Thursday, December 3, 2020

Ghosts of Christmas Past

First of all, thank you for such kind comments and helpful thoughts as I've been recovering from my back issue (which has been far more aggravating than the a-fib diagnosis!) Your thoughts mean such a lot, especially since I've missed some of your posts and replying to comments. But I so value them, your care and concern and your visits. 


I've been thinking a lot about Christmases past this year, as it will be a very one-on-one Christmas for us. Just Rick and me. I could be sad about this (OK, let's be honest -- I AM sad about it) but it's also a good time to look at the richness of Christmases past and be grateful for so many wonderful years.


So, a photo post, filled with people you don't know but that mean a lot to me. Like Mom and Dad. 


My mom knew how to make Christmas so special. I still have most of our old family ornaments and so many holiday things she passed along to me -- not the least of which was an unabashed joy in celebrating this bright, happy holiday.  Even on her last Christmas, she was filled with smiles!


Dad, meanwhile, always knew how to have fun. Those Christmases after she died weren't always easy ones, but they were fun.


We spent many family Christmases with my Cleveland cousins. We would wrap anything so the tree was filled with what appeared to be an abundance of gifts by the time they arrived in Lansing. (Of course, if it was a pair of socks, it was in two boxes. We had energy then.)


We had an annual gift decorating contest, too, which I've written about here. It was always fun to see who would have the most creative wrapping!  Some of the gifts were pretty creative, too. When cousin David was still in his dating mode, his sister gave him a kit to be prepared for anyone! (Fortunately, Bonnie won out!)


There were times we tried too hard. Not long ago I found an audio cassette of one of the first Christmases without the moms. It's more than a little off the wall, as we went for the merry. But inside I think all of us were more than a little broken.


Christmas with friends was a tradition, from the college days...


....to Cork Poppers. I'll miss our holiday wine swaps!


I've already missed one holiday tradition this year, the annual greens market with my friend Jan.


Mark and Jan -- and Rick and I -- do an annual holiday exchange based on a Christmas song. We target our gifts to lyrics in the song and we always end up with something fun! I don't know if we'll be able to do this in 2020. It might depend on the weather!


Another group of friends usually gathers together for holiday cheer. This year, we're scheduled to connect on Zoom.


Sometimes Christmas Eve isn't what you'd expect -- and that's a good thing. One of my favorites was a last minute invitation to enjoy Christmas Eve with friends of Rick's (and mine, too, through him.) In addition to a fabulous Chinese dinner, we spent the evening making clay ornaments. Mine holds a proud place on my tree. Greg's took ages, and was gorgeous.


A lot changed when Rick came into my life, bringing Greg and Kevin for the ride. My first Christmas with them I was awakened at 5 a.m. by Kevin hurling in bathroom. You know you must really like a guy when you clean up his child's throw-up in the bathroom at 5 a.m.


When they were kids we started our Christmas Eve cookie making tradition. Holidays became brighter still when Molly entered the scene!


We continued the tradition last year, a little differently. First of all, it wasn't "official" Christmas Eve; second, the parents were shopping and Rick and I were hanging with the boys. They were pretty good helpers! (One helped, one taste tested!)

This year will be different. We won't be having friends for dinner or Rick's trio playing after.


We'll miss scenes like this on "Christmas Morning."


But we'll still find time for quiet moments.


And relish in our togetherness, appreciating how we have been there for each other every minute of this wild and crazy year.

But even if the lights are not attached to the headband of a toddler, even if everything is a little topsy turvy and uncertain, I know we will find the joy in this season and perhaps appreciate it even more this year than all the years before, because we've all seen what time and illness can do to our lives, how it makes every new day uncertain and therefore one to be cherished.


I believe that.


I really do.

(A collection of all Christmas 2020 posts is here, in case you missed something during this busy season!)

Sharing with:     Timeless Thursdays     

54 comments:

L said...

Such a beautiful post, take care my friend,

My name is Erika. said...

This post was a wonderful look back Jeanie. The holidays were sure joyful times. And your post made me think of my own past holidays, and of days that can't come back. They belong in the happy parts of memories. And hopefully this year will be nice in its own way. And hopefully become part of the good old day memories in the future. Hope the back is improving. Hugs-Erika

Prims By The Water said...

Enjoyed reading and seeing all of your Christmas past pictures. I know this Christmas will not be one we all want, however hopefully therr will be more in our future. Janice

Susie said...

Jeanie, I loved seeing all your Christmas gathering from the past. You are a happy person in all of them. I hope this year will be joyful for you too. We all have to get thru this winter, so we can see a future. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

Martha said...

What a beautiful post, you are so blessed. I loved seeing your photos and hearing about your Christmas celebrations and traditions through the years. We do have to cherish everything we have and every single day we have. Christmas will be different this year for sure but we will get through it with different kinds of celebrations and appreciation. There is finally a little light at the end of the tunnel - we can do this!

Karen said...

I am SO HAPPY there are NO cases in our county. I'm so happy we can still have our family bubble. People are still hoarding though nothing is going short. We are slowing decorating for the festive season. I think the snow really gave me a pick up.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

You have some great memories documented here. I especially love the arty-farty photo of Rick looking at the Christmas tree that takes up the right side of the photo.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Christmas will no doubt be different this year, Jeanie, but with Rick there to support you I am sure it will be great - just different.

bobbie said...

Your folks were Gorgeous!! I love their natty christmas outfits!
Happy holidays to your and yours ~

Red Rose Alley said...

Jeanie, I always appreciate your old photos from the past, especially the childhood ones. You were such a doll. Look like Shirley Temple with that curly hair. I chuckled when I saw your grandson playing with Buzz because Nel bought Mia one for Christmas because she loves Toy Story so much. Francesca just got Woody haha. I think that photo of Rick gazing at the Christmas tree is awesome, and it looks like something from a magazine. And I love that Christmas tree in the distance with the colored lights. I still use my colored lights every year. Such a sweet picture of the cookie making too. Your "college days" photo is fun, and the pictures of your mom and dad are priceless. I love that you're thinking of past Christmases, as sometimes I do too. We had such good ones growing up, and although we didn't get a bundle of presents, my Mom always made the day special for us kids. What a wonderful post, Jeanie. I truly enjoyed it.

~Sheri

Valerie-Jael said...

Great look back. Hope you will enjoy this Christmas, even if it's different. I'm going into a clinic today for some treatment, so will probably there over the holidays. But I'll still be blogging. Have a happy time, Valerie

BeachGypsy said...

a beautiful and thoughtful post, Jeannie, I sure loved it and I love seeing all the pictures of your dear family and friends. Love the pic of your precious Mother and Father! How are you feeling, been thinking of you today!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,

A wonderful look back at your Christmases past. Fun times and happy memories with your parent, family and friends. This year will be one for the memory books. You can still have a lovely Christmas with Rick.
We just have to get through a little more "safe" time..Great photos. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy weekend!

Jenny Woolf said...

What a lovely post, a real kaleidoscope of Christmas cheerfulness! And your conclusion is so right! Its such good news that a vaccine is now on the way.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Looking at Christmas past brings us comfort for Christmas present, and hope for Christmas future. Your Mom is so cute, like a little doll next to your adorable Dad.

Hope you are on the mend, I can write the book on bad back issues, literally top to bottom.

Hugs, Deb in Wales

Sandi said...

Jeanie, wishing you a Merry Christmas full of wonder and joy.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dearest Jeanie,

Good morning! Well my friend, we are ALL living on memory these days, from the wonderful summer garden parties, casual shopping sprees in tiny shoppes, Halloween school parties, Thanksgiving and now the biggy: Christmas. All memories, being opened like a gift under the tree. We are fortunate however, to have these memories and to have those who we love still near us.

We are all fatigued. Yet, there is hope in each day and like the sun and moon still rise and shine, so will we.

R's Rue said...

❤️❤️❤️

Lynne said...

Beautiful Jeanie . . .
Loved seeing “yours” while remembering mine . . .
Caring about you . . .

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Thank you for the heartwarming holiday spirit inspiring post
You two make a cute couple. Love your mother's skirt! You have a lovely family and friends
Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Yes darling. Miss and love you. Honey I am on FB under Cath Fowler. Pic has red hair, red lipstick.
Love Cath (Runningonempty).

La Table De Nana said...

Love your oldie pics..WEll here..our PM issued an order yesterday.NO Christmas gatherings.
So that's that.
Period.
Tell me why families of 30 are showing pics of themselves on IG no masks all snuggled together when outbreaks in facilities are skyrocketing again.
I don't get it.
Is that being a caring person?


I love the youg pics of you and Rick too..you haven't changed!

Joanne Huffman said...

How nice to have such wonderful memories and how generous to share them. This will, indeed, be a different Christmas for all of us. I hope your back heels and you feel much better soon.

The French Hutch said...

I enjoyed your blast from the past Jenie. Such a treasure trove of photos to enjoy and relive those precious memories. I always love seeing your childhood photos, so sweet and you were darling. Your smile never changed. Love the college fun you were having. Yes, this is the Christmas for a trip down memory lane. I don't handle that well, I feel so sad with so many missing. Bless you and Rick and hope you are better. Stay well my friend.............

Divers and Sundry said...

What a beautiful reflection on Christmas memories.

Dawn P. said...

Lovely memories and thank you for sharing; yes, its a very different year but I have to say that I would rather spend it 'in my bubble' than risk being exposed or have a loved one exposed, etc. Like La Table De Nana said in her blog; I can't understand the mindlessness of those that think having a meal / party in a huge family group setting,with no masks, no social distancing is a wise, safe choice. And that they are all 'immune' to it, with the mindset that 'it isn't that big a deal'. Ask the nurse in NJ who now is in ICU and six other family members in hospital, with the 'father/grandfather' dead from covid - all from Thanksgiving Dinner with the family - yep, one of them was asymptomatic and spread it through the family Thanksgiving day. So, while I know you will miss those mini cuties and the family and friends -(as I will too, as we all will that choose to be safe) we also need to be prepared that 2021 will still be bit rough as vaccine won't get to majority of us until May - July and economy in rough shape but remember, GOD BLESS US EVERYONE and WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS. Much Love!!!

DUTA said...

You look sweet in all the displayed pictures- as a child, a teenager, an adult; with your parents, cousins, Rick, the kids.
The pictures reflect happy times, happy memories. We were perhaps, also more naive in those days.

William Kendall said...

Good memories to have.

Iris Flavia said...

Your parents look wonderfully happy and hip!
Oh, and your Dad with Ernie and Bert!
So nice to see you all helped each other.
Lovely, sad, strong, happy post.
Thank you, Jeanie.

gigi-hawaii said...

Your parents were beautiful people. You must miss them a lot. I liked your photos and do hope that you can enjoy the holidays this year in spite of it all. Take care.

NanaDiana said...

I love that you have such wonderful memories. This year I am missing the farmhouse Christmases I had as a child. It was only my brother and I but my grandmother Stella always came along with Uncle Samuel. Sometimes my Uncle Dick would pop in for part of the day, too. Up early to do the farm chores and then open presents, eat a big breakfast, eat a big lunch after family showed up and then at 4pm it was back to the barn for evening chores. A good childhood-rich in memories rather than presents.

I love that picture of you with the boys- you look radiant!!! xo Diana

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Love seeing all your past Christmas's. I loved your Mothers Christmas skirt!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful look back at Christmases past. I don't have photos from my childhood, so these are really precious to see from your past. Thank you for these beautiful photos of your parents, your cousins, your friends, and Rick and his family.

Linda Sue said...

Sweet photos! I adore the little girl and the mother with a beautiful
Christmas skirt. Brings back some great memories of when we all dressed up in our finest stitches for Christmas. Thanks for all of these, Almost puts me in the mood!

Pamela said...

I love seeing your life in photos. I especially like the photo of your parents, with your mom in the beautiful Christmas skirt. What wonderful memories.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for sharing your photos and descriptive text about Christmases past. And, saying you are sad is perfectly OK because it’s how everything feels, but making the best of a bad situation, ok awful one, is better than being sadder. You and Rick will celebrate just two, as we will as well but we will decorate a tree, drink egg nog and be happy...and I suspect you will be happy too.

Marilyn Miller said...

You have had some beautiful Christmases to remember. What a fun review.

Joyful said...

Well said Jeanie. There is much to be appreciated in the love and presence of one's partner. You and Rick have been through a lot of joys and a few lows together. I'm so glad you will be together over the holiday and that you have all the wonderful memories of Christmases past. I hope you back is doing better and better as each day goes by. xx

Marie Rayner said...

I am so sorry to read about your back issues Bonnie. There is nothing worse than back pain. I was so grateful to my Chiropracter in the UK. Gave me back my life again! I have so loved seeing all of your Christmas photos. My life has been so broken again and again through the years, I have very few tangible photos to look at, but plenty of good memories in my heart. This will be a very quiet Christmas for many people. It can still be a good one though. Love, hugs and blessings to you and Rick. Stay safe and stay healthy! xoxo

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Such a nice post looking back.... A lot of what I do at Christmas are traditions from my childhood including the way I decorate...
I make the same foods that my parents made and bake pretty much the same things that my mother made..
I tried to create the same Christmas for my sons that I had as a child and I still do... Sorry to hear that your Christmas will be very different from those in the past. But hopefully, you will be able to do it differently through Zoom calls with family and friends...I hope you are felling better soon...
Stay safe, healthy and happy and thanks so much for all your visits....
Hugs,
Debbie

Sandra Cox said...

What lovely memories.
I hope this Christmas is the best it can be.
Hugs,

Lowcarb team member said...

My memory is playing tricks, because I was sure I'd commented on this post!
It is such a lovely post, so nice to see your old photographs and read about the many special memories.
I hope you are feeling a little better.
My good wishes.

All the best Jan

Tammie Lee said...

Sorry to hear about your back, sounds like you might be a little bit better. I hope so. Back pain is no fun at all.

You have so many lovely Christmas memories.

Pam Richardson said...

I love reading your memories, Jeanie. You are so blessed to have photos of your childhood, I only wish I had my wonderful childhood recorded with photos. I am so glad you are improving, be careful and don’t overdo!

Decor To Adore said...

I adore it when you share your old photos. Your mom's ornament skirt is just fabulous! Continuing to send you get well wishes sweet friend!

Bella Rum said...

What a wonderful post. It made me tear up. I just love the photos of you when you were young, and your parents. Your mother's ornament skirt is really something. Your words are so true. I'm trying to think of my relationships and what they truly mean to me. I'm hoping for a better year for all of us next year. Thanks for this post, Jeanie. Loved it.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

This will be a different Christmas. I am still excited for it as we have a toddler who is more into it so there is extra magic to the season. But it won’t be the same and I hate thinking of Joan all alone. I know Phil has said Christmas is not the same since his dad passed in 2013. Kudos to your dad for making it special without your mom being there. That is a tall order.

We had a little Christmas with my parents this morning so that was nice. Paul was surprisingly not super into the unwrapping part but was excited about what he got. I am glad we got to do a little Christmas with them and that we are all healthy. My coworker got Covid and he had been very careful. He has kids in 8/12 grade so thinks he got it from them as they were in school until recently. He did go to the ER yesterday but was discharged last night and is feeling a little better. He is fit as a fiddle and 50 so you know if he was sick enough to go to the ER, it’s bad. I just hope and pray we all continue to stay healthy. We are sending Paul back to school tomorrow and hope that goes ok. A lot of ppl are keeping their kids home so they can see family at Christmas. So hopefully less kids means less chance of spread. We have had him over 13 weeks this year and he’s been home the last 2.5 weeks so we really feel like he needs to get back on a schedule and mom and dad need a break, especially with our sleep deprivation! Plus I can’t lift him for 6 weeks due to c section recovery restrictions. I am so glad a vaccine is on the horizon although I can’t see us being eligible until the second half of 2020.

Debby said...

This made me cry. Yes. Christmas WILL be different this year, but we can still make it magic. My project has been to really take a look at the quiet people I know, the ones doing kind things when no one's looking. I've bought small gifts with the intentions of sneaking them to their doors in the night and leaving them anonymously. I imagine their surprise and it makes me happy. There's a lot that will be different this year, but I'm trying to make sure that the differences are not all negative ones.

Sami said...

What a lovely Christmas memories Jeanie. Your parents certainly looked like they were a lot of fun.
Loved your cousin David's Christmas present, so funny :)
Even though we are free to celebrate with no Covid in our State (up to now), this year I won't be having my usual big celebrations with up to 30 people for Christmas Eve dinner, it will be just 8 or 9 people.

Lisbeth said...

So many wonderful memories. You seem to have saved a lot of old photos, which is nice when you want to recall old times.
I guess we have to think about those times this year when life is so different. We have to do the best of it. Luckily there is Skype and FaceTime to use to be in contact with family and friends.
I hope you and Rich will have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Naush said...

So nostalgic watching these retro time pics. Simple times - trendy times - confused times - the world was evolving.
Naush

Anca said...

It must have been so wonderful to put up this post, searching for pictures and remembering all those beautiful moments. Love the pictures too.

Stevenson Q said...

Dearest Jeanie, your entries are always so heartfelt and so beautiful for Timeless Thursdays! Your parents are so adorable! And love your relationship with your friends, that is something I take pleasure as well :) No matter which circle you are in, your family, your friends, or your kids, you will always be a bright star in their lives!

Gemel said...

What a beautiful post.

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