“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.”

This is an alternative universe. It just has to be as mine doesn’t have sun or temperatures in the 50’s, at least not in December. Today and yesterday have been amazing. Though it rained a little yesterday, it was so warm all day that even at 11 o’clock last night it was still 51˚. Today is just as warm, and there is actually sun, a glowing orb in the sky I barely recognized. It’s a day to be outside enjoying a bit of a breather from winter.

The birds are back. This morning was like a busy day at O’Hare. My friends the chickadees have returned, as have goldfinches, a titmouse, woodpeckers who are enjoying my new suet feeder and the nuthatches who have been, for a while, my only visitors. Yesterday it was two house finches. When I stand at the sink, I look out the window behind it to get the best view of the birds and the feeders. I’m glad to have them back though now I need more sunflower seeds.

My outside lights went up yesterday and were lit last night. I drove around the block so I could see the whole house. It looks lovely, especially the huge star with trailing tails of lights which hangs on the driveway gate and the ornament tree lit by the spotlight. I noticed the sled near the door and the wreath on the front gate could use a bit of light so that will be my quest today, to find exactly the right strands. I also want to flower shop, to buy my poinsettias and boxwood. The rosemary tree is already on order. I love decorating my house for Christmas, and this is only the beginning.

The town where I grew up always decorated the fire station, the town hall and the square. The brick fire station was my favorite. Colored lights outlined the whole building and Santa climbed a ladder on the siren tower. In the square, decorations were strung from one side of the street to the other. A giant wreath was hung on the front of the police box which used to stand in the middle of Main Street. All the stores decorated their windows. Even the fish market had snowflakes falling on the mounds of snow at the bottom of the window, but you could still see the lobster tank.

In those days, the square had the only shops in town. Carolers from the different elementary schools sang each night on the stage which was erected just for Christmas. The sidewalks were filled with people, and you could hear them wishing each other a Merry Christmas. I loved being there just as it started to get dark and the Christmas lights were lit. It was like a fairyland.

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20 Comments on ““Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    Happy New Year said Father Jerry, Happy New Year responded the congregation at St John Fisher Chapel and so we greeting the first Sunday of Advent. A time of reflection and celebration.

    Deep in the woods of Meadowbrook Hall is Knole Cottage, built to 3/4 scale for Francis Dodge by her Father. You reach the cottage down paths through the woods and sometimes Father Christmas is waiting for you. The Prince knows that Father Christmas is there. the walk is decorated, the main Hall is aglow in the celebration of the season. Its beautiful, something special to behold

    The Prince and I like the cottage.

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Christmas is aways for me a time of memories, traditions and family. From my mother came a love for the season, for the beauty and the joy. We’d light the first candle in the advent wreath on that first Sunday and then another one every Sunday until it was Christmas.

      I found it: Knole Cottage covered in snow with a snowman at the door. I would like it too.

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat
        Its very non commercial
        Meadowbrook Hall is on the grounds of Oakland University that includes Meadowbrook Theatre. We will be heading over there as a family to see the annual product of “A Christmas Carol”. The MDHs look forward to Advent and the celebration that is Midnight Mass.

  2. Birgit Says:

    First few snowflakes today over here. If I hadn’t been on the bike for grocery shopping I would have appreciated it.
    I visited my local downtown Christmas market last Saturday and it was way too crowded, loud and commercial. Alcoholic spirit over Christmas spirit. I would have liked to flee into an alternative universe. My choir will carol on another Christmas market later this month, but your US-based blog is certainly the wrong place for an advertisement πŸ˜‰

    • Hedley Says:

      Tell us Birgit…maybe a concert skype ? a webcam, a Christmas carol broadcast on youtube ?
      We would definitely like to “hear” what you are doing

    • Kat Says:

      Birgit,
      Far too warm for snow, and it will be the same tomorrow.

      I always say one day I’ll make it to Germany for one of the Christmas markets, but I want Christmas spirit and lots of ho, ho ho.

      I know you have concerts on youTube but are any Christmas?

    • Birgit Says:

      Thanks for courtesy, but sorry, no webcast at all.
      No Christmas songs on YouTube yet, but we video tape our main Christmas concert next Saturday, so hopefully a song will end up there. (Just in case anyone is interested, I linked our 2012 competition set in my name. The good news: we won. The bad news: it’s country music.)

      I can’t understand why people love these Christmas markets. You’ll get Ho Ho Ho, but I’m not sure about the Christmas spirit. They are very popular, so I must be wrong. The markets in the south are more famous and even the nearby bigger one where we will sing is crowded with Dutch tourists.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I’ll take the alternate universe. Warm and sunny up here today. I did my morning errands coatless in December. Amazing!

    I noticed today that Santa’s house is on the Upper Common in my town. The Holiday Season has begun. I haven’t been through town after dark so I don’t know what’s lit up yet. The town tree is up. The tree was one of many seedlings that was given by an elementary school teacher to her class some decades ago. This particular one was planted in the student’s yard and grew into a lovely but inconveniently located evergreen. The family donated it to the town in honor of the school teacher. I think they even named the tree after her but I’m not sure about that.

    Rocky and I have more errands to do on this lovely day. Enjoy the rest of your day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We all can be neighbors in that other universe! I wore my trusty sweatshirt when I did a couple of errands.

      My town has no real center but a strip mall with a Stop and Shop and some other stores. Dennisport has a town center, and the gazebo is usually lit on the green, but I haven’t been there at night to see it. We don’t have a town tree but we have a walk. It is next weekend and the stores are open, the restaurants offer food and there is a band and carolers.

      Tomorrow will be lovely too-have a great day!

  4. olof1 Says:

    Unfortunately I’m stuck in the same old universe πŸ™‚ -4F last night and they say that it might be even colder tonight when the clouds goes away. Tell me, how did You reach this wonderful alternative universe? I want to join You πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    The streets was decorated here as well and all stores had their own decorations in their windows. Two big stores always competed to have the best decorations every year. NK was more for rich people and even though their decorations were beautiful they still always lacked the feeling for Christmas.

    Grand was the other store and that store was mostly turned to the middle class and they did have the feeling even though perhaps never reached the same hights as NK.

    I can only remember one tree decorated with colored lights when I was a kid. It was always white lights here and still most people, stores and streets have white lights, I wonder why?

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • Kat Says:

      Christer,
      I’ll be happy to have you join us here in the balmy alternative universe. Tomorrow will be just as warm. It even hit 60˚ in some places today.

      I love taking a drive at Christmas and seeing all the lit houses. My street is even quite festive for being so small. One house is a summer rental so no one is there, but there are 5 houses out of 6 decorated with outside lights.

      I have colored lights but three of the houses have white lights. They’re pretty, but the colored lights are what I had growing up so I prefer them.

      Enjoy your evening!

    • Caryn Says:

      Christer, think of it this way; you could already be in the alternate universe and your real one could be even colder. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€


  5. Love your title…and the post too, of course :>)

  6. minicapt Says:

    The Christmas Cacti here have been in bloom for three weeks.

    Cheers

    • Kat Says:

      minicapt,
      The white Christmas cactus upstairs has already finishing its blooming while the others all have flowers and buds.

      I just bought a new one today in a pretty Christmas box.

  7. Bob Says:

    Yesterday we set a record of 83 F degrees. Today was also in the lower 80s but the record today was 89 which we missed by a mile. It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit when you are wearing shorts and flip flops. How do people in the tropics get into the holidays?

    I noticed that fewer people in my neighborhood are putting up Christmas lights this year as compared to past years. The lack of decorations could be a result of the recession or that the kids have grown up and moved out of the house and the empty nesters just don’t care to put of the big show. I always equate Christmas and Chanukah as children’s holidays because of the emphasis on receiving gifts. Chanukah is a very minor holiday in the Jewish year but because it occurs during the Christmas season it has been elevated by guilty parents to the same hoopla of decorating and giving gifts as Christmas. Some families have even resorted to buying their kids an artificial blue and white Chanukah bush. Spread the holiday cheer by getting out the credit card. Regardless of your celebration, we need people to go out and spend their money this year and help move this economy forward πŸ™‚

    • Kat Says:

      Bob,
      I was in Africa for two Christmases. We figured that the weather there was much like the weather in the Middle East for Christmas so it was the cold and snow we were used to which was out of whack.

      For a while the lights were fewer, I’m talking years back, but in the last few years more and more houses around here have lights. Three of the houses on the street, including mine, are the homes of retired people, and we always put up lights.

      As I’ve gotten older, Christmas is so much more than gifts for me. On Christmas Eve my friends and I get together and decorate our gingerbread trees. Before Christmas my sister and I see a Christmas play and have dinner together. There are the Christmas strolls in the towns and villages and plenty of places to hear carols. I think Christmas becomes a state of mind and heart.

      • Bob Says:

        You have the true spirit of Christmas. Spending time with the people you love and who love you is the true meaning of the holidays. I really don’t know if empty nesters put up lights or not, but it is fun to go around our neighborhood or to different neighborhoods and look at the magical creations of lights.

        Two years ago I was in Dubai the week before Christmas and there was a lone Christmas tree in the center of the Emirates Airline terminal. It didn’t seem out of place in the afternoon while the sound of the call to prayer came over the loud speakers. Last year I spent the week before Christmas in Zhuhai China and both our training center and the Holiday Inn hotel were decked out with Christmas trees and poinsettias. It doesn’t matter what you believe but the holiday season means spending time with the people who mean the most in your life.

  8. Kat Says:

    Bob,
    I used to spend Christmas with my family, but after my parents died, I started spending it with friends who have become family.

    My sister puts up lights though her children have families of their own. I have always put up lights and haven’t ever had kids. The ride to see the lights is still a tradition.

    I thought I’d be miserable my first Christmas away from home, but I wasn’t. A bunch of volunteers on their way through my town on their way north to other countries stopped over, and we had a party. I made sugar cookies for the first time, and they all brought food. We even sang carols though someone mentioned that I’ll Be Home for Christmas was off limits.


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