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Friday, December 18, 2015

Eight Years. Wow.

Eight years ago on December 20, The Marmelade Gypsy went "live." It doesn't seem possible.

Since then my world has expanded to include friends from around the world, some of whom I will never meet, others who have become "real life" friends. Wherever you fit in that scheme of things, I am grateful for your presence, your comments, your ideas, your compassion and for all the things I learn from visiting you. Thank you.

As you will be reading this, I will be celebrating Christmas. This year we are doing our family Christmas early with Kevin, Molly and Greg at Kevin and Molly's home. It's their first Christmas in their new house and we're excited because we will get a whole weekend of fun instead of the usually 24-hours as they go from one family to another and another still.


Initially it was hard for me to think of doing things differently this year. Since the kids were small we negotiated two homes easily enough (well, not always easily) and we built our own holiday traditions. Rick's grandfather's dinner on Christmas Eve (which was usually not on December 24), followed by cookie decorating.


Our morning would include our breakfast casserole and mimosa, lots of time opening presents and "Reindeer games"-- a little dice tossing with dollar store prizes for all. Then it would be goodbye to the kids and Rick and I would do Christmas all over again with the two of us, or maybe with friends.

I don't know if we'll be doing cookies or reindeer games this year. Maybe. Maybe not. But whatever we do, I know it will be fun and filled with love.

Part of life is growing and changing -- and never stopping that. It means that traditions will change.

When I was little, Christmas Eve was spent at my aunt's where we all dressed up and also celebrated cousin Nancy's birthday on that day. Christmas morning was with mom and dad, and dinner at my grandparents -- which was not a lot of fun. There was a 30 year age difference between me and the next youngest person at dinner! I don't remember (obviously) when this picture was taken (I'm the little billiard ball on my Grandmother's lap -- who by the way was only 65 or 66 when this was taken!). But this is what my Christmas Day dinners looked like for probably a good 18 years! A definite lack of peer group!


In college, the Cleveland cousins came north and we'd celebrate together with our package wrapping contest, carols at the piano, champagne at midnight. And then the moms died. We kept it up till they had families and Christmas travel just didn't play into the plans as it did before. So, for awhile, we celebrated Christmas in February, halfway between our homes.


Christmas with dad meant church on Christmas Eve and a quiet Christmas day. Eventually, I took over the cooking and we invited friends to celebrate with us in my tiny apartment. Then that changed, too.

I remember Christmas Eves with my friend Judy and her family and Christmas dinners with those of us who were on our own. And then I met Rick.

I just noticed Stimpy is wearing the same reindeer ears I just put on Lizzie! Those have been around a long, long time!
Suddenly there were kids and Santa, cookie plates and new traditions.

All those changes happened because something better happened, letting new experiences and wonderful feelings evolve.

I was talking with a friend about this the other day. She is one of several who are experiencing similar shifts. In her case, it was the death of a parent followed by the sale of the family home, the gathering place of so many traditional years. It's not just an emotional shift but a physical one.

And, I suspect as we continue to age, this will happen more often. Families will say farewell to a senior generation and the next group will step up to bat. Filling their places will be our children and then grandchildren. The circle of life.

So, this year, we are making merry our holiday traditions will shift, too. We decorated Rick's tree over the weekend -- just the two of us, with ornaments that tugged at our memories and heartstrings.


We'll celebrate with the kids a little early, with friends on Christmas day, and -- as you might expect from me -- anywhere along the way we can can. Because really, isn't life too short not to celebrate every single minute? We never know what's going to happen tomorrow or the next day. Make this one count.


But one thing never changes. Lizzie will wear a hat. Maybe only for 30 seconds and with assistance, but she will wear a hat.

And once again, thank you for being with me on this ride called "The Marmelade Gypsy." Some of you have been here since I started, others have joined in along the way. I am grateful for you all.

25 comments:

I need orange said...

Happy Blogiversary!

And Merry Christmas.

You make the world a little brighter with every ornament, every swag, every cookie, every bit of art, every photo, every story, and every instance of Lizzie in a hat. :-)

Thank you.

:-)

Barb said...

Thank goodness I found your smile year ago, Jeanie. You brighten my day! Our family traditions have changed so much over the years, especially since we now have grandchildren. I like that my children adopt traditions of their own, sometimes based on the traditions they had as children. It's good that I don't have to be the planner and the doer as much anymore. As long as the holiday is filled with love, smiles, laughter, respect, and compassion - I'm happy! (yes, I know that's a BIG Christmas list!) Enjoy yourself, Jeanie.

angie said...

I was very happy to read from you again and have admired their beautiful pictures !! see very tasty from the cookie !!! I wish you a nice Advent - and Christmas, Greetings Angie from Germany

Deb said...

I'm not sure when I jumped on board but I'm glad I did. I always enjoy your photos, personality and your uplifting spirit. Now about poor Lizzie...

Joyful said...

Ha, ha. I'm still getting a kick out of Lizzie mugshot with her reindeer horns on. The look is priceless. I like how you have accepted and moved on with the traditions as you need to. That to me is a part of life. Things are always changing and some of us accept that better than others. It is just part of life. I agree that we should experience fun and life as it happens as we never know what is around the corner. It's good to show love to our loved ones and friends, and even strangers *wink, while we can. Happy Holidays to you!

vicki (skiourophile) said...

The look on Lizzie's face! Have a lovely Christmas, Jeanie, and make some new and wonderful traditions.

Victoria Zigler said...

Happy bloggerversary, and Merry Christmas!

Enjoy all your holiday celebrations... however they end up happening, and wherever you happen to be for each one of them.

Oh, and good luck with the Lizzie hat thing... I know how tricky getting cats to co-operate with holiday photoshoots is.

bassgirl said...

Happy Anniversary, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, and a very happy and healthy New Year to you and yours. You have an inspiring way of enjoying the moment. Another wonderful blog, and there's a little extra water in my eyes right now.

Joanne Huffman said...

Happy Blogaversary! I love rituals and traditions and traditions that morph into newer traditions. My Christmas will be different this year, but full of traditions and new customs due to Daphne's arrival. Enjoy your extended celebration.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Dear Jeanie,
This is such a wonderful Christmas post... Filled with traditions, loving memories, lots of love and joy.
I wanted to stop in and thank you for your kindness and your most enjoyable posts this year... You have brought many smiles.
blessings, and Merry Christmas.
fondly,
Penny

Tamara said...

Happy Anniversary - 8 years is amazing! And your posts are always inspiring, colourful and creative. Thanks. .. and.. 'here's cheers to Gypsy too!'. As for Lizzie - too cute dressed as a raindeer. A wonderful post too about traditions, flexibility, family and fellowship. Enjoy the new, the old and the varied traditions you have this year. Have a wonderful time.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh Jeanie, there is so much I could say about Christmas pasts.....they shape the Christmas present, and the concentric circles of generations in a family gave me an idea once to write a poem.....we truly do watch the older folks slip away from the center of the circle, the next generation taking that space while the younger ones slowly move in toward the center; but the rhythm continues and we keep creating the best of memories. Wishing you and yours a FABULOUS memory-making Christmas! XOXOXOX

The Artful Diva said...

8 years - that's a lotta bloggin! Merry Christmas, Jeanie

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

8 years! Wow! Happy blogoversary! I've been reading for at last 4-5 I think! I'm so thankful for the friends that I've gained through blogging - including you! :)

I love seeing the photos you shared in this post. My favorite is the one of you all singing around a piano! That reminds me of the scene in "You've Got Mail."

As you know, I'm also going to experience a significant shift in how I will celebrate Christmas this year since Phil and I will be spending most of the holiday at his mom's. I'm less sad than I thought I would be, mostly because I know how important it is to be with his mom. That's not to say that it's not important to be with my family, but they can get by just fine without me on Christmas since there are so many others that will be there. For Phil's mom, it would be very lonely and difficult without Phil. And knowing how much she'll appreciate having us there makes me really happy we will get to celebrate with her. And someday she'll probably join us at my parents, or Phil and I will host, or we'll figure something out. But I'm excited to start some new traditions this year. Plus we'll still get to see my family since we'll get to the lake on the night of the 25th in time for a meal of leftovers so we get the best of both worlds this year!

I hope you guys had a great weekend of celebration and that you enjoy the week to come!!

shoreacres said...

I have no idea when I found you, Jeanie -- I think it must have been through Write on Wednesday. But what a wonderful time it's been. It's hard for me to think that I've been at it for seven years -- and just think how many changes there have been!

Christmas is entirely different now than it was a decade, two decades, or a lifetime ago, but it's still Christmas. I'm so glad to have met you, the Marmelade Gypsy, and now -- well, that poor Lizzie kitty. I laughed and laughed at that photo. When Dixie wakes up, I'm going to show it to her, and maybe sing her a cat carol!

Merry Christmas to you, Rick, and Lizzie. Enjoy your family, and soak up the love.

Molly M said...

Merry Christmas Jeanie. Happy Blogday too. I have only been with you for a year, look forward to the next 8.

Arti said...

Congrats on your eight blogaversary, Jeanie! It was my eighth too earlier this year in April. I love these family records of yours, and my fave on this post? The popsicle sticks Rudolf. What an ingenious abstract even a kid can do. Excellent!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Congratulations, Jeanie, on eight years of spreading joy and wonderful insights! And you're right: Christmas traditions change over time, representing that circle of life. Hope your holidays are especially merry, joyful and loving this year!

Bella Rum said...

Hi, Jeanie. This post really speaks to something I've been thinking about. Traditions change. It seems like an oxymoron. Traditions are supposed to stay the same, right? Isn't that what tradition means? But our families change, locations change, we lose members of our tribe and gain members. It's all about change and going with the flow, isn't it? All of our situations change but we can carry the traditions from one place to another, one generation to another and change them a little to make them fit with our lives. Change a little and keep a little. What a beautiful post, Jeanie. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas this year and every year.

bj said...

It seems we are all going thru our holiday memories right now. I spend half my time laughing and then sit down and cry for those I miss so much. Wiping the tears aside and make cookies...We are already having a wonderful Christmas with a grandgirl staying 2 days before going back home to her nursing job. Most of our family will be here Christmas Eve night and we are all ready for them...:)
Merry Christmas.

Lynne said...

Happy eight Jeanie, from one of your "newbies!"
Oh my . . . the memories and changes we each experience through the years . . .
Yesterday, (the 22nd) we were making Christmas cookies and I suddenly thought, WHY . . . who will eat them, the season is almost at the end .. . . but there we were, hour after hour, cookie sheet after cookie sheet into the oven and out. Today I know WHY, a couple of the teen age grandchildren are stoping by to decorate. Maybe a new tradition is being born . . .
Laughter and Love . . . wherever, however . . . it will be for us all . . .
Even for the broken hearted . . . let's remember to bring some laughter and love . . .
Merry Christmas Jeanie . . .

Wandering Wren said...

Eight Years - impressive and lovely to see a Blogger who is clearly still enjoying blogging, and you are so generous with your time, visits and comments). Lovely to have met you through the blogging world, you have a lovely Christmas!
Wren x

The Artful Diva said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, Your family traditions are so similar to mine. Celebrating with the children last weekend and this weekend with my sister and BIL, my husband's mom's home earlier in the week. Yes, busy and tired but loving every minute. So happy to have met you along the way through our blogs. Loved seeing all your photos. Merry Christmas...

~*~Patty S said...

Congratulations Jeanie!
It is no small feat to stay engaged so artfully and thoughtfully and post about it too.
We are lucky that you share with us and I hope the fun goes on and on.
It is a treat to "visit" with you across the miles.
oxo

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