Saturday 9 December 2017

Christmas light . . .

December is the month of the longest night and the shortest day.  She wraps herself in a ragged coat of sombre grey, as the dreary months of winter descend upon us.  We may not want to welcome Winter . . . but our hearts fill with joy because December is also the month of the greatest gift ever given to mankind.  It is the month we choose to celebrate the birth of a King, and from the cold grip of it's wintery hand . . . we take this most wonderful prize, which crowns the ending of the year . . . that glorious Christmas Miracle. 

One of the things I have always loved doing in the month of December is to walk through the neighborhood and take in all of the Christmas lights.  It was the same when I was a girl . . . and it matters not where I have lived.  There are always beautiful lights to take in, and the darkness and dreariness of this month only serve to make them all the more beautiful. 

 Some people go wild with lights . . . festooning every nook and cranny with twinkling lights of seemingly a thousand colours . . . but which is only really three or four.  Blow up Santas and snowmen . . . like big puffed balloons saying  . . . "Look at me! Look at me!"  And we . . . look.  Others only have a few . . . a token string of two, perhaps coloured or perhaps white strung around their windows that face out onto the street, beautiful too in their understated simplicity. 

My childhood Decembers were ablaze with Christmas lights . . . there was always one house in the neighborhood which inspired people from miles around to come and have a look.  In the small town near where I spent most of my childhood, it was the old Eisner house, next to the Eisner's restaurant on main street.  A dark and imposing house in the day time (it was almost painted black), in December it came alive with every angle and corner of it's walls and roof being lined with tiny white lights, most spectacular to witness . . . and there would be carols playing nonstop as well, over a sound system, which served up pure delight to the soul.  I don't know what it must have been like living next door to it.  After days of this it was probably most annoying  to their closest neighbors, but . . . to those of us who travelled a distance to see it . . .  it was spectacular and wonderful and most magical! 


Long about mid-December my father would bring home a Christmas tree . . . fat and green and smelling of the deep woods . . . of sap and pine . . . the smell of Christmas.  It sat outside for a few days.  You could do that back then.  Nobody would steal it . . . funny how the world has changed.  Now it would probably be gone within the hour . . . but back then, t'was a different world for sure.
When it finally did come into the house it would be with great pomp and ceremony.  My mother would have laid old sheets down onto the floor so that it could be brought to it's final resting place without creating too much of a mess.  Inevitably it would always need a bit cut off the trunk . . .

Ahhh . . . even more of that deep woodsy smell.  ☺ 

 We had an old metal tree stand which consisted of a metal bowl with three curved metal legs, with what seemed like huge bolts which screwed into the base of the tree and held it upright.  Red and green it was . . . the bowl holding the water which would help to keep the tree fresh and hopefully prevent any risk of fire.  It was important to water the tree daily.  It probably sat upright in that bowl for another few days before it was decorated . . . so that the branches would settle and fall into their rightful places in the warmth of the house . . . each walk past its seemingly majestic glory  tempting small fingers to touch and caress it's prickly green needles, made only more tempting by having been forbidden. 

 My father always had the job of putting on the lights, and every year it seemed to be the same daunting struggle for him.  It didn't seem to matter how much care had been given over to storing them the year before, they were always inevitably tangled and untangling them was a chore which always created a certain amount of tension, only slightly less than the tension brought on by the inevitable burnt out light which meant that none of them worked.  Each light would then have to be tested to see which was the naughty culprit.  The three of us, my brother, sister and I  . . .  would sit on the sofa watching this all with great anticipation . . . just close enough that we had a wonderful view of all the goings on . . . but far enough away that we would not add to the frustration and tension of this exercise.  There were always great shouts of glee as finally the lights all lit up . . . and all the fury of the moments just before would slip away, melting into oblivion for another year. 

My father also strung all of the lights onto the tree.  That was his job.  I don't know if he liked doing it or not.  I have never asked him . . . I think I will call him one afternoon this week and talk about the tree and see what his memories of it might be.  I only know for sure that, as a child, there was no more magnificent sight on earth than that Christmas tree standing in the corner of the living room, all lit up and waiting for the decorations to be put on. 

Out of the big decoration box would come smaller boxes, each one filled with a multitude of tissue wrapped coloured glass baubles . . . pink and turquoise, red and green, silver and gold . . . some plain, some frosted, some painted with glittery snowflakes and trees  We were never allowed to touch these for fear that we might break them.  I loved to look at them . . . my reflection staring back at me, warped and resplendent in their glow.  Then too there were small glass birds with bristle tails that were clipped onto the branches . . . here and there all over the tree . . . and my favourite decoration of all . . . what looked like small pie tins, filled with little red and white spotted toadstools and green pine branches. 

 I am sure that is what began this great love affair I have with red and white spotted toadstools.  I gave those toadstools many a loving and forbidden caress during all of my growing up years and I am sure that they are still tucked away in a box somewhere down in my mother's basement . . . I recreated them for myself when my own children were small, using little foil tart tins I bought at the grocery store and green felt, as well as little red and white toadstools I found in a craft shop.  What lovely memories they stirred for me in my heart as I lovingly put them together. 

There was no such thing as a themed tree in my childhood . . . only a Christmas Tree, which held a thousand memories of childhood joy and glee.  

There were a couple of other items in the Christmas box of ornaments that we delighted in as children, and which we only ever got to see at Christmas.  One was a small cardboard box, which said something about the toilet present and toilet past. It had a small porcelain toilet in it with a lid and a seat that worked, sat alongside a small ceramic chamber pot. The other was a small ceramic figure of a little German girl crouching and holding her skirts up, as if to use the toilet.  There was a small hole on her bottom that you could put these little silver pellets in. When my mother lit them with the end of her cigarette, they would explode into small curls which fell on the table behind her, for all the world looking as if she were having a you know what.  You can imagine to a child how fascinatingly exciting this would be, especially when witnessed only once a year by the soft glow of a well lit Christmas tree  . . .  

This year we have only a small table top tree, 3 feet tall . . .  our tiny house for some reason would not fit the full tree this year.  I think it is because we have moved the furniture around so much.  This gives us a lovely seating area, but alas, no room for a real full sized tree.  Some years are like that.

A thought to carry with you  . . .         
° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

One of the most glorious messes in the world 
is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. 
Don't clean it up too quickly.
~Andy Rooney   •。★★ 。* 。 

Spiritual Enlightenment  


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading - 2 Nephi 9:50-10:17
QuestionWhat are things you prioritise that won't "satisfy"? What advice is Jacob giving us in these verses? 

 My thoughts - Feast upon that which perisheth not. That would be my covenants, holy words of God, revelation through the still small voice. We are told to feast upon the words of Christ, that they will tell us all things what we should do. My knowledge and experiences, and covenants made and sealed by the holy spirit of promise are all I can take with me when I leave this earth. My greatest treasure are my family. Jacob also says, "do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labour for that which cannot satisfy." The world persuades us so well that we must have the news clothes, cars, houses, holidays etc. There may come a time where I may regret a certain purchase if I have no food for my table or roof for my head. We must be wise and follow the guidance from the scriptures and our prophet. 
I have heard this phrase and I love it, "you can never get enough of something you don't need". I feel like satan is constantly chucking solutions at us. If you feel (insert any negative emotion) try this, blah, blah, blah.  He entices us to waste our time, talents, money and efforts on ourselves. He wants to keep us separate, busy and empty. Seeking after anything other than Christ to fill me leaves me empty. I love these lyrics from a hymn we sing at church "the spirits voice of goodness whispers to our hearts a better choice than evils anguished cries, loud may the sound of hope ring til all doubt departs, and we are bound to him by loving ties." I know that as I spend my time drawing near to the Lord and doing His work He fills me.

Tomorrow's Reading (Day 51) -2 Nephi 10:18-11:8 
Question - In what ways can we reconcile ourselves to the will of God? How can we feel hope when all we can see is our weaknesses?

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Crumble Topped Mince Pies.  The pretty one sister to the plain jane. 

Have a great Saturday!  Don't forget! 
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And I do too! 


  1. I just put up my parents Christmas tree yesterday. Alot of those memories always come back when I put the bulbs on that we had when we were young. They still have at least a dozen bulbs
    left. I always hold my breath while putting those on the tree! Lol.

  2. Jan, how lucky you are to still have them! I can imagine the care you take in decorating with those beautiful memories! xoxo

  3. Hi Marie, what a lovely Christmassy blog. I have wonderful memories of Christmases past and the excitement of the tree and the lights going up! I can vividly remember Christmas Eve and having my nose pressed against the window watching and waiting for Santa! If I close my eyes I can picture my bedroom perfectly, and also feel the cold, no such thing as central heating in those days!

    We're off to George's great nephews 1st birthday party this afternoon. It's out in Hale, past Liverpool airport, so hoping the weather is going to be kind. It snowed yesterday but didnt stick. I think tomorrow is supposed to be worse. I've got a girly night out tomorrow to celebrate my sisters birthday. We've booked to go to Panoramic 34 which is a hotel on the Liverpool waterfront and the restaurant is on the 34th floor! The views over the city will be amazing especially if its snowy, just hope its not too snowy so we can still get there!

    Enjoy your weekend, lots of love xxx

  4. Lovely Christmas memories..J has always done the lights here..I have a feeling my mom did everything lol..I don't remember my dad lifting a finger..he did make great burnt rotisserie chickens on our BBQ and terrific fried frencgh fries:)

  5. As much as I miss the smell of pine I have only artificial table top size trees any more. It's a matter of convenience here. I certainly have no room or the energy to do it all any more. I love to see others and enjoy theirs.

  6. Thanks Kate! I am praying that the weather doesn't affect your plans too adversely! A lot has been cancelled here! Your night out tomorrow sounds lovely! I had not heard of that restaurant! What fun that will be! Take some snaps of what you eat! lol that way I can live vicariously through you! haha xoxo

    You are making me hungry talking about your dad's BBQ chicken and fried french fries Monique! My dad did not cook at all, except for fried eggs. I remember once when my mom was sick, he cooked all day for us, fried eggs for breakfast, lunch and supper. I got sick in bed that night and yep, my sister was wearing fried eggs in her hair, lol Poor wee mite. I could not eat fried eggs for years and years! xoxo

    You will have to get yourself a pine scented candle Pam! I have one of those. Yankee Candles. It smells lovely! xoxo

  7. I don't know who decorated the tree in our house cause it wasn't done when I was around....on Christmas Eve I went to bed really early as apparently Father Christmas visited our house first but coudnt come if I wasn't asleep ! Then came the tradition at midnight Mum or Dad would come through to our bedroom and wake me up ( my two sisters much older than me were already up). When the door opened into the sitting room I gasped as there in the window twinkling away was....the Christmas tree....dressed in all its splendour....what excitement there was also a few parcels with my name on them but best of all there was a stocking, in these days they were bought ones white in a kind of net with red binding..I can see it yet, it was filled with small toys, maybe a doll or a toy car or dog once a pink rabbit plastic that was actually a tooth can I remember all that after almost 70 years !!...if I was lucky I would have a "big" present a dolls pram,or a baby doll,or once a dolls cot and a dolls house that my uncle made for me ( I later heard that). ...ah yes such happy Christmas memories ...The getting up continued through my life and Sarah and John continued it with Jacqueline and's very sad that Jacqueline is no longer with us and never had children, same with Beth she coudnt have children and so the tradition has faded.....but thankfully our memories don't and Beth still talks about it to this day......night night. God Bless xx

  8. I still read all your posts (and look at your Instagram) all the time, Marie. 'Just don't comment as much anywhere online as I used to. 'Still here, though, and following along. :) I love reading your holiday memories. And if I didn't say it already: CONGRATULATIONS on your book!! YOU DID IT! :) ♥ :) ♥ :)

  9. We finally got around to putting up our tree, too. (Usually it's up by at least Thanksgiving).

    I used to love looking at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Living kind of out in the country now, there isn't much opportunity for that.

    My sister and her hubby looked at all the lights in their neighborhood last week, and they brought their new dog with them. He loooved it! (It makes me wonder if dogs can see color after all. lol!)


  10. Hi Marie~

    Again, your love of red and white spotted toad stools, Christmas lights, old ornaments and real Christmas trees...just like me. If I never meet you in this life, I will in the next.

    I loved the story of your father and the Christmas lights, and I'm pretty sure my children can relate. One reason I bought a pre-lit tree... ;0)

    I would love to see that little German girl...I have never heard of anything like it, but, I know that I would have been fascinated by it as a child. My grands would love it...don't they all love things like that?!

    Small trees are good, some of the most beautiful trees I've ever seen were very small, I'm sure your's is beautiful.

    I needed this nostalgic post's been a long, hard week.

    What wonderful and true scripture reading today. Family is everything, we don't need more than the truth of the Gospel and family. It's true, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.

    Hugs and Love,

  11. I forgot! Thank you so much for the signed name plate for my cookbook...I cherish it!! I only wish it would have had a return address. Thank you sweet friend!

  12. What lovely Christmas memories Sybil! I loved reading them! Thank you so much for sharing. We did not get a lot of presents when I was a child, and (I never thought I would say this) I am grateful for that. It helped us to appreciate what we did have all the more. Hope you are staying dry and warm this weekend! xoxo

    Thanks so much Val! I still look and read as well, but comment only rarely as I mostly read on my iPad and it makes it very difficult for me. Occasionally one gets through however! Merry Christmas to you and your dear family! xoxo

    I am not sure how much colour Dogs see Kristin, but I am pretty sure what he loved most of all was being with your sister and her husband out and about. Dogs are very social animals and pick up on our own excitement so easily! xoxo

    I have a large tree which has the lights built in as well Barb, but sadly this year we ended up with no room to put it up. Not sure why that is! I would sooooo love to meet you in this life. Sorry I didn't put a return address on the envelope. Send me a message on FB and I will give you my address there! I am sorry you have had a long hard week. Sending you extra love and hugs. xoxo

  13. There you go again writing about tender memories and I experienced some of the same things. I do have to laugh about the stringing of lights. I think it's a man thing because it was the same for my Dad and my husband. Sometimes, not a pleasant moment at all. However, once completed we were all in awe. I love most putting our three nativity scenes each year because there is a story behind each of them. I love this time of year.
    Oh, the memories that came flooding back today.
    Thanks, dear friend for your thoughts today. Big hugs for you!

  14. I think it was a man thing also LeAnn! These newer trees have the lights all built in so they are a lot easier! Big hugs and love flying back right your way! oxoxo


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