The holiday season means for most gathering of the clan, which in most family includes oodles of children. Keeping them occupied can be challenging. One idea is set up a craft table out of the way, stocked with quilling supplies. I have found that round toothpicks, shredded paper, and school glue is a perfect inexpensive solution. Some ideas for projects are a small kitchen tree they can decorate with ornaments, table seating place cards, or pre-made ornaments for them to adorn. One of my favorites is to have frames made from cardstock which the children can decorate; during in the festivities snap some photos. In the age of digital photography pictures can be printed quickly. The one that is a hit with all the adults is a group shot of all the children.
On a personal level this Christmas season is a very unusual for our family. For the first year we do not have a live tree, but an artificial which sadly is not even decorated with our hundreds of carefully collected and made ornaments. It was bought pre-lite and was one of the last one left at the store. Jokingly my husband wanted to tie it to the roof of our truck as we have done in years past with our live tree. There are no lights adoring our outside, our fence and arbors are strangely dark while lights and decorations remain in storage. Our sons who can not return home for the holiday will have no wrapped present from us to open Christmas morning this year. The batches of cookies baked in previous years starting Thanksgiving weekend remain unbaked. Our home strangely looks the same as it does each day of the year, oh we did manage to put the small forest of trees in the picture windows. But the holiday village will also remain packed away. The number of presents under the tree is a far cry from the multitude of years past.
For this year we have learned the true meaning of the season, it not the tree, presents, lights, or cookies. December 25th will come and go whether these trappings are in our home or not.
Many do not know that my mom suffered a severe heart attack November 25th while Christmas shopping with a friend. On route to the hospital her heart stopped five times.
My husband and I arrived minutes after she arrived and were told to “gather” close family members. Our sons flew in from North Carolina, while we stood by her bedside with the priest giving last rites. I spent hours at her bedside talking myself hoarse, turning my watch over to the next family member. Being a small family of only four, we had very long hours. We took it one hour at time. The second morning we were greeted with my mom awake and she smiled! The long road to recovery could now begin with the first step to get her stable enough to transfer to another hospital for surgery. Slowly she began to remember me more and more, after eight days she was able to be transferred. Surgery proceed immediately upon her arrival, a very long night for Doug and I. Our sons after a week stay needed to return to their jobs in North Carolina. After a collapsed lung she is now the proud owner of an ICD (Defibrillator). Another eight days and she was released to our care. She has no memory of her first week in the hospital or the period of time preceding Thanksgiving. Remarkable she is able to walk (unsteady but therapy will improve that), talk, and has retained her sense of humor.
She has a long road ahead, but as her doctors say she is a true miracle!
And is that not what Christmas is all about.... miracles?