A solitary Christmas…

me at Christmas 1971I was a tiny toddler, which makes sense considering I weighed less than 5lbs at birth. My second Christmas, while the adults all chattered, I would perch on a present and stare in awe at the tree.

“Mustn’t touch,” I’d murmur to myself, one finger mere millimetres away from an ornament. “Mustn’t touch.” And there I’d sit, awed by the shining lights and shimmering decorations.

Not much later my Mom would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and my answer was always the same; a tree with lots of sparkling lights and decorations. My Mom would assure me we would get that, it came with the whole Christmas package, but I was insistent it was all I wanted. So she’d guess and I was happy. The tree was still my first Christmas love though.

The years went on. My sisters and I discovered the Sears Wishbook and spent hours pouring through it, circling items we (along with the rest of North America) never got. I started paying attention to ads and things in stores as we were passing through. Plus I had genuine needs. But I still spent a good chunk of time just sitting beside the tree and admiring it. There was still that tree shaped space in my heart.

Finally I became an adult and then a mother. My tree wasn’t just for myself but for a couple of little ones. I began buying ornaments and decorations every year to remind me of the time we spent together. And the years went from the ornaments being placed.all.together.on.a.single.branch to “I’ve brought all the totes up from storage Mom. I’m going to play Fallout 3 now.”

And February 2020 I moved into an apartment on my own.

I’ve downsized a bit. I no longer have my grouping of three small trees (with real bark trunks) and my tree has shrunk from 5.5ft to 4.5ft. But I still have four Rubbermaid totes and several bags down in storage. I need two trips, and that’s with my big canvas wagon. It’s definitely pretty when everything’s up though.

I was out with two of my friends one evening and we were under my living room window.

“You can see my wreath,” I said excitedly. “And my tree!”

Both friends admitted they didn’t put up any decorations because, “It’s too much work just for me”.

STOP right there! It is not too much work. If you want the decorations and the glitz then you deserve them. Society acts like being single is some sort of holding pattern that you wait in until you’re back into a relationship. It’s not. You are equally valid no matter how many or few partners you have or how many people you expect to stop by over the holidays. You matter. Just that. You!

Also, make it your holiday. After all it’s your place. Got a thing for pink? Get a pink tree! Don’t want the hassle of putting up and decorating a 6ft giant? Buy a three footer and stick it on the side table. Want everything Doctor Who? Great! Just, umm, face the weeping angel topper toward a mirror. You can never be too safe, right?

But please don’t think you’re not worth it. Christmas is for anyone who wants to celebrate and that includes you. You know you’ve got some inner tinsel in you (just keep it away from the kitties). Now, here’s some vegan chocolate chip cookies and a Christmas music playlist on YouTube. If you’ve got decorations you’ve still got time left. If you don’t then you can browse for next year’s decorations to your heart’s content.

overview of apartment

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Merry Christmas!!!

Our stockings are unstuffed and our presents opened. Poor Colin’s coughing up a lung and has a fever, I hope he doesn’t have bronchitis. He’s staying home and resting today while I go visit family at my sister’s place. Despite Colin not feeling well, Christmas has been good this year. My parents got me the cutest rhino sheet set and I’m looking forward to spending time with family.

This is the last Christmas song until next December and I think then I’ll try a more manageable 12 days instead of a month of song. And I’d like to say it looked like Christmas out but we’ve got bare ground and sere grass. It feels like Christmas though, and that’ll be good enough.

Our last song this year is White Christmas as sung by Bing Crosby. Enjoy and have a wonderful day!!!

Tomorrow’s Christmas!!!

And you know what that means? It’s Blackie Boo’s 13th birthday!!!! Okay, that might not be what you were thinking about. I can’t believe I have another teenager cat (Angel turns 14 years old in February).

She’s currently drinking a small bowl of milk. Bad for her I know but Colin introduced it and both her and Oreo beg for it now. And she’s been a real suck all day… which lead to me cradling her in my arms while singing Happy Birthday.

blackie-using-lara-as-a-pillow

Blackie using Lara as a pillow

I’ve shared so many Christmas carols that it’s getting hard to think of ones I haven’t shared. Luckily there’s lists of songs to Google and I found a song sung by Pentatonix. I hope you enjoy it as much as Blackie’s enjoying her milk.

One more day until Christmas…

I’m in a nostalgic mood today. Something’s off with Blackie. I don’t know what. She’s eating, drinking, and using the litter box. It’s something I can’t put my finger on. She turns 13 years old tomorrow so she’s definitely a senior kitten. And then there’s Angel, my most senior kitten who turns 14 years old in February. She growls at the other cats and has arthritis in her hips. But pain medication doesn’t work on cats, or so my vet told me. She’s happy as could be once she’s snuggled up someplace soft but her back legs are noticeably weaker.

So when I went to look for a song this morning, I decided to pick one that I loved decades ago when I was pregnant with Kait. Back then my favourite CDs were Solitudes. I loved how he wove nature sounds into his music. I didn’t have any problems finding Solitudes music on YouTube. My problem was finding a single song. So I present to you the entire CD of Christmas Wonder. Listen to as much or as little as you want… and enjoy!

Two more days until Christmas…

One of my favourite Christmas carols is I Saw Three Ships. I could almost see the harbour, nestled in a bay, a road sloping down to the docks. And under the blue sky, three ships, white sails billowing in the wind. What could be in those ships? Of course it fell apart after that because then it got religious and I’ve never been religious… even as a child. But I sure loved the music and the imagery.

I went looking for a good version of the song and found one by The Piano Guys. You enjoy the song and I’m heading out for a mild December walk.

Three more days until Christmas…

And, oh my goodness is that date ever close! Christmas has always been my absolute favourite holiday, something my Mom loved and drove her crazy simultaneously. You see, when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, my answer was invariably the same. A tree with pretty decorations and lots of sparkling lights. So there was some guess work involved when buying presents for me.

It wasn’t just the tree I loved, it was the music. My Nana singing by the fire, Christmas carols on the radio (and records), Christmas music in holiday movies… I loved them all. One of my favourites was Jingle Bell Rock and today I’m sharing it with you.

Four days until Christmas…

Is everyone else as excited as me??? I spent today with my Mom; she and my Dad leave for Vancouver early Sunday morning. And I’m going to see everyone else on Christmas day. I’ll be making Christmas Crack, which is my kids’ absolute favourite Christmas baking and coming over with vegan cheese (the good stuff) and garlic crackers.

I hadn’t been sure what to play today and then I saw it in the “suggested songs” section. The Grinch as sung by Pentatonix. I hope you enjoy it as much as me.

Five more days…

Colin and I each got ourselves each a Fitbit for Christmas (for the worry warts, we used a gift card, not our grocery money). I had every intention of testing it out on a walk today. However, it’s currently -14C before the windchill and I’m still coughing. The doctor said that would take several weeks to fade away. But that temperature and walking just don’t go well together… especially since this is the last cold day this week. Tomorrow will be a much better day.

I’m in a nostalgic mood today although nostalgia often means being ignorant of what’s happening behind the scenes (*cough* JK Rowling *cough). My nostalgia is for family Christmases gone by. I remember my Mom sadly proclaiming that Christmas dinner wasn’t anything like the Christmas of her childhood. It’s just different and, for my kids, it’s the only Christmas they’ve known.

Five more days and isn’t that coming up quickly. And, in the spirit of nostalgic Christmas, here’s a carol for you!

Six more days until Christmas

Oh my goodness! I started this countdown at 30 days and Christmas seemed so far away. Not so much now! This time next Wednesday, we’ll be opening our stockings and presents. I can’t wait!

It’s a blustery day here. I’d originally wanted to go for a walk in the woods but the windchill is -11C and visibility is dropping to zero on occasion. Worst of all, I’ve lost my favourite mittens. Walking outside in bare hands does not sound fun.

Today’s song is a Canadian classic. I’m not sure if you can have Christmas without Anne Murray warbling about her three wishes. I’ve got you covered though. The song’s right here, then you’re good to go for the holidays. Enjoy!

Seven days until Christmas…

When I was younger we spent every Christmas visiting my grandparents in Ottawa. We looked forward to seeing them and to the snow, something we rarely had over the holidays. My grandfather referred to our region as the banana belt of Canada.

I was in my mid-teens when my parents informed us Ottawa had no snow. My sisters and I were floored, it was unheard of. But it happened. We drove through the pouring rain that morning and into my grandparents’ neighbourhood.

We were seated for dinner when one of my sisters yelled, “It’s snowing! Look at the snow!”

Sure enough, huge fluffy flakes were drifting down and quickly piling up. We hurried through dinner then bundled up for a walk. The snow was already up to our knees but it was light and easy to walk through. My Dad and grandfather started talking animatedly while my Mom and Nana argued against whatever plans they were cooking up. It turned out they wanted to tie a toboggan onto one of the cars and drive around the neighbourhood. Obviously we girls were super excited about this plan and my Mom and grandmother soon gave up.

Tying the toboggan pretty much required an engineering degree, which was fine since my grandfather had one, and we were finally allowed to sit. I knew my grandfather was driving slowly (my Dad was in the backseat watching us) but it felt like we were flying.

There was a family in a nearby yard. They stopped building their snowman in surprise the first time we went around. They did again for the second time but had already been looking. By our last time around, they’d given up any pretense of snowman building and were simply standing, watching for us.

We never did that ride again so it remains one perfect experience. And, for today, my song is also about a ride, albeit one with horses instead of a wooden sleigh. I hope you enjoy this version of Jingle Bells.