Sunday, December 13, 2009

CHRISTMAS IN GUILFORD

Hi to all my blog-land friends - here are some Christmas season traditions from my world to yours. (if you click on the pictures and enlarge them as you go along you will see better detail) thanks. :-)



The above picture is of our Manger. I have had this since I was a little girl. In fact, the figurines were my Grandmother's and are about 75 or so years old. Some of the original price labels are on the bases - average price - 15 cents!! The manger itself is made of cardboard and I store it in 'bubble wrap so it will 'hold up'. I have twigs inside the manager so it doesn't lean over too far. Baby Jesus has been glued together many times - he is beautiful still.


And this is our tree - I am not the best photographer - but you get the idea. It is filled with collector ornaments that Skipp has been giving me over two decades. Also, the school decorations the kids made years ago and many other treasures with a story of their own. I/we re-live and honor each memory every year. My Mom loves to be part of the 'memory-decorating'. She has touched and appreciated each one. I feel like she is "in" every ornament and memory.



and here is a close up of some of the collector ornaments. The beaded candy cane my Dad made the month before he died 25 years ago is in front to the left.. There are also little ET's he made as well. I think of Jackie taking a picture of her "Daddy's hands" and I thought of my Dad and how hard he worked and how his big calloused hands made these delicate, lovely ornaments. Amazing. :-)

.....and I had to take a picture of this center ornament with the red trim. This was given to us by my sister's oldest sons lovely wife, Gatey on their first and ONLY Christmas together in 2001. She made them. Clayton died that following November. I bring this ornament to my heart every year when I carefully remove it from it's packaging.


....and this is our dining room table, decorated with candles and baskets and treasures we have had for years. My sister made us the place mats years ago - I love the colors - purple and gold and deep blues and greens......Skipp loves the little snowmen tossing snowballs, and the view, to the snow covered land outside is perfect and so "Wintery". :-) There is also a Menorah and we light the Hanukkah candles to honor Skipp's Jewish heritage - he was adopted and was raised Jewish - Hebrew school and all! Later, we found his biological family and learned he was part Blackfoot Indian -
Our harvest table, that we designed and had made on an Indian reservation, has 'served' many. In times of family gatherings from simple family meals and after school snacks, to holidays, filled with joy, sadness, fear, loneliness, celebration, births, deaths, challenge, sickness, health, music, planning, laughter, tears, hope and faith.......and so it is the heartbeat of our home - where the heart, soul, tummy, mind and spirit are nourished. We always say it is where we "solve the problems of the world - well, of our world at least" :-)

And so our blessed, magical and loving Christmas tradition will bring us together with hope...we will certainly feel the loss of my sister's husband - who died this year as you all know. And of course, Clayton, their son is so missed and so remembered. My Dad - he is in our hearts forever. And we are so blessed to have my precious Mom with us. She exemplifies the spirit and meaning of our Saviours birth, life and death. She is ALL love. And so it will be that on Christmas Eve we will gather at my Mom's, which is attached to my sister's home. A Lovely. warm, cozy and happy Gramma house. We will have traditional Italian foods as we have for as long as I can remember. We will have fishes, like calamari, allege, bacala, smelts, and eel. I make the fried dough every year served with Mariana sauce and/or butter and sugar. Delicious!! A pasta dish pronounced like this - 'bostid'. actually spelled 'pasterrie' and is made with a special thick spaghetti, #6, cooked aldente and then mixed with ricotta cheese and baked. Delicious. There will marinated mushrooms and artichokes, provolone cheese and assorted Italian olives and of course, sweet poppy seed rolls. Delicious. We open gifts and eat and always finish with a game of Yahtzee. My sister's husband played Yahtzee last year - he was so weak and so ill but he played one last time. It is a wonderful magical night filled with so much love, traditional food, simple gifts, laughter, a few tears and hope, above all, hope.
At midnight I will light a candle and sit and think of Jesus - and his birth and life and promise to keep our friendship strong and purposeful and to do all things with love just like he always did. As you all know I don't have a faith community but I have a lot of faith. :-)

Christmas day we open gifts here. Dolan is always home which I love. To honor Skipp's Jewish upbringing we have bagels, with cream cheese and smoked salmon for breakfast, coffee, juice and some type of sweet roll. Delicious. Later, Jen and Jo'el and Jen's new guy Zack, whom we like thank God, :-), and Skipp's brother will come for dinner. We will have another blessed and appreciated gift sharing, and then gather at our harvest table for a delicious meal. This year I am making a turkey with all the trimmings - and pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie. I am filled with gratitude and blessings for all I have been given - for the love that surrounds me and fills me - for our peaceful home where so many find solace and hope, music and laughter, for my abilities and independence, for my faith, for the bounty of life I so humbly embrace and for all of you who have inspired me and gifted me in ways that I am honored to have received.




I love this song - and I do wish this for all of you - "A white, merry and bright Christmas...."

"MERRY CHRISTMAS"


36 comments:

TheChicGeek said...

GAIL :)))) I've missed you!
What a beautiful post and I love the video too. You're making me hungry with all those yummy foods :) It's funny, we used to always play Yahtzee on Christmas Eve...lol...a tradition.
Our traditions are so comforting, aren't they. They ground us, connect us to one another. Everything looks so pretty and cozy at your home :)
Good to visit with you again. I've been away soooooo long!
Sending you warm wishes, big hugs and a beautiful and cozy day today :)
Hugs, Love and Blessings, Gail!
xxO
Kelly
PS: How did you get the snow on your blog? I love that effect! :) Looks great!

Gail said...

HI KELLY :-)

So nice to have you come over for a Christmas visit. And yes, traditions are so comforting, comforting indeed. :-) And I am glad you were able to see/feel the coziness here. It is really so homey. Now, about the snow. I left the address in my reply comment to Teresa on the post before this one. I m headed there next to respond to your other comment. See you there.

Love Gail
peace.....

Finding Pam said...

Very Beautiful. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

peace and love,
Pam

Gail said...

HI PAM-

thanks so much for visiting me this Christmas season....

Love Gail
peace.....

Bernie said...

Gail all looks so beautiful and I love how you shared your stories and traditions....your heart is full of love and you realize how blessed you are....oh yes my dear you do have faith for sure...Hugs

cinner said...

Hi Gail, have been thinking of you, my mom went home, I was going to help you with the signature, but you have it and snow. you rock my friend. You made me hungry with all the food. The last time I played yahtzee was probably with my Dad years ago. so this was a nice memory. I love how all your ornaments are treasures and that your Mom touches them all. I hope you and Skipp and your Mom have a fabulous Christmas and wish you health and happiness in the new year. love always.

Gail said...

@CINNER-
The signature just reappeared, it was gone and then it was back. Go figure, huh? :-) I hope you hd a wonderful visit with your Mom.



@BERNIE-

Always so nice to see you here AND it that a new picture of you? You look beautiful.
I am glad you enjoyed reading my traditions and stories. Yes, I am really blessed.


Love to you both
Gail
peace.....

Wanda said...

Love all your traditions and meals Gail and it's nice to have ornaments on the tree that hold special meaning. Your home sounds warm an inviting...Hope you have the most wonderful Christmas Season yet!

Wanda

Gail said...

HI WANDA-

thank you SO much. It is really warm and cozy here in the simplest of way. :-) And you know how much I appreciate your world, nature-land, and family traditions, gatherings and great food. "Merry Christmas" to you my friend.

Love Gail
peace.....

Eileen said...

Oh, Gail, thanks for sharing your Christmas with us!
I LOVE little visits like this!
And I love all your Christmas traditions!
The Nativity set is so sweet and I love the idea of the cardboard stable and how you lovingly take care of it. And I see that you have Gurley (spelling?) candles! I bid on ebay for them all the time! I got some wonderful ones but then I gifted most of them to my sister and Ray's sister. I still have a few but I didn't even bring them down from the attic this year, now I'm kicking myself!
Your tree is beautiful and especially so with all those wonderful ornaments, thank you for sharing so many of those touching memories with us.
And thanks for sharing with us how you will be celebrating.
I really enjoyed this.
And I like all your traditions, and I like your Christmas song too!
I know it will be tinged with sadness but I hope you enjoy a Blessed Christmas!
Love to you,
Eileen

Eileen said...

PS ~
I see the snow now!!

Teacher's Pet said...

Gail...I want to start off first with the nativity scene. How wonderful that you have kept it..and kept it so well all these years. The sticker price still on them....and they are PRICELESS to you, I know.
Don't you just love the ornaments made by the children...hand made...Oh, I wouldn't take a million dollars for the ornaments made by my son and daughter when they were in school.
The ornament hand-made by your daddy really touched me. That one brought a tear to my eyes. How wonderful that you have a hand-made ornament for your tree from your Dad. (I don't have one from Daddy! I'm going to have to put a 'bug' in his ear and tell him that Gail has one... I want one!)
Your tree is gorgeous...your blog is wonderful, and I'm so glad that you shared it with us.
Many happy smiles and lots of happy days ahead for you, Gail.
Warm hugs,
Jackie

Gail said...

HI JACKIE-

I love that you are going to 'remind' your Dad to make you an ornament. :-) I am so glad you enjoyed seeing/reading our 'Christmas in Guilford'.

HI EILEEN-

First, I have to admit I have no idea what a "Gurley" candle is. Let me know hwat you are referring to, k? :-)
Thank you so much for appreciating all of our Christmas memories and traditions. And I am thrilled you "see the snow"!!!


I love you both....
Gail
peace.....

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

What a wonderful description of your Christmas traditions. My parents did not celebrate or approve of Christmas (long story) so I don't have ornaments with all the history you describe re yours. That must be something to have treasures your folks made and touched. Lovely, lovely post.

Thank you!

Gail said...

HI BONNIE-

I am so happy you visited and shared in our Christmas traditions and memories. I would very much like to listen to your story of why your parents didn't approve of nor celebrate Christmas if yo feel okay to share.
It seems that you truly have the spirit of Christmas alive and well in you - I feel the magic of it on your blog all the time. :-)
Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Mark said...

Gail,
You are Ms Christmas! I love all that you shared and the joy that abounds in your home and through your words! This is a very special time of year which is solidified with great traditions in your family. I love that you are inclusive of the Festival of Lights along with your traditional Christmas celebration. Thanks for sharing.

Whitemist said...

And you have snow outside???
I have not seen it yet.
Like your pictures, I'll get around to mine soon

Gail said...

HI JOEY

Oh yes, we have snow this part of CT. We are on th North Guilford/Durham line so even when downtown Guilford has no snow we usually have plenty. I will look forward to your pictures.
Lve to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI MARK-
Thank you for sharing in our family traditions of celebration and hope. I so appreciate your kind words of interest, validation and love.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Diana said...

Hi Gail,
Your home looks very warm and inviting. Love Di

Gail said...

HI DIANA_

And you are welcome here, invited, any time, I am holding you my friend.
I feel so badly about your Mom. :-(

Love you
Gail
peace.....

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Gail :) I was at Grizz's place and saw your face...I said, awww, I wanna go say hi to Gail :)

I put snow on my blog too :)) It's fun, isn't it?

I hope you are having a super day today!

Sending you a big Christmas Hug :)
xxO
Kelly

Eileen said...

Hi, Gail!
I was referring to the little Altar Boy and Angel candles that you have near your stable. They give me such a wonderful feeling of nostalgia as my Mom and my Aunts had them when I was little.
My Aunt had a little choir with song books, and my Mom had a little Nativity of those candles and some angels, and another Aunt had Angels. They are just so sweet looking, and they bring wonderful childhood memories to mind.
Enjoy yours!
Love to you,
Eileen

Gail said...

HI KELLY-
I love that you visited again. :-)
and a big Christmas hug back to you - my favorite California girl ever!!
Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI EILEEN-
I am so glad you came back and told e. Those little candles were my Grandmother's. They are almost a century old. I have the angel too, it is in top of the Manger. You can see the corner of her in the picture. I love that you recognized them and they brought back good memories for you. :-)
Love to you
Gail
peace.....

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cordieb said...

Gail, how beautiful! I love tradition, especially at Christmas time. May God continue to bless and inspire you and yours thoughout the season and always! Peace, Light and Love, C.

Gail said...

HI CORDIE

"Thank you" somuch for your kind and heart felt words. I am glad you enjoyed reading of our family traditions.
And I will be buying your book soon - CONGRATULATIONS on being published.
:-)

Love to you this Christmas season and always
Gail
peace

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hello, Gail!!! What lovely Christmas traditions you have! I loved reading the stories behind each of your special Christmas decorations...they represent so many wonderful memories! And how wonderful that you have the added richness of your husband's Jewish heritage as you celebrate Christmas...I have seen you around...we share mutual friends...and I've intended to visit for a while...so glad I did! I do not comment as often as I would like...but I certainly think I would love to follow you, if you'll have me ;-) Merry Christmas! ~Janine XO

Gail said...

HI SNIFFLES AND SMILES and WELCOME!!

I am very happy you came by and I would love for you to "follow". I will head over to your place today. :-)

"Thank you" for your very kind word to me. I am glad you enjoyed our Christmas traditions.

Love to you
Gail
peace......

Stephanie said...

Hi Gail-
Thank you for your lovely comment on my last post. Sometimes I feel a bit vulnerable to share so openly but it's truly what I feel God is calling me to do.
I appreciate your kinds words about my writing style. Ya never known when you're typing away, home alone, it what you have to say will resonate and touch other in the hopes of moving them toward change somehow themselves. So thank you.
Love Christmas in Guilford! Can I come??
xo

Gail said...

Hi Stephanie-

I am so glad my comment to you was well received. :-) You have a lovely writing style that i so real. And yes, you most definitely can come for Christmas in Guilford.

Love Gail
peace.....

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hello, dearest Gail...thank you for stopping by today...it means so much to me!!! I wanted to thank you for your incredibly kind and encouraging words...and to let you know that I am very thankful for my new friend, YOU, this Christmas!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours! With love, Janine XO

Gail said...

HI JANINE-

I really like your blog and your writing style is very easy to read and feel. :-)
I am glad we met too.
"Merry Christmas" to you and your family
Love Gail
peace

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

I truly felt I was at your side and we were having this most wonderful holiday visit. Such love, spirit and care of treasured memories bring warmth and joy to this very moment. Thank you for welcoming me into your home and your heart. The bounty of your table is blessed with a love that is ever joyful.

Warm love filled HUGS (( ♥ )) sent to you and yours,

Rose Marie

Gail said...

HI ROSEMARIE-

I love that you feel at home here - us sitting side by side at our table which is a bounty of so much love, shared blessings, hope, nourishment, tears, laughs, music and wisdom. There is a place for you Rosemarie, always.
"Merry Christmas"
Love Gail
peace.....