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Is it time to ornament the tree?

December 2nd, 2009 by judytalks

 I keep my Christmas tree assembled and covered with a sheet all year, alongside the 4 large boxes that hold the rest of the Christmas stuff. My assortment includes items I’ve made myself, gifts from others, and a box of ornaments, many of them made by my children when they were small. All of them are put on the tree every year, where guests and family alike can ooh and aah or just wonder “what in the world is that?” We have ice skates made with paper clips, reindeer fashioned from clothespins – you get the idea. There also are beautiful glass balls, feathery birds, and the whole array of images that grace a tree. The act of decorating my tree each year is the beginning of the Christmas celebration. My memory bank brings to mind the giver or maker of the ornament, its age, if it has suffered any calamities – a little Elmer’s Glue- and how many years I’ve been decorating a home for the Holidays.

Many years ago, I took my youngest son, then about 8, upstairs to the closet where my boxes were kept and said, “Guess what we’re going to do?” Of course, he knew what time of year it was and said, “Is it time to ornament the tree?” I’ve thought of it that way ever since.

When I lived in Minnesota, I appreciated snow on the tree branches and a nip in the air. Now that I live in sunny Arizona, I still keep up all my traditions and have resisted the temptation to decorate a cactus, as some here do.

Fun and festivities are for everyone, but they are especially magical for children. The wonder of stories, sparkly stars and brightly decorated trees light up their lives and make troubles disappear.

That’s true for grownups too. Psychology tells us that when people have something to look forward to, it eases the burden of loss, sadness, calamity, or just a really down day. So keep your cherished keepsakes close at hand. It doesn’t have to be Christmas to ornament your tree.

Here’s to angels with string hair.

Judy

Twas the Week Before Christmas

December 19th, 2008 by judytalks

I have friends who finish all their shopping by Thanksgiving, write cards, plan menus and parties early in December and seem to sail through the Holidays.
I’m not one of those people. Last minute rushes seem more “festive” to me. We’re leaving tomorrow for Minnesota amidst forecasts of blizzards and very cold weather.
I’ve talked recently about grief and the Holidays and want to touch base on that subject. Anyone who has faced celebrations following the loss of a loved one knows how painful and difficult it is. Seek solace and comfort from friends and family members,s even if they don’t understand and say the wrong things. they truly care about you. Please make a point to celebrate at least one tradition that brings you joy and a sense of continuity in your life.
The wonder of Christmas belongs to wide-eyed children who refuse to believe that reindeer can’t fly. Science tells us that bumblebees can’t either. I leave it up to you!
While in the Twin Cities, I will meet with my editor to discuss the manuscript for my next book. The subject is about how the death of a parent affects children, and I’m anxious to get it polished and out to the public. We don’t deal well in our society with the reality of loss. As an educator, I hope to make some changes in our thinking.
Try to spend time this season with kids. They really know how to celebrate.
I wish everyone a joyous Holiday.
Judy

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