I’m grateful you took time from your hectic schedule to pop in and enjoy a cup of tea. My house is half decorated and in complete chaos! But do come in. We’ll clear a spot and chat about the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, that’s an Andy Williams Christmas album playing in the background.
Growing up in a family of modest means, the holidays represented a special break from the norm — a time of lavish food, unique gifts, decorations, music, and gathering with family and friends. Of course, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized how much work all of these wonderful things required. Honestly, I’d skip most of it this year, if my children would allow it, which they won’t. I wouldn’t want to disappoint them, either. It all seems to require more effort each year to achieve the same results. I guess that’s what aging does. It’s easy to get caught up in the preparations and forget to enjoy the season, or even worse, to become a grinch.
So, let’s share a strong cup of Christmas blend and a hunk of limoncello panettone (cookie recipes will follow in a later blog). This moist and delicious bread is filled with citron and Italian lemon curd. Some panettone is dry, but this brand almost melts in your mouth. I just discovered that the label says it’s illegal to sell to a minor! Hmm, we better eat it all before the children get home from school!
See, I’ve yet to hang my wreath!
To survive and enjoy the holidays, I think it’s essential to set small chunks of time aside for peaceful relaxation. Music has always held a huge place of importance during Christmas time in our family. My parents had Firestone albums (yes, the vinyl kind) featuring a variety of artists from the nineteen fifties and sixties. We could hear Nat King Cole one minute, and Mantovani and his orchestra the next. I have the feeling these records were inexpensive promotions sold each year by a national merchant, designed to draw in customers. Years later, when my mother suffered from memory loss, she gave them all away to a charity without my father’s agreement. Fortunately, I started my own quest to collect seasonal music twenty-five years ago. I’ve amassed around three dozen CDs, most found in the bargain bins of drugstores or thrift marts. They feature performers ranging from CeeLo Green to Bing Crosby, and we listen to them all every December. When things get too hectic, I’ll crank up the festive tunes, break for a treat, and take a few moments to recuperate.
Another way to put things in perspective is to take time each day for some inspirational reading. This became such a part of my early Christmases that we’ve incorporated the tradition with our own children. My mother would read aloud a different holiday-themed story every night. Sometimes, a short tale sufficed, and other nights she read chapters of a larger work. Today, I try to take a moment each day to reflect on the accounts of the birth of Jesus in the Gospels. There are countless seasonal devotions and Christmas books from which to choose.
Another translation of the above verse reads, “… peace towards men of goodwill.” Isn’t that wonderful? We all desire peace and I certainly want to be of goodwill, especially during the holiday season. To this end, we can be sure to remember the less fortunate. Our hearts fill with joy at the smallest act of kindness, and combined, these efforts can truly make a difference in the lives of those in need at this time of year.
Okay. I’ll get off my soap box, decorated with red ribbon and artificial greenery, of course, and pour you another cup. Please, ignore all the clutter. In a week or two (yes, it takes that long), everything will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland! Do you like the china pattern? I found this vintage cup and saucer at an antique mall in the Midwest. I love the unusual large size and cheerful pink motif. The design even includes a tiny dragonfly. Its underside is labeled Royal Staffordshire, Burslem, England and includes the names Charlotte and Clarice Cliff. I believe it’s some sort of reproduction, but crazing in the glaze makes me think it does carry some age. I collect pink transferware and this is the largest cup I’ve seen among older patterns.
I realize you’ve much to do, but thank you so much for stopping by and rescuing me from my holiday chores. Remember to take time to enjoy the season with music, tea, and friendship! Come by in a week or so to see the results of my labors. Until then, Merry Christmas!
COPYRIGHT 2016. VICTORIA BENCHLEY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED