I imagine your December was filled with many of the same things ours was: Christmas decorating, shopping, wrapping, addressing Christmas cards and writing family newsletters, cleaning and preparing for family members or friends to visit. I’ve often thought that the Christmas “extras” would be a lot more manageable without the everyday stuff that still needs to be done. 🙂 Thankfully, my husband offered to get take-out several times before Christmas week and helped me with some tasks.
Jim and I celebrated our 43rd anniversary with a dinner out at a nice restaurant.
The week before Christmas, my grandson, Timothy, tested positive for Covid. We were thinking about whether it would be best to put Christmas celebrations off for a day or try to celebrate separately over FaceTime. But, thankfully, his fever broke and symptoms lessened in time to do Christmas as scheduled.
This was not a white Christmas, but it was the coldest one we’ve had since we were married. We’ve reached a low of 7F in the middle of some winter nights, but this year we were at 3 or 4 for a couple of days.
We managed to get to a Christmas concert by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and a small new drive-through light show as well as dinner out a couple of times.
And we had a wonderful Christmas together with lots of catching up and games on the other nights.
Thankfully, my oldest son is here for two weeks. I’m so glad, because Christmas week was so busy and went by so fast. Even though he’s working from our home this week, we have an extra weekend and evenings this week to be together. And with Timothy sick over a few days and Mittu one day, it’s nice to have a few extra days built into this visit.
I send out store-bought cards to extended friends and family, but make cards for immediate family. That makes December a busy card-making month with family Christmas cards as well as our anniversary and my step-father’s birthday.
This was my card to Jim for our anniversary:
The birds and branch were done on the Cricut. The white background was embossed on the Cuttlebug.The writing was printed on the computer–I usually do all my greetings and inside sentiments on cardstock through the computer, several on one page, and cut them apart.
This was Jim’s card for Christmas.
The white trees were embossed with the Cuttlebug and the deer was made with the Cricut.
This was Jeremy’s:
The fox was from a free download found on Pinterest. I printed him off on cardstock and cut him out with an Exacto knife. The trees were made via Cricut and dabbed with a glue stick and then doused with glitter. This was the first card I made this year, because I wanted Jeremy’s to be done before he came. I made a note to myself not to make the first card with glitter unless I want all the cards to have glitter. 🙂 I think I still have glitter on my work table and even had some embedded on my glue stick.
This was Jason’s:
I don’t know if you can tell, but the letters and center snowflake are big spongy stickers. Then I put a few more of the snowflake stickers in the center of the snowflakes on the background paper.
This was Mittu’s:
I was especially pleased with this one. I couldn’t find a design on the Cricut for a long branch of a pine or fir tree, so I cut out four smaller ones and arranged them.
This was Timothy’s:
The gingerbread stickers from Hobby Lobby were made out of fabric, ribbon, and buttons. I was delighted to find scrapbooking paper with Christmas cookies for the background on one of my multi-packs of paper.
And this was for Jesse:
This is all done with stickers except the background scrapbooking paper. After it was too late, I realized I should have cut apart the “JOY” sticker and spread out the letters a bit.
This was for my step-father’s after-Christmas birthday.
I found this paper in a pad of Christmas scrapbooking paper, too, but thought it looked like it would do for a non-Christmas card.
Watching and Listening
Somehow we didn’t watch some of our usual favorite Christmas movies. But we did see a really good new-to-us one. My husband likes WWII movies and somehow found one set during Christmas. Silent Night was made in 2002, starring Linda Hamilton. She plays a mom in Germany whose home gets bombed. Her husband is a soldier, but she’s not in sympathy with the war. She and her son travel to their family’s hunting cabin, which happens to be near the front lines. Three American soldiers burst in on Christmas Eve, one of them wounded. They take over her cabin and distrust her efforts to help. She has her son hide the soldiers’ guns. And then three German soldiers come. . . She tries to negotiate a Christmas peace for the night while the soldiers are all wary of each other.
We also watched Meet John Doe, and old black and white film with Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper. A newspaper columnist is fired but has one last column to write. She makes up a story about receiving a letter from an unemployed John Doe saying he’s going to jump off a building on Christmas Eve in protest of the state of the world. A number of people write in, offering John Doe jobs and giving him reasons to stay. The reporter convinces the newspaper to hire a man to impersonate “John Doe.” As people do for publicity, the newspaper and backers push and milk the story for all it’s worth, and the whole thing grows into a movement. But one businessman funding the scheme has his own agenda.
And, I’m not much for Hallmark Christmas movies, but I did enjoy The Mistletoe Promise while wrapping presents one afternoon. A lawyer is not fond of Christmas after some disappointments earlier in his life.He runs into a businesswoman in the food court who feels the same way due to her scheming ex-husband, with whom she still works. The lawyer is up for partner, but his boss is big on family values. He feels his chances would increase if he had a girlfriend and was heading towards marriage. So he proposes the “mistletoe contract” with his businesswoman friend, where she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend. To make it more realistic, they attend several Christmas events together. And, of course, you now what happens. 🙂 But it was a sweet movie overall.
I finished listening to the Literary Life podcasts on Dracula. They ended the series with a program on “Dracula At the Movies,” showing how the film adaptations changed over the years as society’s perception of evil changed. The book comes from the view that Dracula represents evil and must be destroyed.But later films change the story to provoke sympathy for Dracula and eventually to regard him as the mistreated hero.
I also listened to Your Best Writing Life’s podcasts on Organize Your Writing Life for Higher Productivity with Liana George and Writing Hybrid Devotional Studies with Kathy Howard (hybrid devotional studies being something between one verse and a couple of paragraphs on one hand and a full-fledged Bible study with an hour’s homework on the other hand).
- Joy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback. A series of 42 fairly short devotions on the topic of joy. Very good.
- Be Determined (Nehemiah): Standing Firm in the Face of Opposition by Warren W. Wiersbe
- Be Alive (John 1-12): Get to Know the Living Savior by Warren Wiersbe
- The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, a delightful reread–or re-listen in this case.
- Midnight, Christmas Eve by Andy Clapp. Two teens pledge to come back to their bench in their hometown in five years on Christmas Eve and get engaged. He comes; she doesn’t. He keeps coming for the next few years. Very good, sweet story.
- Snowed In for Christmas by Cami Checketts. As the title indicates, two people who are attracted to each other but determined not to get together for their own reasons are snowed in together. Silly in places, but a good story overall.
- The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck. Five New Yorkers receive a mysterious invitation to a book society in an old library. No one knows who sent the invitations or what the participants are expected to do, but they all decide to keep meeting and see what happens. There were a couple of elements I objected to, but overall it was a good, engaging story.
- Heaven and Nature Sings: 25 Advent Reflections to Bring Joy to the World by Hannah Anderson. An excellent advent devotional. I have not reviewed it yet: I plan to do so next week.
I’m currently reading:
- Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies. Almost done!
- Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life by Jerry B. Jenkins
- Be Transformed (John 13-21): Christ’s Triumph Means Your Transformation by Warren W. Wiersbe
- Hope for Christmas by Malissa Chapin
- The Meekness of Wisdom. It takes meekness both to receive and share wisdom.
- God Does Not Forget Prayers or Promises. God ended 400 years of silence with an announcement of John the Baptist’s birth. He cares and has not forgotten His people, even though His timing is different than ours.
- Why Did Jesus Come as a Baby? There are a number of reasons Jesus came to earth as a human, but why specifically as a baby? Some thoughts here.
- The Savior of the World Is Here. Herod was once called “the Savior of the World.” But a baby born to poor parents in a stable was the only one with a claim to that title.
Not much, if any, this month! Our critique group disbanded for the holidays and will start back up in January. I hope to really dig into my writing then.
I wish you all the best for the coming year!