Photo Diary | All The Twinkling Lights |

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Christmas week! Are you ready? I think I am finally ready for Christmas. Logistically I've been ready for about a week. But the whole 'spirit of Christmas' had been eluding me no matter how many hot chocolates I guzzled, how many christmas gifts I wrapped, how many cookie scented candles I burned, and no matter how many times I tried to watch Elf

I could easily fall on the side of a Christmas cynic, generally speaking. I get the cynicism for Christmas. There are many valid reasons for one to be grim about the holidays. But. I don't fall on that side of the fence. I love Christmas. One I have kids. Christmas for kids is magical. A month of watching the same movies repeatedly, and rather bemoaning from parents, actual excitement because they watched Rudolph when they were little too. Buying presents, looking at lights, making and eating more cookies than a kid normally gets in a year, tying bows, spending time together as a family, getting out of school for two weeks, visiting Santa, believing in reindeer, waiting for the big day. These are all things I loved about Christmas and I just want to wave my mom wand around and sprinkle magical snow dust on everything around them. But this year, like I said, it wasn't happening. I was waving half-heartedly and while doing so, instead of counting down the days to Christmas, I was counting the days until it was over. So not me. 

So this weekend I decided to just give it my all. I boxed up the fake tree and found a lot that had one scraggly little tree left, had it tied on my car and made the switch (turned out it was my fake trees doppelganger. no one even noticed. but the pine scent continues to fill the air nonetheless). I watched Home Alone 1 and 2, The Family Stone, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I wrapped presents and choked down soynog. I filled out Christmas cards and bought another cookie scented candle. I spent an hour fighting with some clips of cedar to decorate my mantle just so. It was coming together but, still, my brain was thinking only a week now (until it's over!). 

Saturday morning my neighbor Jack stopped by, we got to talking and the subject of Christmas came up of course, and we both agreed that it just felt a little less Christmassy this year. So he said, "You know what we need to do? We need to go look at lights and I know just the house to go see." So later that evening we piled into his truck and he started heading to the neighborhood where I grew up. He was telling me about this house and it started to sound more and more familiar. When we got there I realized it was the same house my grandfather always took me to when I was a little girl. The house and property is covered in lights. Top to bottom and side to side. They build window scenes in the living room windows with circling trains, animatronic dolls that nod and bears that pop out of tree stumps. For years I've wondered if this place still existed, wished I would have asked my grandfather about it (what's the address!), even questioned if I remembered it right at all. Was it real? Was it as amazing as my memory led me to believe? However, now that this memory was nearing 30 years old since I'd last been there, I figured while the memory likely did exist, the lights and dolls and trains and bears probably didn't anymore. But it did. It does. And it was just as magical. Maybe even more so because when I came home it definitely felt a little bit more like Christmas. 


  1. I feel really scattered this year too. Moderately Christmassy, but mostly scattered. We haven't watched Elf yet. :( But oh, these lights! I love that your neighbor took you to these lights and that they were connected to your childhood. I just love it. That's like the best present of all.

  2. that's a nice story. must be nice to still be so close to where you grow up and be able to enjoy these memories. I don't have any of this. might be one of the reasons I'm not keen on family or christmas. I'm happy to say I'm not a xmas cynic anymore either. I simply ignore it as best as I can. no hard feelings anymore either. I guess once I stopped trying to be in the mood, all the negative stuff fell away. I'm home alone for the whole week. monsieur is coming back next Sunday. and I'm actually looking forward to reading, writing, cooking for myself, going for long, miserable walks under endless clouds. you enjoy your more festive version. happy holidays xoxo

  3. yess smell that pine, drink that soynogg, and watch the family stone on repeat - that's just how i do it! i am so not a scrooge and i think it's because i used to work with "scrooges" so while we were giving clients new styles at the hairsalon just in time for them to see their families at xmas, my boss would push against listening to xmas music and was a bit of a grinch when it came to embracing that this only happens once a year and it always goes by so fast. so every year since i no longer work at the hair salon, i make sure to watch xmas movies at least once a week, drink hot cocoa, listen to xmas vinyl and just indulge in all the things that make xmas feel like it's here :)

    also, it's incredible that you were able to return to that house. i adore looking at holiday lights, i really do. unfortunately, i grew up in ny so none of the houses i see decorated here with steven remind me of my childhood. instead, it's the department store windows that i wish i could see every year and become nostalgic. <3

    i hope you and the boys have the most wonderful xmas! hugs and hugs and hugs!

  4. Oh, doll. I love that the house was still there for you (because it was, really, there for you) after all these years. That's such an amazing, validating thing. Your grandfather was there with you, seeing it this weekend. I think there's a reason you weren't totally in the Christmas spirit until now, and the reason is that house. You were waiting to see it without even knowing. Man, my heart just pulled a Grinch and grew three sizes. xo

  5. I'm not in the mood for Christmas at all. I thought I was until last week, but then something happened, and we saw everything in a completely different light, and so, this year, Christmas will be just an ordinary day. I once swore that I wouldn't get over enthusiastic about Christmas again because that's when something always happens and changes everything, but I can't help it. Maybe this is just one more sign that we should cherish each and every single day in the same way. Hope you find the right holiday mood these days, Christine.

  6. Christine, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Can't wait to catch up


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