A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, December 17, 2016


When I was a kid, my parents (especially my mom) made Christmas magical.  Decorations in every room (well, not the bathrooms).  Cookie baking and decorating.  Homemade flannel pajamas for Christmas Eve. A gorgeous Christmas tree (Dad insisted on one strand of tinsel at a time).   The presents starting showing up under the tree a week or more before Christmas Eve, and we were each allowed to choose one to open that night.  In addition, there was always a new board game wrapped for Christmas Eve fun.

I tried to keep the magic going in my own home.  Decorations in every room (even the bathroom).  Their dad preferred to have all the gifts show up on Christmas Eve (or, more likely, he didn't shop until then) but I liked to put a few under there for the boys to suffer over.  And while I didn't make flannel pajamas (they were too hot for my little furnaces), they did always get new pajamas when they were little.

I added some new traditions of my own, and we all loved the countdown quilt.

Twenty-four little quilted boxes filled with surprises and tied with ribbons.  When they were little, the prizes might be a special eraser or little toy for each that would break after a few minutes.  A giant candy cane, always, in the last box.  As they got older, the erasers and toys changed to quarters or rolled up dollar bills.

Easily a third of the boxes held chocolates that I used my collection of Christmas candy molds to make into sweet holiday shapes or delightful suckers.  Snowmen and Christmas trees and Santa.  Two little cellophane bags holding a tasty treat in each box, one for each boy.

They enjoyed that tradition well into their teens and beyond.  As long as they were around, I filled that quilt and didn't stop until they had moved out and away.

You never know what they carry away from home.  And so it brought happy tears to walk into my house today after a morning away to find my youngest dressed in an apron and pouring melted chocolate (Mercken's, the good kind that I always used and that he had to order on Amazon) into those same molds that I had used for over a decade.  He was making those favorite candies for his best friend's annual Ugly Sweater party.  My baby (all gorgeous 6'6" of him) dressed as Santa tonight.  The chocolates were gifts for their mutual friends, in addition to the bagful of toys (all projectiles) that Santa was bringing.

I'm an emotional mess after last week and not real sure how our changed Christmas plans will work out this week.  But right now I'm nurturing a happy holiday bubble inside.  It's a thrill to know that the handmade chocolates were not taken for granted, had been loved and appreciated enough to be brought back for another round.

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