A Note from Danielle for December ’15

Hi Everyone,

I think December is my favorite time of year. I love the summer months (when I get to be lazy, which is never often enough) and the energized feeling of September, but December is truly magical. It’s filled with happy memories of my childhood holidays. Growing up, Christmas was a big deal in my family—with parties, special traditions and exchanging gifts.

Once I was an adult with small children, we made a big deal of Christmas too. My husband and I spent Christmas Eve assembling toys (for 9 children) in the basement. We would then lug them up several flights of stairs to where Santa had delivered them, to be discovered with squeals of delight on Christmas morning. Our Christmas Eves were long nights of last minute wrapping, stuffing stockings, setting out cookies and milk for Santa (and carrots for the reinder) before the children went to bed. We also spent time writing letters from Santa to each child, which I STILL do. And Christmas Day was blissful chaos.

I still have funny memories from Christmas too. One of my daughters was born on December 18th and we came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve. We put her in a little seat and she seemed to vanish during the frantic present opening. We found her under all the discarded gift wrap, sound asleep.

Our Christmas traditions progressed as the children got older. We attended a children’s carol service at our church, followed by a family dinner at home. We spent days making brownies for my childrens’ friends and teachers and delivered them in festive tins. The best part of the holidays was the anticipation and all the excitement. Picking out Christmas trees and decorating them, making and choosing presents. For several years, we gave an ice skating party for our friends and their children, and it was sooo much fun!!!

Now our Christmases are just as festive, though more sedate. We go to the same children’s carol service, as a tradition. We have family dinner on Christmas Eve, open presents on Christmas morning, hang around in pajamas all day, and have family dinner again that night. My children fly home for the holiday, and then leave again when it’s over, and I always hate to see them leave. I try to maintain the magic of Christmas for them, even now. I had a big laugh about two years ago, when I tiptoed into one of my grown up daughter’s room late at night with her letter from Santa, and a stocking full of little things (nail polish, lipstick, warm gloves, and other little stuff.) I was as quiet as possible while delivering the surprises from Santa, and thought she was asleep. She sat bolt upright in bed in the dark, and said sternly, “I’m not asleep yet!!! You have to surprise me!!” Oops… I tiptoed out, and came back later when she was asleep, so she could be ‘surprised’ in the morning. We take Christmas very seriously at our house!!!

And although we all have our dreams about what the holidays should look like, we have reality to deal with too. For us, it’s the reality that my late son Nick is no longer with us, nor my children’s father. We will miss them forever, and remember our Christmases with them in our midst. Holidays don’t always work out the way we hope they will—families aren’t always easy to get along with and there can be lonely years, when things don’t work out as we plan. Or we can’t get home to our loved ones, or they can’t get home to us. Sometimes making someone else’s Christmas special is the best healer when we’re having a hard time during the holidays.

I hope that your holidays will be EXACTLY the way you want them, and that you have tender memories to remember and form new ones. May you be with those you love, and people who love you. And may your dreams come true now and always, on Christmas or Chanukah, and every day. I wish you peaceful, happy holidays, however you celebrate them!!!

My love to you,

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