My nephew and his family, the usual hosts for our family Christmas, will be winging their way to Europe this year and my niece who is always there with us is also going out of town. Since the death of my husband I have done very little decorating since all the festivities happen in the kids’ homes but this year an early Christmas dinner and gifts for the children will be in my home. So I pulled out some of the boxes containing Christmas past.
The crèche (navitity) my grandmother gave me over the course of several years was always the first thing to go up and this year is no exception. As I gently unwrap each piece the memories of how she gave me the lovelytableau flood my mind. I received Mary, Joseph and the baby the Christmas I was six and for every ‘giftable’ holiday after (birthdays, Christmas even tucked in my Easter basket), I received another figurine until the set was complete and consisted of the three original pieces, three wise men, three shepherds, three sheep, a ram, a cow, a donkey and an angel and I made a stable. Amo (my grandmother) died twenty-five years ago but every Christmas her memory fills my heart every time I look at the display.
The Swedish angel chimes my mother gave me for my first Christmas in my first apartment sit on the antique gate leg table. The gentle chimes as the angels turn from the heat of the four candles below remind me that my mother’s supportive love allowed me to venture out into the world with the strength and confidence she instilled in me.

Sally Smith O'Rourke
Two of my father’s favorite things were Christmas and woodworking so the sign he made for me that says ‘Santa’s Workshop’ hangs on the lintel over the dining room arch and the yard sign that says ‘this house believes in Santa’ sits next to the front porch. I smile every time I see the round little face of the Santa on the sign and the listen to the Christmas music he loved so much.
My tree (I particularly like Noble and Fraser Fir) will have ornaments that have special meaning for me as well. Several were handmade by my sister. Leslyn loved to do petit point, needlepoint and counted cross stitch so I will cherish the memories each lovely ornament inspires. One was to commemorate my graduation from nursing school; my marriage; one the birth of my grandson; so many memories hanging from the evergreen branches.
The animatronic Tiny Tim that stands on my hearth and the Christmas train that circles the base of the tree were all decorations Mike and I collected together, we’d sit and watch them in the light of the fire and the lights on the tree reflected in the glass balls and icicles. We had an open house every year to ring in the season; people used to say that our house looked like the Macy’s window in New York. Sometimes I miss those parties but entertaining just isn’t as much fun now that Mike is gone.
Christmas just hasn’t been the same since losing most of my family but I persevere and celebrate with the new generation, creating new memories. I still bake a lot and make cherry cordials because they were Mike and daddy’s favorites and everyone else seems to like them and my sister’s children help fill the void left by Mike, mom, dad and Leslyn. Someday I will join them but in the meantime I have the traditions we had and the memories we created.

As a special Christmas gift Maria and I are giving away eEditions of my Christmas book, Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage. (see rafflecopter form below)

Visit Sally's official site and blog
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You can buy the book on amazon or at Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lúthien84 said...

Before my grandma died, I remember celebrating Christmas with my uncles and aunts who have come home. As I was a young kid, I was so happy as we don't get to meet them often unless there is a big event that brings us together such as weddings and funerals.

We had turkey which my aunt reared and fatten before slaughtering it for Christmas Eve dinner. Then some of us would attend the midnight mass which was within walking distance.

I often think back about the wonderful times we are together.

junewilliams7 said...

I'm glad you have so many Christmas memories of your loved ones. Your creche scene from your grandmother is a treasure, as are the angel chimes from your mother, the signs made by your father, and the ornaments made by your sister. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time together this year! *hugs*

Joanne said...

Christmas here is in the middle of summer. My favourite Christmas memory is the year we had almost all the extended family for the BBQ lunch at a local island picnic area. Almost all the cousins and aunts and uncles included - except the two who were finishing the haymaking! That was one of the last times we had so many gathered together and so many generations.

maribea said...

Christmas is such a special period of time. Now that I live in another country, I find myself trying to explain to foreigners what Christmas was and is in my family in Italy...and I remember the smell of the wood burning in the fireplace, the potatoes cooking under the ashes, the old ones playing cards and the children unwrapping presents...and all family singing as one while putting the Holy Child in our Nativity...

maribea said...

Thank youuuuuu. I am so happy to win. I am spending Christmas with my family back at home. I cant wait until I read it.
Merry Christmas to you all.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I missed the giveaway, but the book does look great and perfect for this time of year. I loved this post from the author and felt like I know her a bit after reading this. I also have Swedish angel chimes and find them so peaceful. They remind me of Christmases past and I passed a set on to a Swedish friend this year.

Thanks for sharing.