get a few from her dad and then she so graciously passed them on to me as she knew how much I longed to have some of those precious ornaments back on my tree.

I also have a few ornaments that once belonged to my Grandmother. They are faded and old but cherished. They tell the story of days gone by. They tell of family get-togethers, of wonderful family dinners and times when all of my aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, mom and dad were all together for one big wonderful Christmas time together. I did not realize how rare and cherished those times were until now.

Each year my daughter and I seek new ideas for hand made ornaments that we can make. One year we made beautiful white angel ornaments from crocheting thread with a little foam head, and added some beautiful red ribbon for the finishing touch. We have made dough ornaments and we made reindeer ornaments from clothespins. I bought some clothespins this year for my grandson and I to make reindeer ornaments together.

One year I made beautiful red quilted satin stockings for each one of us. I made one for mommy, one for daddy, one for Angie and one for Jeremy. I even embroidered our names as such on each stocking. We used them for several years. The funny thing is that when my husband and I got a divorce I forgot to split our Christmas decorations and my ex-husband uses them with his new wife! My daughter clued me in on this bit of information. I guess as long as they say "mommy" and "daddy", it can apply to most any adult.

Baking is another joy to me. I enjoy making divinity, fudge, Mississippi Mud cake, lemon squares, and those wonderful date nut balls! Ummmm, makes my mouth water. I am also game to try new recipes especially during the holiday season. Last year, I made hugs and kisses cheese cakes. They were scrumptious. I have about worn out the recipe!

Shopping? No drudgery to me. I love it! I even love getting in the hustle and bustle at the crowded mall! I may be a little touched in the head!

Decorating? Oh the fun. I guess I inherited the desire to decorate from my grandmother who loved to decorate. Remember the great big huge colored bulbs that everyone placed on their trees? Remember those white trees that came out and the silver trees that rotated with colored lights reflecting on them? We never had one of those fancy trees but I used to see them through the windows in other people's homes, as we would ride by viewing Christmas lights at night. The first year I was married, we could not afford lights so we can had 2 sets of colored balls. We had a set of red sparkle balls, and a set of green satin balls. I still have some of those ornaments and they are very special.

The tradition of piling the kids in the car and going to look at Christmas lights was always fun. I still love to get my cousins, sisters, grandchildren or whomever and take a ride to the old Lakeview Estates and see if the Christmas tree is still out floating on the lake. Such a pretty sight! There was one house way up on the top of a hill that had a huge tree in their yard like you see in the Smokey Mountains and it was always decorated so pretty. That house also had a Santa and a sleigh on top of the roof. What wonderment in the eyes of a child.

Family time at Christmas is major with me. At my mom's house, with six kids, their spouses, friends, and/or significant others, grandkids, great grandkids, and usually a few strays thrown in make for a very interesting Christmas Eve. Every one talks at once. Not all of us eat at the same time nor arrive at the same time. There is no order and usually no one knows who got what and sometimes it is hard to keep up with your gifts under all the mountains of paper in the floor. I know, it sounds like Christmas in a tornado and maybe it is but it works for us.

Christmas cards, how could I not mention Christmas cards. My grandmother always mailed Christmas cards and they were proudly displayed in the living room for all to see. I love to send and receive Christmas Cards. I like the funny ones, the religious ones, and the cards with the pictures on the front, the cards with special little notes about family, and the big beautiful elaborate cards that the insurance companies send you. Heck, I guess if I received a card from someone I don't know by accident I would still display the card! I absolutely adore the new musical cards. They just cost so much!

I usually have a live Christmas Tree. I go to Marvins and buy an inexpensive tree for about $12.88. I'm a little troubled about going there this year because for the last two years my daughter's father has bought his trees from Marvins and after only a few days of being decorated, all the needles fell off and he had to take everything down, take the tree back and redecorate, so says my daughter. That has to take some joy out of Christmas!

I do love Christmas. You hear people say it's not about getting but giving. Yes, indeed, I love to give gifts, and bake cookies, and decorate, and ride around looking at the lights. I love wrapping presents and burning candles while listening to some beautiful Christmas music. My very favorite time of Christmas is being with my children and grand-children! Besides, I have a wish list too and I am always sure to get a present when they come! HA!

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