"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Thanksgiving is over and now we will begin to direct our attentions toward Christmas. I love this time of year. I’m sure most people do. This year, we put our tree up a little early. We do tend to be early birds when it comes to putting up our tree. When Matt was little, we almost always had our tree up by the first week in December. Sam was driving truck and we had to arrange things so that he would be home for the festivities. We wanted it to be a family affair to get out and cut a tree, and decorate.

Sam’s no longer driving truck, but this year we wanted to decorate early because we are hosting a Christmas party for Matt’s journalism class. We meet the first week of the month, so I wanted to be sure to have the house decorated for that party.

Because it is so early, we opted for our little fake tree that we used in our store.  It was so early a real tree would surely dry out before Christmas. In the back of my mind, I was thinking we can always do a fresh-cut tree a bit later; but in all practicality, that most likely will not happen.

Part of the decorating for me, is remembering where all the little ornaments have come from. Each year as we decorate, I tell Matt, “This ornament is the very first ornament all your own.” “This one is from Aunt L. and this one was from the first year you went golfing.” “And this one? Of Yosemite Sam? Why, we got that because all of Daddy’s friends used to call him Yosemite Sam.” I think it was the hair and beard, not just the name. “See this little angel? My mom gave that to me when I was little…and look she got one of the same style, for you - of a horse - when you were just a toddler.” So on and on, I probably bore my family to death with the same stories each year. Matt had surely better remember those stories though, when he takes all his ornaments upon leaving home…ha, not so sure his wife will agree. ;-)

The last ornaments that we put on the tree are the ones that represent the true meaning of Christmas. There is a little angel from Aunt K, and a glass ornament of the Nativity from somewhere in Sam’s past. A Bible, a Cross, a Baby Jesus; we try to put these on last, so that we will pause to think in spite of all the activity and hustle and bustle, just exactly why we do this every year.

I also have a couple of favorite decorations that I decorate the house with each year. One is little figurines each holding a letter that spell out the word N-O-E-L. These were my grandma’s and somehow I was the one that inherited them after she died. I love them; I have always loved them. I think I commented about that at one time and thus they are now in my possession. They sat on Grandma’s buffet, piano, or library table every year, and now they sit on my piano. I love taking them out of their box each year. They are still in the same box and wrapped with the same napkins that my grandma used to protect them. I know it sounds silly but that wrapping is almost as important to me as the little figurines. I guess because it symbolizes the love and care Grandma gave to this little set. It’s a reminder of the same love and care she showered on her kids and grandkids.

Another one of my favorite Christmas items, I received as a gift from my paternal grandparents.  It is a sand dollar that came with the story of The Legend of the Sand Dollar.  Many of you have probably read it.  I’ve posted it below.  Through the years my sand dollar has been stained by a coffee spill - or something equally damaging - and one of the little doves has been lost, and one broken, but the message is eternal:

The Legend of the Sand Dollar

That I would like to tell
Of the Birth and Death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell.
If you examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.
On one side the Easter Lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.
The Christmas Poinsetta
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His Birthday
Our happy Christmastide
Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace.
This simple little symbol
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread His Gospel
Through out Eternity.

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