When I was little, I was Terrified of Santa Clause. Like, MAJOR TERRIFIED. MAY-JOR. I think it was probably all of the facial hair that caused me to turn bright red and scream at the top of my lungs for at least 15 minutes after the Jolly Ole Man was out of my sight. I have never liked facial hair; I’ve not liked it since the day I was born. My parents have video footage of me running away screaming from anyone (usually these anyone’s were men ha!) who had any form of facial hair. I’m sure it was one of those embarrassing things that parents’ have to deal with: ‘I’m so sorry, Sir, but would you mind re-seating us in a section with a waiter that doesn’t have a beard? She won’t be able to eat for your hair trimmings’ Ha! Can you imagine?!
Anyways, I found Santa Claus this year and ironically it was at Chick-Fil-A, the same place as 25 years ago! I didn’t scream this time but was thankful when it was all over and he had safely moved 10 feet away from me. And despite his full, white beard, this Santa was perfect for the job: a belly full of jelly, a bright red suit, and a jolly old laugh. But again, he had a BEARD!!!
I have always loved the hand bell choir. Since I can remember, my mom has had hand bell practice once a week. Shortly after I graduated last year I moved into an apartment close enough to my parents’ church that I was able to join the ‘big girl’ hand bell choir. These are my bells :) I typically have an array of about 7 bells set up to play in any given song and 6 more on stand-by. It’s challenging; that’s why I love it!
This Christmas Season was particularly busy in the hand bell world. We accompanied a home school choir’s Christmas concert, dawned our 1850s garb for a nearby Dickens’ Festival, set up to play in a local gazebo for yet another Christmas festival, and the list goes on. Throughout all of these events (since Thanksgiving, really) I struggled with inner ear problems that caused vertigo. Vertigo is not fun and, when coupled with petty coats and 40 lb hand bell cases, causes extreme dizziness and in my case, a fractured foot. Ha! And after yet another Saturday morning trip to the doctor this season I am thankful to have the vertigo cleared up.
This is not my baby, nor do I know who he belongs to but he was too cute not to share with you!
Like I said, I have many friends who are celebrating birthdays this month. (And as we are already 10 days into January I can tell you there will not be an end to this any time soon.) Stephanie is the baby of this particular ring of friends, turning the ripe old age of 19! We celebrated by getting the girls together and eating at Spaghetti Warehouse. One of her presents was this giant foam cowboy hat. I’m not sure that she has worn it since then!
My mom has always wanted a banister to decorate for Christmas; when they moved to their ‘Texas-style’ house, she finally got it. And guess what that means? Yep. I get to put it up and take it down every year! Each spindle gets it’s own piece of garland with layers of ribbons, lights, and bows. This year took me a record time of one whole week to decorate! It was very pretty, though! When it came time to take it all down and stow away, I asked my brother to help me. As I was telling him all the problems I ran into installing it (broken Christmas lights, missing bows, etc.) he said, ‘Why do ya’ll even bother putting all this stuff up if it just stresses you out?’ Ah. Such a boy :) I don’t know why we put it up, other than it looks pretty and girls like pretty things.
I got to participate in a Jingle Bell Run benefiting COPD. The mother of some friends of mine (twin sisters) has been battling COPD for a while now. I think we were all amazed at how many people participated for this great cause.
We all had jingle bells in our sign-in packets. Here they are attached to my tennis shoes :) We saw several Santa Claus’s, elves, Christmas presents and one chimney/mantle piece complete with lit candles and hung stockings.
I also started a new job during all of this. Why not spice things up a bit?! I got two bouquets of flowers on my last day at my old office. They were beautiful!
I got to be a part of our church’s Christmas show this year. It was amazing and quite possibly one of the best Christmas shows I have ever seen. Originally it was meant to be for children but after some very creative people got their hands on it, it developed into a magnificent and all age appropriate show. The nativity scene was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. While the nativity scene came to life on the stage and throughout the sanctuary, two aerial ballet artists from Cirque-de-Soleil gracefully dangled 40 feet in the air from white sheets. It was incredible. I wish I had a picture of it but even if I did it would not be able to fully convey the beauty of this moment. Below is a picture of most of the cast and crew during a dress rehearsal meeting. There were little angels, dancing Elves, inhabitants of Christmas Town and many, many more.
My friend Kyla got to bring her family and friends for one of the performances. I was so glad that she got to see it!
What were you doing on Christmas Eve? If you were in New York or any other neighboring New England states I can pretty much guarantee that you weren’t doing what my family members were doing. At one point during the day I looked out and saw this; my dad and brother mowing and cleaning up the yard. I don’t remember the exact temperature but I do remember that it was a beautiful day and judging by their clothes, it was probably somewhere in the 70s. I love the south :)
After our Christmas Eve service we gathered round to play a game or two of Rummi-kub. Rummi-kub is a combination of Rummy and Spades and involves a lot of thinking, planning and swapping. I usually do not win this game when playing with my family. Ha!
Our Christmas tree! This year, like several of our most recent Christmas’s, was spent with just the five of us at the house. It makes for a very quiet couple of days! Being the not-so-early risers that the majority of us are, we had a late breakfast at about 11:00 and exchanged gifts shortly there after. We always joke that our house is Santa’s last stop of the night. We have never gotten up at the crack of dawn unable to hide our excitement and anticipation on Christmas morning. I can remember only one Christmas when one of us woke up on our own for Christmas morning. We are all such sleepers! Christmas Day and Stocking Set-Up has always been easy on our parents. Unfortunately, this is about the only day of the year where this proves to be of any benefit.
Christmas Day was very cold here. The weather swings here are sometimes similar to that of a restaurant kitchen door. It comes and it goes, high to ow, rainy to drought, stormy to desolate. Anyways, the weather reached down to about 30 degrees Christmas night. I dragged my sister out for a walk in the neighborhood and although I generally am not a fan of the cold I was excited to get to use my New York hat that I bought in NYC two years ago when I was in Times Square for New Year’s!
So, in summary of this fast paced December, I composed a song titled ‘Ellen’s 12 Days of Christmas’ and can be sung to the tune of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’:
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Twelve dozen snowflakes
Eleven hand bells ringing
Ten strands of twinkle lights
Nine scarves a’crocheted
Eight friends with birthdays
Seven pounds a’gained
Six Christmas parties
Five cars at home!
Four hand bell concerts
Three church performances
Two Christmas Hams and
A stomach bug that kept me home from all!