Throwback Thursday: CHRISTMAS!

Dear sisters,

Every time the holiday season comes around Kevin and I are hit hard with a big dose of nostalgia and sentimentality. Decorations, Christmas music, eggnog, cookies and treats; they’re all very welcome guests in our house! If you added up all of my childhood memories I think at least 50% of them would be from Christmastime. It’s such a vivid time of year with excitement and anticipation galore, a perfect recipe for lasting memories.

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My first Christmas!
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Calvin’s first Christmas! I see a bit of family resemblance :-).

There are memories that have turned into traditions. Watching White Christmas happens every year; if I watch it alone I can practically hear all of us saying the lines and singing along. When I make gingerbread cookies I can remember pulling up a chair to the fridge at home and sneaking cookies out of the tins Mom hid up there. Wrapping caramels was not a favorite activity of mine, but now when I do it I savor the way it takes me back to sitting around the metal kitchen table using that huge butcher knife to slice up pieces of wax paper.

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Maybe I’m wearing a new sweater? Loving the manger scene behind us and seeing how shiny and new that blue armchair looked! It’s now in Calvin’s nursery.

There are little individual memories that bubble up when I think about our Christmases at home. I loved to create a little nest in the corner of the living room behind the Christmas tree, turn on the tree lights and sit back there reading a book. Sometimes Rodriguez (the family cat) would come back and curl up too, which made it extra special. I remember getting scratched (by the tree, not the cat) as I wiggled my way back behind the tree. I liked how secluded it felt back there. It made it the perfect place to read.

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Esther’s joy is contagious. I’m pretty sure she’s holding a small wind-up penguin. MOST EXCITING PRESENT EVER!

I think we got the first three Harry Potter books for Christmas one year and since we had to share I started out by reading the third book. Then I went back and started from the beginning.

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This is just glorious. Rach and I look unimpressed. Esther looks mischevious. Martha, those glasses were probably a crime against humanity ;-D.

I remember getting The Sims for Christmas one year, waking up the next day and playing it for 5 hours straight and IT WAS AWESOME.

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I was too lazy to go scan this one after I found it, but it was so awkward looking I had to post it. Rach, that bathrobe is pretty amazing.

I remember a plethora of desserts. Pies as well as treat platters of fudge, caramels, cookies and CHEX MIX. Kevin doesn’t understand why we have such a deep abiding love for chex mix. He likes it, but doesn’t go nuts (haha, I’m hilarious) over it like we do. Mmmm. Chex mix.

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My favorite part of this picture is Scott scratching Mr. Birdy’s head. For the uninformed, Mr. Birdy was our cockatiel until he went to live with Sherry Volk because our beloved cat terrorized him. Also, Mr. Birdy started laying eggs and we were shocked to find out he was a she. I’m pretty sure I continued to call her Mr. Birdy.

This year we started making our own Christmas traditions with Calvin. We went out and cut down our own Christmas tree at a cute little farm out in the country. Kevin was so excited to go cut our own, as he put it, “You can never be angry when you’re walking around looking for a Christmas tree!” He’s right, even though I was cold and a bit tired and Calvin was getting tired and a bit fussy, it was perfect! It helped that the farm had a little log cabin “warming center” with free cookies and hot chocolate.

We wanted to make our own Advent tradition this year, so almost every night we sit and read out loud from either J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Father Christmas Letters or Joy to the World. They’re both lovely. Tolkien wrote yearly Christmas letters as Santa to his children with sweet illustrations and it’s so charming to read them out loud. Joy to the World is a great compilation of historical information about the symbols, scriptures, poems and hymns of Christmas. It’s the one stop shop of Advent goodness.

Afterwards we turn off the lights and sing one carol around the Christmas tree then open our Advent calendar. Kevin doesn’t know the words to the carols as well as I do (thank you Readings & Carols and Houghton’s Prism), so some nights it devolves into hilarity as he tries to guess the lyrics that I’m singing as I sing them. For you SNL lovers it’s basically a Garth and Kat song around the Christmas tree. Since we’re traveling for 2 weeks over the holidays we’re soaking up as much Christmas at home before we leave.

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I’ll leave you with one last amazing Christmas picture. The year we all got soft cuddly animals from Santa/Uncle Gym :-). I was 14, so basically the most awkward ever. YAY CHRISTMAS!

What are some of your favorite holiday memories sisters? What new traditions are you starting?

Love,
Jewel

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: CHRISTMAS!

  1. Haha, the photos are great! Little curly-headed Esther reminds me of my little curly-headed Eve. 🙂 We have adopted the tradition of turning off the lights, lighting candles and singing a few Christmas carols around the tree while Krestia plays mandolin. It sounds peaceful but usually Eve is trying to touch the candle flame or eat something dangerous and Miriam is usually arguing with us about what song she wants, and why don’t we know all the verses, so it becomes pretty hectic. So we only do it once in awhile. A few other traditions we’ve adopted: making and decorating cookies and handing out treats to friends (I remember Mom making paper plates full of an assortment of goodies, and we would hand them out to the mailman, our teachers, etc). We have started a tradition of always seeing the Nutcracker because Miriam loves ballet, so that’s a new fun one for us.
    Can’t wait to see you all!

    1. Hahahaha. I love your description of Advent. I can see how crazy that would be, but singing and candles sound so lovely. I love the Nutcracker tradition! That sounds wonderful too. I had ideas of making lots of treats and handing them out to friends, but they only got Chex Mix. I did made Rice Krispie Christmas trees for a work cookie party as well as our favorite almond butter cookies. I tried to make peanut butter fudge but must have measured the pb incorrectly because it came out waaay too dry. We crumbled it up and put it on ice cream :-).

  2. Fun to see these photos and furniture that I had long forgotten about… Rachel’s snazzy bathrobe was made by Aunt Sherry, I believe. Aunt Sherry was quite an amazing seamstress and blessed you girls with some wonderful outfits. We are cleaning today in preparation for your arrivals! Can’t wait… Love you… Mom

  3. The green corduroy dress you are wearing, Jewel, was made by Aunt Sherry also, I think. I think the red/black sweater I had on was maternity, so Esther was due to arrive in a few weeks, which ended up being days. You would have been three and a half.

    1. Thanks for the details Mom! I didn’t notice you were pregnant! I should email this post to Aunt Sherry so she can see all the lovely gifts she made us are documented.

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