Posted tagged ‘A Christmas Carol’

“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.”

December 24, 2017

Last night it rained, but it’s still cloudy. The clouds, though, are light and give hope for a bit of sun. Yesterday I made my orange cookies and today is lemon squares. That’s it for the day except to shower and get ready for tonight’s festivities.

When I was a kid, this was an endless day. I remember us begging our mother to let us go to bed around 5:30. We figured the night would pass quickly if we were asleep. We never got to test that theory as we never went to bed so early. After dinner my mother always let us open a present on Christmas Eve. We didn’t have a choice as to which one we opened. We moaned and groaned because we always had to open the new pajamas. Under the tree were more presents but they were hands off until the morning.

A Christmas Carol was usually on TV, and we watched it every year. That’s where my love for the movie began. The TV screen was small and the movie was in black and white, but it was still magical as Scrooge was helped by the ghosts to see joy in Christmas and his connections to other people. I remember being older and reading A Christmas Carol and feeling as if it was an old friend I’d read often.

Dinner was no big thing on Christmas Eve. None of us was really all that hungry for regular food. We ate cookies, as many as we could get away with. My mother put hard Christmas candies in a dish on the table. The pieces were sticky and some were stuck together. That was a good excuse to eat a couple at a time. The candy didn’t last long.

Opening the pajamas signaled the start of our Christmas rituals. We’d run upstairs and put the pajamas on right away. Next was the hanging of the stockings on the stair rail. We did it by age with mine at the top, George’s next then Sheila’s then my sister Moe’s at the bottom. Sheila and Moe went to bed first. George and I went later. It took forever to fall asleep. We’d talk across the hall from one bedroom to another. I never remembered finally falling asleep. It just happened.

When I woke up on Christmas morning, it took a moment or two before I remembered it was Christmas. My parents had us wait until the four of us were awake then we raced down the stairs. Nothing is more spectacular than seeing the lit Christmas tree with the presents around it.

It doesn’t seem to matter how old I am. I still love Christmas. Under my tree are wrapped presents. I won’t open them until tomorrow. I might shake a few tonight!

Merry Christmas!

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

December 16, 2017

When I let Gracie out at midnight, it was snowing, small slowly falling flakes. I watched for a minute or two then shut the door as it was cold standing there by the storm door. I think we got about an inch, but it was enough to cover my car. Good thing I bought a brush. I have to go to the vets today to get refills for two of Gracie’s meds and Maddie’s nails need cutting.

Last night was really cold. My afghan wasn’t enough. I’ll just have to hunt out one of the guest room comforters stored down cellar. I think I know where it is.

Today is sunny but cold, about 30˚ right now. There are dripping icicles hanging from the roof. They’ll keep dripping and getting longer until the sun moves around the house. The sky is pure blue and beautiful. The scrub pine tree branches have a layer of snow. When the wind blows, some of the snow falls in a flurry.

I had no mail yesterday so I wondered if the mail truck drove pass my box because I hadn’t shoveled. I called my neighbor whose box is next to mine, but he had mail yesterday. We chatted a while. He wondered where I’d been lately as he hadn’t see me. I mentioned hibernation, and he chuckled. I also mentioned I was going out later. Not long after the call ended, I heard a motor outside. It was my neighbor snow blowing the mail boxes and the area around my car. I yelled out the door to him and thanked him. He said no problem, glad to help. He is a wonderful neighbor.

The first load of clothes is in the washer. A second load is on the floor waiting its turn. I didn’t realize how many dirty clothes I had until I went down the cellar this morning. Most are my comfy clothes, evidence of my hibernation.

I am watching yet another version of A Christmas Carol. This one from 1938 stars Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit. From what I’ve read, this adaptation isn’t as accurate to the novella as other, later, films are. Anything scary or distressing is missing like the wandering souls Jacob shows Scrooge, the two children, ignorant and want, under the cloak of the Ghost of Christmas Present and the thieves who ransacked Scrooge’s belongings after he died. The studio, MGM, thought at the time these events were too disturbing for a family audience. I’m okay with all of that. The essence of the story is the same.

This film is my sixth A Christmas Carol so far this season. I don’t ever tire of the story, and I’ve found the films differ from one another in many ways. When I was a kid, Christmas was never complete until I’d seen what was usually the Sim version on TV. Sometimes it was on Christmas Eve, the perfect night for watching.

 

 

 

“At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the [goose] breast; but when she did, and when the long- expected gush of stuffing issued forth….”

December 14, 2017

Yesterday and last night were quite cold. During the day the wind was a blast of frigid air making it feel even colder. When I took Gracie out early, I was hoping she’d be quick. She was. The only good part was my chimes bounced around in the wind and sounded  lovely.

I finished decorating my tree yesterday. I had put the lights on the day before so I added the finishing touches: garlands and ornaments. I took my time and sat down periodically.  What tired me out was hauling bins up from the cellar and then hauling them back down. I still need to check some bins today as I am missing a few traditional decorations. I’m a bit afraid to look as I figure I’ll see more decorations for the house, and I’ll be back to hauling again. I also haven’t found the lights on, lights off floor button, and I don’t want to be crawling under the tree. I was a sweaty mess when I finished, but it was worth it. The tree and the house look lovely and are filled with Christmas. After my exertions, I had an egg nog, a well-deserved egg nog, and sat in the living room admiring the tree.

I still have cards to send, and I need to choose my cookies and make a shopping list. Looking through recipes is enjoyable for me. When making a dinner for guests, I image how the dish will look, how it will taste and what might go with it. Cookies are easier.

One Christmas season I invited my friends to dinner a couple of weeks before Christmas. That was the year of the goose. A Christmas Carol and goose for dinner at the Cratchit’s house piqued my interest. I looked up recipes to use and presented my friends with an English feast. The goose was delicious with its crisp crust and moist meat and a bread stuffing with sage and onions. We dined on mashed potatoes and gravy, apple sauce just as the Cratchits had, and I added a combination of roasted root vegetables: parsnips, turnips and carrots. The dessert was the crowning glory. I made Christmas pudding, poured brandy on it and brought it to the table aflame. There was applause. I bowed though I figured the applause was more for the pudding. That dinner was remarkable.

Okay, I brought some bins down the cellar while my coffee was brewing, and I couldn’t help myself so I went hunting in a few bins I hadn’t checked. Eureka!! I found what I wanted: my small aluminum tree, my on and off light button and a few ornaments I wanted to add. That ends the hunt.

Today I have a few errands and I’ll write out the rest of the cards. I will do nothing  strenuous. All those bins took their toll.

“My stomach rumbles. Plates of cookies, cake, and fudge. Christmastime is here.”

December 23, 2016

Today is Christmas Eve Eve, just about the longest day of the year to any kid. It has no significance. Nothing happens. It is the last day until tomorrow.

Last night, actually, sort of early this morning, I watched A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sims, my favorite Scrooge. I’ve also watched George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart and Mickey. My other must-see Christmas movies are The Bishop’s Wife which I watched the other night, A Miracle on 34th Street, the original, White Christmas and Holiday Inn. The only one I haven’t yet seen is White Christmas. I’m saving that for tomorrow night.

Tonight Gracie and I are going to look at lights. It is one of the traditions left over from when I was a kid. Back then, a Saugus neighborhood was our first destination. House after house, bush after bush and tree after tree were covered in lights. It was magnificent. The rest of the ride was hit or miss. We loved the houses decked all over in lights. They drew the oohs and ahs. There were no houses with white lights. All the bulbs were large and multi-colored. We had some on our front bushes, and they’d get so hot they’d almost burn your fingers. We had orange lights in the front windows. Other houses had red or blue, few had green. All the window lights in each house matched. I figured it was an unwritten rule of Christmas decorating.

I have to make cookies this afternoon. I’m thinking my orange cookies. They take a while to make then frost, but they are so worth it!

My living room smells like a forest of fir trees. At night, only the two window lights and the tree lights are lit. Between the aroma and the lights, my living room is the best place to sit.

“Go, and redeem some other promising young creature, but leave me to keep Christmas in my own way.”

November 14, 2014

Last night the rain started and didn’t stop until late this morning, but it was a short dry spell. The rain started again about 20 minutes ago. It is colder than it has been, 41˚, and tonight will be in the 30’s. Gracie and I just got back from the dump. Going in the rain is the best time for the dump as few people venture. Trash can wait. There were just three other cars. Luckily the rain had stopped when we left the house. I dumped my recycles and trash and left. As soon as I got through the gate, the rain started again in earnest, regular wiper speed a necessity. The day is raw cold.

Yesterday I was Hazel, the maid and filled the bird feeders, cleaned the fridge, swept the floor, washed the dog bowls and placemat, did two loads of laundry and even brought both loads upstairs. I dusted the den using the sleeve of my sweatshirt, always a handy tool for dusting, and polished a couple of tables. I was not meant for menial labor.

I am a woman of very few words today. I haven’t seen anybody or done anything interesting. I did watch A Christmas Carol last night, my favorite with Alastair Sim. It was retro Thursday on the Hallmark Channel. I do love this movie and his welfare, his reclamation if you will.

I read an article about Scrooge called Diagnosing Scrooge Syndrome. According to the author Scrooge suffered from Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder, not yet official in the DSM-V, only proposed. “PTED will, if included, probably apply to a person experiencing, witnessing or being directly confronted with a highly traumatic event or events leading to chronic (longer than three months minimally, but more realistically, at least one year) feelings of embitterment.” The article is a long one so I won’t quote all of it here, but dear old Ebenezer, according to the author, saves himself through his interactions with the ghosts. That part I agree with, but humbug I say about the rest of the article. Some things needn’t be analyzed.

I’m now visualizing Rudolph on the couch, his red nose bright, his eyes filled with tears as he relates the story of being ridiculed and harassed. I won’t even mention Santa.