A Merry Little Christmas

Hi Friends!

The holiday season feels so different this year! Our family is being extra cautious as we celebrate a “merry little Christmas.” For the very first time, we won’t all gather here on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day out of love and concern for everyone’s health.

Instead we are looking forward to spending precious time with our parents, just two family members at a time (wearing masks, of course). We had a sweet morning visit for Christmas Eve and will have another special morning visit on Christmas Day, too. My brothers will have nice afternoon visits with our parents.

Knowing that our holiday celebrations would be very different this year, we decided to plan a nontraditional Christmas. Instead of a tall Christmas tree filled with favorite ornaments, we have two small trees. In the living room window, a small tree in a large, Shaker-style basket glows with tiny, white lights, primitive penny bunting, and a star on top. Such a simple, quiet celebration that feels ‘just right’ this year. Our dining room has a small forest-style tree, with tiny, white lights and just a few very special ornaments.

Christmas cards from family and friends hang from ribbons as they do every year. This year, the cards feel even more special ~ like paper hugs from loved ones whom we have not even seen in person this year. We truly miss them all!

As always, our front porch decorations have a quiet, old-fashioned feeling. The railings are decked with evergreen garland with tiny, white lights and large, white bows. Antique wooden boxes are filled with evergreen branches. I took advantage of our mild November weather to fill a basket with dried, garden gatherings to hang on the front of our house. An antique sled is decked with a bouquet of the holly-like leaves of Mahonia from our garden.

We have been watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, and taking little drives to enjoy the Christmas lights all around town. Yet everything feels so different…

Our prayers go out to all those fighting for their lives in hospitals and their families waiting for them at home. At the moment, we know several people who are ill with Covid-19 even though they took careful precautions every day.

We are so grateful for the healthcare heroes and first responders who work on the front line, day-after-day, month-after-month. All of the essential workers who put themselves at risk every single day working in grocery stores, driving public transportation, and delivering mail and packages have our gratitude. Our hearts go out to the dedicated teachers and their students who are doing such hard work every day as they navigate this whole new way of learning.

The best gifts of all this Christmas are the vaccines that are arriving at the hospitals each day! All of the residents in my parents’ senior living community will get their first vaccines next week. My husband and I will be waiting for our turn for vaccines in the coming months. We are feeling hopeful…

Wishing you quiet moments

of peace, love, and joy

as you celebrate

your own “merry little Christmas” this year.

Although we may be far apart,

you are always close to my heart! ♥♥

Stay safe and healthy!

Warmest hugs,

♡ Dawn

P.S.  How will you celebrate the holiday season this year? Hope you will share with us!

12 thoughts on “A Merry Little Christmas

  1. Christmas celebrations are for sure different this year as was Thanksgiving. We did not get the big tree down this year but celebrate with a half a dozen small ones with white lights plus an assortment of traditional decorations. We have only seen our family outside in the driveway and actually exchanged gifts there yesterday. Today, it will be just the two of us, but we have a traditional meal planned and will try and keep busy. I am so glad you got to visit your parents and that they will soon get the vaccine which will somewhat ease the load on your mind. We, too, are waiting to get in line and release some of the stress we are all feeling. Although, I think we will be wearing masks and social distancing for a while, the vaccine will certainly mitigate fears. We have had a couple of young extended family members fight the virus successfully but have also lost one person to it. I send you best wishes for a nice holiday season and for an even better 2021.

    • Wishing you both a merry, little Christmas, Judy!🎄It’s so nice that you were able to gather outside to exchange gifts. That was a great idea! This year, Mother Nature helped you to decorate with all of your deep snow! Teeny, tiny snowflakes danced down all around us yesterday, but nothing to shovel. It’s very cold and sunny for our Christmas Day.

      We feel so very blessed to have visits with my parents! I worry when I’m not there to help out and make special memories together. Since they are in an Independent Living apartment they can have two family visitors at a time. My husband and I have basically self-quarantined since mid-March so that we know that we are safe as care partners for Mom and Dad. Sadly, the residents in Assisted Living and Memory Care in their senior living community are not allowed visitors due to their more fragile health.

      We had a extra-special gift this Christmas! Our dear, sweet 98 year old aunt just recovered from Covid.🙏🏼 Seventy-nine residents in her nursing home are currently infected. Just before she contracted the virus, cousins from across the country gathered for a Zoom birthday celebration with her! It was one of our favorite 2020 memories!

      Sending our warmest Christmas hugs, Judy! Perhaps you will have time for a bit of stitching today. We can begin dreaming our garden dreams for the new year! Your friendship is one of my favorite gifts this Christmas! Stay well!💗

  2. Merry Christmas, Dawn! I was so anxious for Christmas this year and I think I started decorating the first of November, but I still kept it just natural boughs and white lights. And I was big into dehydrated orange slices and I had so much fun with those.
    We have had a gorgeous day with our little inner circle, our granddaughter, her boyfriend, and Jim’s daughter. Our granddaughter Annabret is 23 and I think there were only 3 Christmas’s that were not spent in our house. So even though she now lives in town here (formerly they lived in Ft Worth) she always wants to spend the night Christmas Eve, so she wakes up Christmas morning in this house. It really makes my heart swell to know that Jim and I have made some really special memories for her.
    Then we FaceTimed with my son and family. They had over 9” of snow during the night and had a beautiful white Christmas in Ohio, while we ate our meal on the porch this year! It was a lovely 70 degrees and at the last minute I suggested we eat outside. Everyone loved the idea.
    So the day is over, all the dogs and kitties are also exhausted and are asleep here in the living room with me as I wind down this day.
    I am so ready for this vaccine. I plan to call Jim’s doctor Monday to find out when we can get it. Jim’s niece in Findlay, Ohio is a PA at Blanchard Hospital and is recovering from Covid and 5 days on a ventilator. Her doctor told her she came as close to death as anyone could come and survive. She is 45 years old and otherwise great health. That is what is so scary about this virus.
    So now I am just waiting for New Years Eve when I plan to join Susan in burning the 2020 calendar, page by page! I told her I could NEVER burn one of her calendars, but I happened to buy one of the mini calendars last year and I plan to sacrifice that one!
    Merry Christmas Dawn. I have such hope for next year. It just has to be better! Much love to you and your loved ones!

    • Merry Christmas, dear Chris!🎄What a lovely day you shared with loved ones! I love your Christmas tradition with Annabret.
      Such magical memories! It must be so nice to share a Christmas meal on the front porch.

      We had sunshine and temperatures of 10°F when we headed out this morning. Brrr!! No measurable snow, just a dusting. It looked like the rooftops were covered in powdered sugar! We had a lovely visit with my parents, sharing Christmas memories from their childhoods. Mom and I took an indoor walk admiring all of the different kinds of snowmen decorations in the building. We dropped off handmade Christmas cards to warm hearts of special friends.

      We have been celebrating Christmas with our dear friend in Germany. The entire country is on a very strict lockdown to stop the spread of Covid. So, we have been enjoying nice, long video visits during the holidays. Such fun to share memories of our many adventures together!

      The virus is so incredibly scary! So relieved to know that Jim’s niece has recovered. We took the scenic route home today through some of our favorite towns to admire the Christmas decorations on the beautiful, historic homes. I was so pleased to see that there were very few cars parked in the driveways and out front. Hopefully, that means that families took care by not planning large holiday gatherings this year. 🙏🏼 If not, the coming days could be the darkest days of all.

      I smiled when I read Susan’s New Year’s Eve plans. We don’t have a fireplace or fire pit… but our paper shredder might work! Sending warm hugs all the way to West Texas, Chris! Thanks for stopping to share your special Christmas with us. Stay well, sweet friend!💗

  3. Oh, Dawn, what a beautiful post. It’s so different this year. I think changing things up is a great idea. I’m glad you got a few hours with your parents, and I’m please to hear your brothers could visit as well. When I take my sister to her water therapy appointments I see families standing in the narrow path of dirt and shrubs visiting a loved one inside. It’s heart wrenching seeing them together but separated by glass.

    We too did the right thing and kept to our bubble of three, both for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s been so hard having my son away for the first time in his twenty years.

    Your posts are always such a breath of fresh air, filled with hope and beauty as well as light. Wishing you a wonderful New Year. xo

    • Oh, thank you, dear Alys! Yes, we truly treasure every precious family moment we have together! We had several months of Skype visits and window visits with our parents this year, too. Perhaps the 25 years of staying close across the miles between Arizona and Illinois helped to prepare us for this unimaginable year!

      I’m so glad that you made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations safely, Alys! I can’t even imagine how hard it was to have your son so far away for the first time in 2020. Huge hugs for you and all of the brave mamas feeling the same! I’m certain that this year taught us all so many lessons that we never dreamed we would encounter in our lifetime.

      (Oops, this comment posted as I was in the middle of writing it. Back again to finish…)
      The mantra in my second grade classroom was “We can do hard things!” Those words resonated with me often in this year. I wonder if any of my past students have called upon that mantra in 2020? I certainly have! Throughout the world, we have all been tested in so many unbelievable ways in the past year. In California, people have also faced terrifying wildfires and destruction in the midst of the pandemic. I can’t even imagine what you and your family have been through, dear Alys!

      Sending my love and big hugs across the miles! Stay safe and healthy, sweet friend! ♡

      • “We can do hard things!” That’s lovely Dawn, and so true. I’ve struggled late this year with anxiety and depression, but it’s lifting.

        You have such a tight-knit, loving family. It’s a gift in itself, Dawn.

        Huge hugs flying your way.

      • Wrapping my arms around you, Alys! I so admire your strength and your passion for helping others even while life is so challenging. Your volunteer work with ‘Lifted Spirits’ truly makes a difference in the lives of so many underserved women in your area. Each time you help a woman meet her needs for food, clothing and daily essentials, you are also helping her family! The time you share with each woman there in meaningful conversation allows her to feel seen and heard. What genuine gifts you give constantly!! I’m so relieved to know that you can feel the anxiety and depression lifting, dear heart!♥♥
        Love and light flying right back to you, Alys! Hope we can plan another virtual visit early in the New Year!! ♡

    • Happy, Healthy New Year, Karen!💕Thank you so much for sharing time with us here. Sending big hugs and best wishes for the start of the new year! 💗

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