• Well Turkey Day 2008 has come and gone.

    I hope you were with the ones you love and got all you wanted to eat.

    I also hope you have sufficiently recovered to do more than sit on the couch and moan.

    I can take Thanksgiving or leave it as far as the food goes.

    Turkey and all the trimmings is not my favorite food but once a year I can make the sacrifice for family togetherness.

    Speaking of holidays, there are two more to get through, Christmas and New Years.

    I refuse to think or talk about Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

    Today the first card of the season was lurking in the mailbox.

    It is the signal, time to write the dreaded Christmas News Letter.

    Time for me to write another newsy, witty, slightly sentimental account of the last year.

    Good grief!

    How did this happen?

    Where did I go wrong?

    It started out so innocent.

    And now I can’t seem to get out of the trap I’ve built for myself.

    Friends and family have come to expect it.

    I’m not bragging here but a few years back I decided I was going back to just buying some nice cards and mailing them plain.

    I got dozens of notes asking, where’s their news letter.

    They missed it and they wanted it.

    Holy heck!

    They have no idea how hard it is to be newsy, witty, and slightly sentimental year after year.

    When this all started I had kids at home.

    There was a lot more going on in our lives, school, sports, work, and vacations to report.

    Kids are grown and gone.

    Grandkids are grown and gone.

    No more work, no more school, only one sport, (golf) and no more vacations.

    We’re retired, every day is a vacation.

    Our days are pretty much same ol’, same ol’.

    Christmas use to be such fun.

    Staying up late every night for weeks making Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and putting together a red tricycle.

    Painting and hiding little chairs and a table, looking for a real china tea set and just the right electric train for a four year old.

    Sleeping on the living room couch so as not to miss a single minute of Christmas morning.

    Then there was the Christmas we hid all our teen-age daughter’s gifts while telling her for weeks she could have a prom dress for the Christmas dance or gifts for Christmas, but not both.

    Of course she chose the dress.

    The other kid’s gift piles grew but nothing for her.

    Every day her face got longer and longer.

    Christmas morning still nothing.

    Only an envelope tucked back in the tree.

    In the envelope was a poem which sent her on a scavenger hunt all over the house, yard and garage looking for more envelopes with more clues in poem form until she finally found a big laundry basket filled with gifts.

    What fun it was to keep the gifts hidden and the joke going for the weeks before Christmas Day.

    I had only known my husband, Lee, for a couple of months when he invited me to spend Christmas Eve with his family.

    The whole family and all their friends gathered for the festivities.

    Now that was no small thing because his dad was an absolute Christmas nut.

    He loved Christmas.

    He started buying gifts for the next year the day after New Years.

    His favorite thing was to buy some silly gift like a Lifesaver Book, box of chocolates, jar of pickles or can of nuts then hide money somewhere in the wrapping.

    You couldn’t just rip open a package from Grampa Coonradt, you had to pluck it.

    Even serious gifts like blenders, toasters, sweaters or slippers were not safe from hidden goodies and money.

    The big event of the evening was the money scramble.

    One for the kids with lots of candy and gum along with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

    The adult version included larger coins, some paper money and assorted other goodies.

    The competition was intense to say the least.

    It was not unusual to end up scratched and bleeding.

    I really miss those Christmases.

    I have always loved Christmas and would start decorating on Thanksgiving afternoon and decorated everything in sight.

    We always had a really tall tree covered with lights.

    It took me hours to get the lights on.

    I had ten or twelve dolls that all got special Christmas clothes and had their own tree.

    When we moved to Mesquite I condensed twenty or more boxes of decorations into five or six.

    We even bought an artificial tree.

    I still love Christmas but it is much quieter now.

    No small kids, which is what Santa Clause is for anyway.

    I am more focused on what the real meaning is all about now.

    If you need a special gift for someone you can find it at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery’s Christmas Boutique with all hand made gifts by local artists.

    Stop by.

    So long till next time.