Christmas Gratitude

Baby first Christmas

Christmas this year is a time for reflection and gratitude. This was my little grandson’s first Christmas and it is a joy to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. We don’t post photos of my grandson anywhere online for privacy reasons, due to the intrusive nature of advanced facial recognition technology. I am happy to post this lovely Christmas ornament made by my sweet daughter-in-law with my grandson’s precious little handprint. The gratitude I feel for the love in my family is overflowing. It’s not just Christmas gratitude, it’s year round gratitude.

Christmas tree and Advent calendar

My small artificial Christmas tree is perfect for my small condo. The tree is about four feet tall and very narrow, but it holds all of my special Christmas ornaments. I purchased the tree on a whim when I had to work all day Christmas Eve one year. Driving from New Haven to Newington after work, I got the tree on clearance at my happy place, JoAnn Fabrics. There are a lot of angel ornaments on my tree, collected over the years. I like angels very much and everyone should have an angel to watch over them and keep them safe from harm. Currently I am working on a small appliqué quilt that has angels, moons, and stars. It is all handwork and a joy to work on. When the blocks are finished I will design a setting and sew them together by machine.

Christmas cactus

My Christmas cactus bloomed in November and the blooms lasted almost until Christmas. My aunt in New Hampshire has a huge Christmas cactus that is over 50 years old. They can live a very long life and are such a beautiful plant. They need the shorter days of fall, indirect sunlight, and a cool spot in the house to bloom. They only need to be watered when the soil becomes very dry. My Christmas cactus is only a few years old and I repotted it this past summer after it had been pot bound for some time. I found it at Lagana Florists in Middletown when I was waiting for Pamela Roose Specialty Hand Knits & Yarn to open, as I had arrived at the yarn shop too early. It was an unexpected treat to be surrounded by such beautiful flowers and plants and the florist was so gracious. Lagana’s has recently moved to a new location and I need to go check it out.

Trail of hope ornaments

This is the Trail of Hope in East Hampton and it is on the east end of Lake Road, not far from Lake  Pocotopaug. Every year in December, the landowners decorate the trees in the woods with thousands of glass ornaments that shimmer in the light, even on overcast days such as this one. It is a special and magical sight to behold, and I often go out of my way and head in the opposite direction just to drive by the acres of Christmas ornaments in the woods. When the wind blows through the trees, the ornaments gently move and sway, bringing the scene to life. It takes my breath away and makes me so grateful to live in this small town where people do such special things that touch other people’s lives.

Christmas and Winter Solstice in Connecticut

Christmas card 2018

This is my family and I celebrate them all year long and especially at Christmas. There is so much love here. My son Joe and his wife Aurora are expecting a baby in February and I am so excited that I will become a grandma. I am so happy about having a baby join the family. My daughter Marianne is going to become an aunt and that is special for her too.

Christmas cactus 2018

My Christmas cactus is blooming in the big window in the livingroom. I bought it at a lovely florist shop last year in November while waiting for the yarn shop next door to open. If there was an early bird, that would be me. This is the first year it has bloomed for me and I love the first sign of buds when they appear.

Last night I attended the winter solstice mandala celebration hosted by my friend Kathryn Costa of True North Arts here and the 100 Mandalas community here. It was a live video conference and during the event we had time to color the seed mandala that Kathryn had provided us beforehand. The words just flowed out for me and creating this winter solstice mandala gave me a very peaceful feeling.

Christmas in Connecticut

XMas Card

I spent the Christmas holidays with family members here at home in Connecticut over the course of the week… my children, their partners, extended family, my sisters… and I talked/ texted with family and friends who I was unable to see in person. It was a particularly memorable and heartwarming Christmas for me because of the special times that we had together. There were presents of course, but the most important part of the Christmas holiday was the feeling of love that surrounded me. There was a warm glow that enveloped me from the simple acts of sharing a meal and opening up in conversation.

Bevin tree

I actually have a small tree and that fits best in my condo. But I love Christmas trees and the tree photo above is from the Bevin House, a bed and breakfast here in town. I went there for a Writer’s Guild meeting which was great fun and we got a tour of the restored inn afterwards. It was lovely! This is the parlor as it would have appeared in the late 1800’s.

Bevin House parlor

My tree is small but it has a lot of room for my treasured ornaments which I have gathered over the years. One year my cat managed to knock the whole tree over, breaking a half dozen ornaments. Fortunately I was able to glue a few of the special ones back together. Tangerine was adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society, abandoned at age 7, but she lived a long life with me and is now passed. I will always remember the look on her face when I came into the living room from the kitchen after hearing the loud crash. Somewhere I have a photo of the fallen tree in my photo archives.

My tree 2017