The First Week Of Christmas


Saturday:  When he got up this morning, John lit the tree.  That made me smile.  I usually don't decorate it right away but it's still pretty and very pleasant if one is sitting in a semi-dark room which John was doing.  He didn't open the curtains behind the tree at all, and I left them closed so that he could enjoy the lights.

I am not really decorating but I did tie plaid bows on the old kerosene lamp globes, put out a pair of red Beeswax candles and set up the Edwin Knowles winter platter with antlers and a tiny bird figurine from my collection on the bookcase.  I'm slowly getting an idea of what I might like to do for Christmas decor that strictly uses what I have this year.

I moved one of the blooming Thanksgiving cacti into my bedroom and set it on the dresser tray.  The other is sitting on the end of the garden tub.  They are truly so lovely.   The poinsettia in the bathtub is steadily changing color, which assures me they are getting just the amount of light needed and not too much.

Later in the day, John put on Christmas music.  It was a dull drear selection of slowed down classics.  John finally said what I'd been thinking "My word!  I keep looking around to see the funeral procession so I can ask who died!"  I suggested he try out the Jake Westbrook Vintage Christmas music videos on You Tube.  He was much happier with those.  

We lit the next to last Channukah candle tonight at sundown.  We haven't done a thing special this year for the Celebration of Lights except to light the Chanukiah.  Honestly, I think I like making a wee fuss and I shall be better prepared next year.

Sunday:  Tonight, we light our last Channukah candle.  I like that it started Thanksgiving weekend this year as it seems a good opener to the lovely month of December and festive holidays.  

When Katie arrived today Caleb ran to the living room where John had lit the tree and came to a dead stop and just stared at the tree.  Of course, he's had to touch it, and he had to find out how it works and located the plug right away.  But mostly he liked just stopping to stare at it.  He's the perfect age to enjoy his first Christmas memory.  His soft chuckle made me smile several times as he'd stop and laugh as he gazed at the tree.

I made my first batch of cookies, Snickerdoodles.  I used to make these cookies every Christmas, but I fell away from doing so because they were only my favorite and no one else's.  I'd been thinking about them and craving them.  I watched Jennifer from A Country Life make them last week.  Then I went to the store to buy flour and I found a recipe on the back of the bag.  I think I'm meant to have Snickerdoodles this year.


Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup each butter and shortening

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. of baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400f.

Cream the butter and shortening together with the sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy and light.  Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add to creamed mixture. Mix just until all is blended, scraping bowl if necessary.

In a small bowl mix the 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsps. of cinnamon.

Roll 1 teaspoon of dough into a ball and then drop in the cinnamon sugar mixture and shake them around.  Place on parchment/foil/silicone mat lined baking sheet.   Space the balls two inches apart.  This is a soft dough and will spread quite a bit as it bakes.

Bake for 8-10 minutes (Mine did best at 9 and a half minutes).   Cool on a rack.  Allow pan to cool slightly before placing the next batch of dough on the pan. 

Monday:  I went out to the shed, and I think I know what I'd really like to do this year.  I want my theme this year to be an English Country Christmas.  I've brought out my sheep ornaments from a few years back and I have blue and white ornaments and the little glass pinecones that I so love.  I have red birds and the brown beaded birds, too.

I grew very frustrated this afternoon looking at the artificial greenery.  I have access to pine and cedar here on the property and I've decided that I shall gather some of those things to use rather than play about with fake.  

In the meantime, I've added another strand of lights to the tree.  I am glad I did.  It was just what I felt it needed and I was right.

I made out my menu for the family party.  These are old tried and true, oft used recipes for appetizers that I've enjoyed again and again over the years.   They are inexpensive and festive at the same time.  And they are not something we'd normally have but things we would have only for a special occasion.  I think they will be just perfect. 

Tuesday:  It's all in the planning.  I sat down today and made out a list of appetizers I can make for the family party, eliminating some of those on my wish list because in the past no one but myself ate them and I had too many leftovers.   I'll be giving my children the opportunity to provide some appetizers, too.  Then I made out my grocery list and put a big asterisk beside those items I needed for the family party, so I'll be sure to pick them up or find suitable substitutes.

Then I planned the cookies I want to make.  I keep basic baking supplies on hand and have all I need for these.  

My next task is to plan Christmas Day dinner and make sure those items are on hand or add to my shopping list.  I'd forgotten that the very next weekend is Christmas Day.  Still haven't done a thing about this.

I went into the dollar store this evening looking for Christmas cards.  I've no idea why I have none this year.  I always come to Christmas with at least four boxes and buy more at the after Christmas sales.  Did I decide to move them to a better place, one I was sure was logical?  So seldom do I find things when organized strictly 'by logic'.  

The dollar store had no boxes of cards. Not one. I could buy individual cards for $1 or more each but not a box of anything.  Never mind, they did have tape and I got several rolls.  Now I'll lay odds I'll find the stash of tape I also thought I had.

While I'm thinking of it: Tracey, Connie, and Elizabeth thank you all so much for your kindnesses!  It is appreciated and a blessing.

Wednesday:  This day we had a free day.   John and I slept until almost 9am, not hard to do as it was pouring rain down and had been since about 10pm last night.   No complaints as we needed this rain badly.  It was a rather dry autumn here and the fields being harvested often kicked up clouds of dust that rose like smoke in the air above the fields.  Burn bans were applied nearly everywhere

With Christmas comes taxes...We paid our property taxes today.   I might have waited a little later in the month to pay taxes but like John said, "I'd rather go into Christmas knowing it's all taken care of..." and I do agree with that very much.  Fortunately, I've done with Christmas shopping except for what we'll send Amie and whatever I decide upon for Mama.  I am a total blank on Mama this year.   

Thursday:  An unusual day, with a bit of fun, all rolled into one.   Bess came over with Millie to sit with Caleb while I went to the doctor.  The good doctor, who once prescribed humming for an ear problem suggested pickles and lemons for my lymph node which he suspects is a blocked salivary gland at the back of my mouth.  It's not often one gets prescribed pickles...Massage, warm compresses and pickles have already decreased the size of the thing by half.  

Home just in time to see Samuel come by to get Millie.   Bess had an appointment herself this afternoon to go to and left from here to go directly to do that.   John and I had just finished our lunch after everyone left when I saw Katie's car come by the window.  She stayed and visited a couple of hours while we waited for Caleb to take a nap.  Caleb was not having a nap today.

He much preferred running about with a pinecone ornament he'd borrowed from the Christmas tree.  There's good reason why I chose the decorations I did for the tree this year.  I need to hot glue loops onto the sheep ornaments I made a couple of years ago and removed the metal hooks, so he won't get hurt with those should he pull one from the tree.

I was applying more warm compresses and eating more pickles this afternoon when Bess ran by to pick up some things she'd left behind here.  We got to run out to the porch and spoke to Isaac, Caleb and Millie.   John pronounced it a good day when he can see two daughters, one son, and four grandchildren and I tend to agree. 

Friday:  What is it with holidays and drop by guests?   Katie dropped Caleb off this morning and then texted that she didn't have to work after all.  She asked if I minded her leaving him here while she went to finish her Christmas shopping.  I had no objections to that.  She arrived while Caleb was napping.  It was a joy to hear him start laughing excitedly when he woke and heard her voice.   

Before Katie returned Sam ran in to drop off my containers from Thanksgiving leftovers he took home.  He admired my bread and bread pan.  I realized that I had two of the Pullman bread pans  (*affiliate link for this product) and I only ever use one.  It's highly unlikely I'll ever make two loaves at the same time, so I pulled the other out of the cabinet and gave it to him.  He was well pleased with the pan and admired the quality of it.  

We had a short conversation and then he took off to do his own shopping.  

Katie came bearing gifts.  She can't wait to give you what she's gotten you and is not one for keeping it secret anyway, so I got a lovely pair of slippers and her dad got new pajama pants to wear this winter (only indoors and only when he's no intention of going out.  Thank goodness he is not the sort to wear the things into town!!).     Caleb decided that my new slippers were perfect shoes for him and kicked up a ruckus every time I slipped on onto my own foot.   John brought out his slippers thinking he could woo Caleb away from mine.  Nope.  Now he wanted both pairs of slippers and to have no one else touch them.   I didn't get to wear my new slippers until he'd gone home, lol.

I decided to take it pretty easy today.    It's gloomy and gray outdoors again, rained in the night and now all the trees are completely bare.  That sort of weather makes me feel it's far better suited to naps and snuggling down in my chair with a book than pushing myself to do too many tasks.   After making breakfast and lunch and cooking some chicken ahead for a pizza tomorrow, doing dishes and sweeping floors and folding clothes...I decided that decorating the tree was the thing I'd do and call the day done.  

I've skipped the glass pinecones on the tree this year and will stick with the inexpensive little real ones I bought at the dollar store.  Plastic balls in navy blue and glittery white, red birds, the brown beaded birds and my lovely little sheep are all that will go on the tree.  If I get to feeling terribly antsy, I might string some of the plaid ribbon about but those are the things that I've put on the tree and that's what it shall be.  Not my favorite tree, but practical with a two-year-old who just can't help but touch and move things.

I decided to attempt the faux greenery on the mantle.   I decided I wasn't crazy about it either.   Then I realized that my own tiredness is likely coloring my outlook and I stepped away from it all.  I'll let it be and see how I like it as I feel better.  No need to be hasty in undoing what I've just done.

And that is our first week of Christmas.   How was yours?

(C) Terri Cheney

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