“At Christmas, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ makes me cry in exactly the same places every time, even though I know it’s coming.”

Today is warm and beautiful with sun and a lightly clouded sky as its backdrop. The dog and I are going out though we have no destination, but a day like today should never be wasted so we’ll wander until something catches our eyes.

Gifts are on the bed upstairs in the guest room and in the cellar. I’ll start bringing them here to the den so I can spend evenings wrapping. I’m still waiting for one order of cards to come in the mail then I can write out my cards and send them. The tree and the inside decorations are next and then comes the baking. I have a list of what I want to make, and my sisters have put in their requests so I just need to grocery shop. Christmas is on its way.

My family has many Christmas traditions, most from my mother, but some from me. My sister Moe’s kids each got a piñata from me every Christmas starting the year they had turned three. My sister would attach their piñatas to the stair railing, and they’d hang down into the family room. On Christmas Eve, after dinner, it was piñata time. The kids loved opening all of the little presents and by bedtime they were exhausted and would sleep all night into the morning. A few times my sister had to wake them up to let them know Santa had come. My nephew Ryan has a six-year-old. On Christmas Eve his son Ryder will whack at and open a piñata for the third time. His aunt, my niece, carries on the tradition.

My mother used to send us each an Advent calendar, and every morning I’d hunt for the date so I could open the little window. I’d find candles, elves, decorated trees or toys, but I knew on Christmas Eve morning I’d find a manger scene no matter what the Advent calendar looked like. One year I sent my sister’s kids a calendar with chocolate behind each window. My nephew figured out how to open the bottom so all the chocolate would fall out, and he ate every one of them, all 24 pieces. The next year they got the traditional calendar, no more chocolate. After my mother passed away, I started sending one to my sisters every year to keep the tradition going. Last year for the first time I send one from on-line and did the same this year. The calendar is animated with beautiful scenes and lovely music. My friend sent me one, and every morning it is the first thing I do on the computer. I have decorated a tree, made and dressed a snowman and today I watched alpine skiing.  I’m thinking the 24th might just have a manger scene.

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31 Comments on ““At Christmas, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ makes me cry in exactly the same places every time, even though I know it’s coming.””

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life does it to me, too. Same places: George clutching Tommy just before he has the nervous breakdown in front of Mary and the kids, George praying at Martini’s bar just before he gets punched by Mr. Welch, George running through the streets after realizing life is worth living, wishing everyone and everything Merry Christmas, the whole town showing up to put money in the basket for George in his time of need, George’s brother Harry toasting, “To my Big Brother George, the richest man in town.” Good Lord, I’m tearing up now!


    • Kat Says:

      I got a chuckle from your last line!

      George running all over town trying to find someone or something he recognizes is one of the huge scenes for me. He has such a frantic, desperate look.

      That’s the play in Stoneham this year. Sheila and I will see it on the 15th then have dinner at Felicia’s, a tradition going way back.

  2. olof1 Says:

    I can’t stand It’s a Wonderful Life 🙂 It’s just too much 🙂

    I bought myself one of those chocolate calendars this year but the chocolate pieces were much bigger when I was a kid, at least that’s how I remember it 🙂

    I can’t remember any manger scene in the calendars I had, a Yule gnome were most likely the picture they showed or a fully dressed tree. Back in the days it was tradition to dress the tree on either Christmas eve or the day before.

    The cards going abroad are sent now but I still have those staying in the country left. I’ll send them late this week I think.

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      When It’s a Wonderful Life was in the public domain for a while every station showed it, and I got so tired of it I didn’t watch it. Now it is on just once every Christmas, and I’m back to watching it.

      I only gave a chocolate calendar once then went back to the paper. I learned my lesson.

      Gnomes aren’t around much for Christmas here. I’d like them to be; they’re great looking.

      In my mother’s childhood, it was Christmas Eve when the tree was decorated.

      I hope my other cards come soon!

  3. Hedley Says:

    And so as Her Majesty approaches the 60th anniversary of the Coronation, we have the news of a Royal child, who’s direct lineage will likely see rulership in to the next century. odds have dropped dramatically on twins at just 8/1 and although the most popular name choices seem to be Victoria, Elizabeth, Diana and Charles, you can get a very attractive 500/1 on either Wayne or Chardonnay. What a Summer it will be in the old country, maybe more fun even than the Olympic Games

    Advent calendars were very much part of the tradition with our children. Each day we would guess what was behind each door and cumulate points for the candle or angel or other delight that led up to the last door and the nativity. We would then have a contest on Christmas Eve as to how many of the items they could remember, with appropriate prizes. We didn’t do chocolate

    This year I was gifted via itunes and Jacquie Lawson a rather wonderful Advent calendar based on a London landscape. Today I enjoyed a visit to the old covent garden

    I have worked very hard on Christmas presents and I am now down to stocking stuffers. It is a very special time for our family as we reunite through time and distance.

  4. Birgit Says:

    An Advent calendar is indispensable, even for old kids ;-). On Christmas Eve I expect to find a chocolate comet.
    I had to look up the translated title of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and found the funny fact that the FBI considered the film in 1947 as subversive communist propaganda.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We never did Advent calendars. I didn’t even know they existed until I was in my teens. The only Advent thing we did was light the candles on the Advent wreath every Sunday leading up to Christmas.
    Christmas Eve we all got sent off to bed because Santa and his helper, my mother, had to assemble and wrap whatever still required it.
    Christmas morning we all got up way before my parents but they had planned for this. Each kid had a name tag placed on a chair or one end of the sofa and there would be a few open presents from Santa. We were allowed to play with these, quietly, so that my parents could sleep in for a while.

    It was a gloomy day today. Very dark and damp but at least not cold. I’m back on the cane again because I was too optimistic about my recuperative powers. Oh well. It’s a good excuse to sit and knit. 🙂
    Enjoy the evening.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We did the candles too, but the little boxes with the secrets behind were our favorite.

      I always wanted to go to bed as soon as the sun went down, but my mother knew better. It was difficult enough to sleep when the night was older. All our Santa presents were unwrapped so we were overwhelmed when we first came down the stairs.

      It rained later in the day, and it is still damp but 54˚

      I totally understand jumping the wellness broom too soon. I am usually one to do the same. Go slowly and heal!!

  6. Bill S. Says:

    I was in Germany in 1997, and one of the guys I worked with invited me to their home. As it was snowing, I ended up staying overnight. In the morning I found a chocolate Santa next to the bed, having been delivered by Father Christmas. A nice tradition and gesture to someone who was away from home.

    Germany can’t be outdone with their Christmas Markets–Gluhwein, candied almonds, marzipan—I’m getting hungry again.

    • Kat Says:

      That was a lovely gesture! I’m surprise Father Christmas had you on his good list!!

      I love all the marzipan figures, but I don’t enjoy eating it.

  7. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    i think, since I don’t celebrate Christmas, I’ll just wave.

  8. im6 Says:

    Off topic…

    Saw this on Facebook tonight and knew you’d want to get one. They’re $9.98 at Lowes.


  9. Kat Says:

    How about electrifying it?

  10. Kat Says:

    I’m laughing here!!!

  11. Hedley Says:

    Dave Brubeck Thursday ? Left us one day short of his 92nd Birthday

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