Making Christmas

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Christmas, Family, Parenting, Traditions | Posted on 05-12-2016

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You know the well-intentioned sentiment from The Nightmare Before Christmas, where Jack Skellington and the Halloween Town folks “make Christmas” as best they can? That’s what it’s like around here during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Full of preparation and excitement and good intentions. It is my job as a parent to make a nice, fun, and memorable Christmas for my family.

Making Christmas
Time to give them something fun
They’ll talk about for years to come
Let’s have a cheer from everyone
It’s time to party

My husband and I have made Christmas for our children over the years. A combination of family traditions: cutting down the tree, baking cookies, Christmas movies and music, setting up the nativity scene, putting up lights, donating presents and time, counting down with an advent calendar, decorating the tree with ornaments from childhood, and visiting the mountain where there’s guaranteed snow.

This year, our Christmas tree was cut down, brought home, and dressed in lights. Then it sat for a week. Nearly naked. With no ornaments. Maybe this will be the year that lights will do. Why bother with ornaments this year?

Then. Guilt hit.

What about the hundreds of sweet ornaments collected over the years and so carefully wrapped in Chipotle napkins? Stuck in a bin for another year? I simply could not let this happen. The ornaments needed to do their part to make Christmas special.

What about the homemade ornaments our children have made over the years? The beaded candy cane. The teddy bear with the googly eyes displaying a photo of my son taken in Kindergarten (he is now 17). The Star of David made with popsicle sticks. The snowman made from a cinnamon stick. The Snoopy with the googly eyes made by my husband when he was in Kindergarten. What??!!

What about the special gifted ornaments? The starfish with pearls, gifted to me by my mother-in-law when we were in San Diego. The little drummer boy gifted to my husband at his birth. The glass icicle gifted to me by my husband. The painted horse my mother gifted my daughter while visiting Phoenix. The coyote “couple” singing hymns we were gifted when we got married. The glass frog ornament with a tutu I gifted my daughter in 2003. The set of three yellow Labradors my daughter made for me from clay. Angels. Owls. Mittens.

What about the prized purchased ornaments? The pea pod with the three smiling pea faces representing each of my children. The dozens of tin ornaments my mother and I bought in Mexico. The pickle my daughter and I bought at the mountain general store. Mermaids. Frogs. Poinsettias. A dolphin. A tomato.

Each ornament has a story. They are filled with memories that reemerge every Christmas season.

On Saturday night around 11:00 p.m., we had an impromptu family celebration. Let’s have a cheer from everyone. It’s time to party. We ate Skittles and hung our ornament–both by the handful.

All the while, making Christmas. Together.

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Christmas in July

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Christmas, Holidays, Love, Magic | Posted on 30-07-2016

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Talk about Christmas in July!

On a recent vacation to Branson, Missouri, we heard there was a Santa Claus convention, bringing in jolly old fellas from across the country and around the world. In fact, many of them stayed at our hotel! Even without their red and white suits, they were easy to spot with their friendly smiles, white beards, and twinkly eyes. We proceeded to be on the lookout for the real Santa Claus.

One winked at us in the lobby. Maybe he was the one? One argued with the front desk clerk about his pillows. Definitely not him.

The next morning, one thousand Santa Clauses were to be in a special parade at 8:00 a.m.

You know how the early bird catches the worm? In our case, the early riser catches the Santa Claus. My eleven-year-old son and I practically ran, hand-in-hand, with giddiness. (My oldest son and daughter opted to sleep in instead…their loss!)

Seeing so many Santa Clauses, Mrs. Clauses, and elves was quite a magical sight! But which one was the one? It was like Where’s Waldo.

Smitten and with a bit of boldness, we greeted the nice gentlemen one by one and asked to pose for a photo. How could they so no to my sweet boy? They could not.

My son wished them Merry Christmas and many said see you on Christmas Eve. One showed my son a special Hawaiian signal. One showed my son his compass hidden in his sock. One let my son hold the special sleigh bells. One gifted him a magic candy cane.

After our encounters, we narrowed it down to three Santa Claus possibilities.

We left with happy hearts, curious minds, and shit-eating grins.

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My Christmas List

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Christmas, Family, Relationships | Posted on 23-12-2014

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All I want for Christmas is you.

XO,

Pippi

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

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Simply Christmas

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Christmas, Holidays, Memories, Mothering | Posted on 25-12-2013

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You can take your imported, glass-blown, fancy-schmancy ornaments.

I’ll take my ornaments made from chubby little fingers and glitter and yarn and glue and frozen orange juice lids and pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks. Each was made especially for me.

Merry Christmas!

#Christmas simplicity

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#Christmas simplicity

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#Christmas simplicity

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#Chrsitmas simplicity

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#Christmas simplicity

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Santa Baby

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Christmas, Humor | Posted on 23-12-2013

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Yoohoo, Santa! Pippi Here!

 

Santa baby, just slip a sable Columbia waterproof jacket under the tree for me;
Been an awful good girl, Santa baby
and hurry down the chimney tonight
 
Santa baby, a ’54 convertible 2013 Subaru toolight blue silver
I’ll wait up for you dear, Santa baby
and hurry down the chimney tonight
 
Think of all the fun I’ve missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed
Next year I could be just as good…
if you’d check off my Christmas list
 
Santa baby, I want a yacht maid and really that’s not a lot
Been an angel all year; Santa baby,
so hurry down the chimney tonight
 
Santa honey, there’s one thing I really do need, 
the deed – to a platinum mine a year of Amazon Prime,
Santa baby so hurry down the chimney tonight
Santa baby, I’m filling my stocking with the duplex  a vacation to Hawaii, and checks a Visa debit card
Sign your ‘X’ on the line, Santa cutie,
and hurry down the chimney tonight
 
Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some decorations bought at Tiffany World Market;
I really do believe in you
Let’s see if you believe in meSanta baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring an iPhone 6
don’t do mean a phone, Santa baby,
so hurry down the chimney tonight
 
Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry tonight

Good for you, Eartha! A woman needs to communicate her wants and needs. And be direct about it. 🙂

While you’re at it Santa, how about more peace and love and kindness around the world. And less hate and judgement. And clean water and nutrition for all children. And more money spent on education and training, so that more people have jobs. And more quality time to spend with those you love.

Yeah, that’s what I really want.

XO,

Pippi

Merry Christmas!

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Pippi!

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Big Fat Bulbs

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Christmas, Grandfather, Grandmother, Grandparents, Holidays, Memories | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Remember those giant Christmas lights people used to hang on their houses? C9s in technical terms. Before the icicle lights. Before LED lights.

Those C9s are slowly becoming a thing of the past. We still have some ol’ C9s strung across our roof line. This may be their last year. Their paint is chipping. Practically every bulb has been replaced. The strings have been staple gunned so many times, I’m surprised we haven’t been shocked.

These jumbo lights remind me of Christmases past. When we’d drive up to my grandparents’ ranch-style home in rural Missouri. Bright red and green and blue and orange glowed, framing the window with a tree strung with the same big fat bulbs. Yeah, total fire hazard!

“Come in to our warm and welcoming house!” The lights beckoned. My grandmother would cook up and serve everyone minute steak and mashed potatoes and sliced bread and gravy. She would play carols like O Holy Night on the piano, while I would munch on stale peanut brittle. And we watched The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson while my grandfather ate his bowl of butter brickle ice cream and dozed in his chair. And I curled up on the shag carpet with my childhood blanket. I will always remember the happy, comforting, warm feeling of family and love that enveloped me. Maybe some of that warmth came from the Christmas tree lights that emanated so much dang heat. 🙂

If we’d run an errand, my grandfather would (thankfully) unplug the Christmas tree lights. Which is what I do still. Each and every time, out of habit, even though my tree has cool-temperature mini lights. When I reach down to unplug them, I smile and think of Christmases past.

Here’s wishing you the warmth of Christmas!

Oooh!

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The Dark and Stormy Night

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Christmas, Family, Holidays, Memories | Posted on 13-12-2013

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It was a dark and stormy night.

Winter. Freezing temperatures. High winds.

And then bam. No power.

No worries. We’ll turn on the heat and snuggle under blankets and light the candles and have lasagna and watch a fun Christmas movie!

Ooops. No heat.

Who’s hungry? We’ll have lasagna! Ooops. The lasagna is half-cooked in the oven. An electric oven. No lasagna for dinner.

Let’s watch a Christmas movie! Oh yeah, no electricity.

Funny how we have become so dependent on simple things like light and heat and dinner and entertainment.

So, what’s a family of five to do on a dark and stormy night with no electricity? We crammed into one bed–kinda like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–where we kept warm. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The candles were flickering on the night stands. The wind was howling outside.

Did we tell stories like they did in the old country? No way. We fired up The Polar Express on the laptop, until the battery ran out.

I will forever remember that cold night where we were together and warm. And making new memories.

#Christmas simplicity

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Hate Hate Hate

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Christmas, Holidays, Humor | Posted on 09-12-2013

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I love love love the holiday season.

But here’s what I hate hate hate about it:

  1. scented candles that smell like pumpkin pie
  2. infinity scarves
  3. robes
  4. scratchy turtlenecks
  5. Christmas movies with fake snow
  6. people that walk slow in the aisles
  7. Santas with fake beards
  8. The Little Drummer Boy song
  9. spicy gumdrops
  10. making sugar cookies
  11. candy canes that aren’t red and white
  12. Mannheim Steamroller

#Chrsitmas simplicity

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A Christmas Quote

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Celebrations, Christmas | Posted on 24-12-2012

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Andy Warhol once said “I think everybody should like everybody.”

Yeah…that’s not possible.

So I edited it.

“I think everybody should like everybody on Christmas.”

-Pippi

Merry Christmas!

 THE PEANUTS GANG REJOICES IN THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

Nothing Smells Like Christmas Quite Like Bus Fumes

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Christmas, Memories | Posted on 22-12-2012

They say smells take you back to your childhood…

Ah, freshly-cut pine trees, cookies baking, cinnamon candles…Nothing smells like Christmas quite like these comforting smells.

Except the smell of exhaust from a bus. That too reminds me of Christmas.

When I was a kid, my mother and I flew to Missouri to visit my Grandparents for Christmas. We arrived during a blizzard, and it became too icy to land. All inbound planes were detoured to alternate cities. We landed miles and miles away from my Grandparents’ home.

I remember an all-night trip on a Greyhound bus. As we stashed our luggage underneath the bus and boarded, the black fumes mixed with the frigid night air, enveloped me, making my throat sting. The engine was revving, ready for the journey ahead. Nestled on the velveteen chair next to my mother, I was blanketed under my coat, with my forehead pressed against the cold window. I stared into the blue-lit darkness, mesmerized by the snowflakes. The hum of the engine and the blasting heat lulled me to sleep.

We made a stop at 2:00 a.m., at a 24-hour diner, where riders ordered burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, coffee, and pie. Then back on the bus where the journey continued. We chugged down the highway at snail speed.

We arrived at our destination mid-morning. Groggy, my mother led me to into the Greyhound terminal, where we were greeted again by fumes amidst the brisk air. And welcomed by my Grandparents and their big, comforting hugs and smiles. I was so happy to see them! The blizzard had passed, leaving a white winter wonderland. We crunched on the icy, snow roads with chained tires.

Finally arriving at their home, I breathed freshly-cut pine trees, cookies baking, and cinnamon candles.

My Grandparents are now long gone. But the smells–including the bus exhaust–take me back. Back to my childhood.

blizzard