What the Elf?

Christmas is only five days away. Five days. So, I think (suspect?) most people have been inundated with all kinds of traditional, iconic holiday images: snowmen, reindeer, Santa’s, stockings, snowflakes, sleighs – well, you get it. Everybody has a Christmas symbol they like the most. For me, it’s elves. I love them…

I am fascinated by/almost obsessed with elves. I’m not sure why, but I am crazy for them. My first remembrance of elves were these “old skool” guys – elves like these held a place of honor on my grandparents’ mantles, and on the sideboard at my parents’ house:

Old skool elvesAs I got older, these guys had kids that grew up to become “The Elf on the Shelf.”

It makes sense to me that elves would be featured in a children’s book – I have loved them since I was a child. I like all elves – European elves:

Stockholm elvesAs well as these super sweet elves made from clothes pins:

clothespin elves

And plush elves are also kinda’ nice – they have a certain sweet “softness” that I find especially appealing:

many elves

pair of elvesBut the elf I think I love the MOST is my own little Christmas elf, my beloved husband. He has been running around like crazy for weeks, putting out decorations, trimming the tree, cleaning our house, planning our Christmas Eve dinner/Christmas Day activities – all of it. I am excited to be spending this Christmas with him, and look forward to a lifetime more.

This is how I hope we will always spend Christmas:

two elf friends

Glitter Bombed

So, if it is possible to rate “Christmas-yness” on a scale of 1 to 100, our house is at 120. I fear if I stand still long enough, my husband will decorate me with a string of lights, garland and some ornaments (and I LOVE him so much for that!) Anyway…

Given the season – and my recent tasks – I feel like I have been dipped in glitter. I mean, it is EVERYWHERE. We have glitter Christmas ornaments,

glitter deerThis trio of glitter-covered, quirky golden Christmas trees adorns our dining room table,

glitter trees

And as if that weren’t enough, tonight I FINALLY finished our Christmas cards – one hundred and thirty-seven cards, all with glitter on them. As a result, my ample lap was covered with green glitter by the time I finished,

glitter card(Not our actual card, BTW. In total, we sent one hundred and fifty-eight cards!)

So, as you can imagine, glitter is everywhere – on our clothes, on our faces, on our furniture, everywhere. Thing is? It makes me smile. I ran some errands earlier today and when I got back, I looked in a mirror and saw green glitter on my face/in my beard. I liked my sparkle-y face; for a minute, I felt like one of the Twilight vampires caught in daylight…

My holiday tasks are almost complete; I fear the glitter cloud will subside over the next day or two. Until then, I will enjoy it as much as I can and am sending you some glitter to enjoy as well. Merry merry, everyone!

glitter bomb

Holiday Overtime Starts Tomorrow

When I was a child, I always knew Christmas was coming when the annual Christmas Advent calendar appeared at our house. For those unfamiliar, a Christmas Advent calendar is a holiday “child distraction,” created to (supposedly) help keep the religious basis of Christmas present in the holiday while relieving parents of the “how-many-days-till-Christmas” question every day. It is essentially a calendar numbered 1 to 25, counting down the days till Christmas. The numbers are printed on little “door” flaps and, behind each number, the little flap opens and reveals a candy or a small toy. They are fun for kids.

christmas advent calendarIn my little childhood  brain, I always knew that – once this calendar appeared on my parents’ refrigerator door –  somewhere, very far away, there was a massive “increase in elf output” happening. And it was all happening for me…

Santas elvesNow that I am a grown-up (and have been for longer than I care to admit), the traditional Christmas Advent calendar has been replaced at my house with what I less-than-fondly refer to as the “Countdown to Christmas List.”

From now till Christmas Eve about 8PM, I will be pulling double shifts…

working overtimeTonight after work, I actually sat down with a calendar – ours hangs on our kitchen door, BTW – and mapped out what needs to happen every day for the next ten days till Christmas Eve at 8PM. The “short list” includes: haircuts for me and my hubby, finishing/mailing about 30 more Christmas cards, finishing Christmas shopping after working eight hours on Monday, packing a box for my niece and her family to be mailed on Wednesday, after we renew a driver’s license and before I have therapy at 2:30P, attending an amazing holiday gathering the Saturday before Christmas, celebrating Christmas with MY family on 23rd December – the list goes on and on…

Truthfully? Right now, I feel more like this guy than one of Santa’s elves:

assembly line guyHo ho ho, am I right? But honestly? This really is my favorite time of year – it is a visually-beautiful holiday, my beloved Martin LIVES for Christmas and my nieces and nephews still get excited on Christmas Eve. So, I organize and schedule, chart and plan and at some point, ten days from now, I will sit down with my husband on Christmas Eve, enjoy a lavish and traditional Christmas Eve dinner – just the two of us! – on fancy plates at a candlelit table, and just breathe and live in that beautiful moment… 

Christmas Day, as is OUR tradition, we will spend the day together in our PJ’s (new pajama pants, no doubt – gifts from the nieces and nephews) eating leftovers and watching a zillion holiday movies, drinking “fancy coffees” and just being together. We will call friends/family and give thanks for all we have.

Tonight it looks like a long ten days ahead but somehow, the final “reward” seems MORE than worth the effort. Ho ho ho, away we go!

Thank You, Charlie Brown and Vince Guaraldi

I know I have posted many times in the past about my love of music, and how certain music can instantly transport me to special places and moments from my life. That is especially true this time of year – no other music connects with me like “holiday music” does. And if there ever were a soundtrack to a holiday, it is certainly this one:

Charlie Brown Christmas albumclick image above to hear “Christmastime is Here” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio  

As children, my little brother, little sister and I eagerly awaited this annual holiday special on TV – I can still see us all in a row, sprawled on the floor in front of the TV, waiting for Charlie Brown to uncover the true meaning of Christmas. This animated special is as much a part of MY Christmas traditions as the baby Jesus in a manger (no disrespect intended). It is music that defines a holiday, and the season, for me. Whenever I hear this music, I feel happy and excited and loved. That’s how Christmas “feels” to me – joyful, full of happiness and love.

I’m not totally sure, but I seem to remember reading/hearing that this was the top-selling Christmas album of all time. I can believe it – I myself have it on two CD’s and cassette (I know!)

This TV special soundtrack introduced me to one of my all-time, FAVORITE holiday songs – “Skating” by Vince Guaraldi…

Charlie Brown skating scene click image above to hear “Skating” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio  

So yeah, while there are no angels on high or shepherds jubilee-ing, no trio of ships sailing in or even a drummer boy rum-pum-pum-pumming, these are the songs that are Christmas to me. I cannot imagine anyone not having seen this special but, if you haven’t, PLEASE watch it and listen… You will be happy you did!

charlie brown linus christmasTo enjoy the ENTIRE “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, please click image above