Okay y’all – I need a caption for this photo of Bear. On your mark, get set, go!
Merry Christmas! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I wish you and your loved ones a happy, peaceful holiday season.
I pulled this gift box out to use while wrapping presents. I then spent several minutes wondering why a box specifically designed for Christmas would say “Oy, oy, oy”. It took longer than it probably should have for me to realize the lid was upside down; it actually says “Ho, ho, ho”.😂🙄🤦♀️
Traditions are important to me, holiday traditions especially so. One of the first times I remember being impacted by a change to tradition was as a child. When I was young, my mama made Stollen, a German bread, every Christmas as a nod to our German ancestry. The year she announced that she wasn’t going to make it anymore, I was crushed. It wasn’t so much that I missed the bread; I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t even like Stollen. What I missed was losing something that was always there, or at least had been as long as I could remember. It took until I became an adult to realize that yes, traditions are important, but flexibility with those traditions is also important. A tradition that is too rigid to change is a tradition that becomes a chore instead of a joy. My mama realized this, hence her decision to no longer make Stollen.
After our oldest son’s first Christmas, Kenn and I created what would become one of the first holiday traditions for our small family. After spending that Christmas on the road running from one family’s house to another and not having any time to enjoy the day or each other we decided that our future Christmases would be spent at home; if our parents wanted to see us on Christmas day, they could come to us. (We all lived within 20 miles or so of each other; it’s not like we were expecting anyone to fly across the country.) That tradition has remained in effect all of these years. Now that our sons are grown and one has a family of his own, that tradition may change. If/when it does, we will go with the flow.
One of the first changes I made to one of our own traditions involved our Christmas tree. I had had a love/hate relationship with Christmas trees for a long time. I loved the finished result but my perfectionist tendencies when it came to getting the lights and garland “just so” tended to turn me into a Grinch. Add to the mix cats who live (and love) to knock ornaments off the tree and rearrange the garland daily and some days having a tree was just exhausting. Once the kids were no longer interested in helping decorate the tree, I really wasn’t enthusiastic about going through the steps anymore. Things kind of came to a head in 2016, the year my daddy died. There was a lot of “life” and loss that year and I just didn’t have it in me to deal with a Christmas tree. Kenn disagreed which was fine. I told him we could have a tree but he would be responsible for all of it: the lights, garland, decorations and re-decorating it daily. Eventually I got Kenn to understand that my lack of desire to have a tree had nothing to do with grief (even though that was more than enough), it was more the culmination of years of stress. Yes, the grief was probably the final straw but it wasn’t the ultimate cause of my lack of interest. So, in 2016, we purchased a pallet tree. No garland, lights, or decorations required. Instead, I hung the Christmas cards we received from the strings on the tree.
In 2017, we purchased a 4 foot, pre-lit tree and haven’t looked back. I love our small tree and have no desire to ever go back to a larger one.
However, one of our traditions is designed to change every year and then to get thrown away. You see, I love plates for every occasion but have no interest in spending money on dishes that only get used once a year; I also have no interest in finding storage for them. However, I have found a way to indulge my love: Hobby Lobby always has a wonderful selection of seasonal paper plates. So, every Thanksgiving and Christmas I indulge in a new set of plates and napkins. Not only do I get to enjoy a different design every year but we get to enjoy gathering with our family without the worry of having to run the dishwasher constantly.
So, what’s the point of this post? It’s just a friendly reminder to not let yourself get locked into traditions that no longer have the meaning they once did. It’s okay to change things up. Do what makes you happy – even if you throw it away afterward.😉
Until next time, take care, happy trails, and Merry Christmas!
This is Bear’s 2nd Christmas. He was just as excited to help with the Christmas tree this year as he was last year.😂
Quoddy Head State Park is located in Lubec, Maine and is the easternmost point of the contiguous United States; a lighthouse was constructed at the site in 1808.
A tiny visitor’s center and park ranger residence are located at the lighthouse and there are a couple of trails along the coast. This is where I got my first look at the rocky coast of Maine and it was love at first sight.🥰 At this point, I could overwhelm you with photos of the coast but I’ll try to limit myself to a few favorites.
We returned the next morning to watch the sunrise. Now, I am not a morning person at the best of times so getting up at o dark thirty while on vacation wasn’t my idea of fun, it was definitely worth it. I mean, if you’re going to take a trip to the easternmost point in the US, you may as well make it a point to be one of the first people in the country to see the sunrise! On our way to the park I got my first glimpse of a porcupine when one waddled out into the road in front of us. (Don’t worry, we didn’t hit him.) It was pretty exciting for me; we don’t have porcupines in Georgia! There were about 6 others at the park (people, not porcupines) with the same idea. It was quiet as we all found the locations from which we would watch and wait. Did I mention that it was worth getting up so early?
Now, one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me involves the above photo of the sunrise. I posted this photo on my Twitter account and got a message from the The Weather Channel asking for my permission to use it on the air! How cool is that? Of course I gave them the necessary permission. Now, I don’t know if they did use it because we hadn’t even bothered to set up our satellite dish and my Twitter account (@AuthorIzzy) is in the name of my writing persona so she is the one who would have been cited on the air, but I don’t care; I still know it was me.
The next day, our last in the Lubec area, we spent some time hiking one of the trails at the Cutler Preserve. We met a local couple, Nancy and Rowland, and had a good time chatting with them as we hiked a trail to the coast. The waters were much calmer and we were surprised to see it had a beautiful blue color now that it wasn’t so grumpy.
It was also during this time that we got one of those reminders that life doesn’t stop just because of vacation. Our oldest son texted to tell us that his wife had been admitted to the hospital. I felt so helpless because we were over 2,000 miles away and unable to help him with their son. I was also assailing the gates of heaven with prayers for the safety of both our daughter-in-law and the twins she is carrying. After a few scary hours we received word that the babies were fine and daughter-in-law was going to be okay; she was diagnosed with gallstones and was hospitalized for a couple of days for observation. Thank you Jesus! (At the time of this writing, she is now 29 weeks pregnant and we look forward to welcoming the twins in the January/February 2022 time frame.)
Until next time, take care and happy trails!
🎵 You better watch out, you better not cry, Santa’s amassing his army and he’s ready to fly 🎵