Thursday, December 10, 2009

Arctic Front and...Baking


This morning, when I arose, the temperatures were -28C. Other than taking the dogs out for a walk, I intend to spend little time outdoors today, never mind that the Wicked Winter Sun beckons and beguiles! He is a trickster; there is little warmth in his long, golden fingers.

It is the Christmas Season.  There are more gifts for me to find as yet, but with the Arctic front which has us full in its grip, I will not travel into town this day.


Instead, I will organize the gifts I have. This year, I plan to wrap nicely, with thoughtful touches here and there, on each gift. I plan to wrap nicely every year...but more often than not, I end up wrapping on Christmas Eve, with great haste and not much flair.


Also on the radar is the baking I want to take with me to the family on the Coast.  Sometimes, my bars and cookies and tarts look a little bedraggled after the long trip in the backseat of our car.  So this year, I have decided only nutty caramel popcorn and chocolate fudge will make the journey. But I will tuck in a few butter tarts for my daughter for whom the confection spells Christmas.



Oh! There are moments when I am so excited to be visiting the Coast, I remind myself of my childhood years. This will be the first time I have ever spent Christmas morning in my daughter's home. Usually, we arrive later in the day. Instead, this year we will be travelling to the Coast on Christmas Eve, arriving late...but we will be there!


This is the first year Graydon will be truly aware of Santa Claus at his grand old age of almost three. I am looking forward to telling him stories about Santa, reading countless books to him, and just snuggling with his warm little body.


I haven't seen Bree since the summer.  We travelled to the Coast for Thanksgiving in October, but she was entered in a Soccer Tournament in Victoria that weekend. She will be celebrating her birthday on December 20, which we will miss, only to make up for it when we arrive.


This will be her fifteenth birthday. Can anyone tell me where the time goes? It seems like only yesterday when it was Brianna who wanted stories about Santa, who wanted to sing and dance to Christmas music.

Bree is growing up...I am not as sure of her as I was when she was younger. Her interests are so diverse, many out of my realm of experience. But, as usual, no matter how anxious I am before I see her, love transcends all...and we chatter together just like a pair Magpies within minutes of seeing each other!


It doesn't seem to matter how old my family gets...every year, at Christmas, I can still see the youngster in my daughter. Her eyes sparkle with delight over visitors, food, entertaining and yes, even over presents. Just as they did when she was Graydon's age.


I've heard it said that Christmas brings out the child in everyone. And if it does, then to me this is one of the greatest reasons to celebrate a holiday such as this. Perhaps, if adults could grasp hold of their child within once a year...they may remember how joyful childish things can be...and continue on throughout the year.  


If adults could grasp the Christmas Spirit and hold it deep within their hearts, every day of the year, if our leaders could re-member their childhoods, no matter their religion...I wonder if the World would be in the trouble it is in.



If we all re-membered what it feels like to give freely and with joy, if we all re-membered childish anticipation, would we take as easily? Perhaps grasping greed would not be as prevalent, if we could only remember how a child gives...with his whole heart.


But I realize I'm naive.  I realize, as well, not everybody can remember wonderful Christmases. And I wish for all those who did not have the memories I have, that they will make good, solid remembrances over the coming years. And that they will contact that deep part of oneself, where anticipation, excitement and joy still exists, even if there are bad memories of a long ago childhood gone wrong.


As cold as it is outside, I believe I will create warmth and gaiety inside today.  Fudge making is on the horizon...how could it be Christmas without fudge? And oh...those butter tarts...can't forget those! The scent they produce in the oven will transport me right back to all the Christmases past.


Back to when my children were small, back to when I hid the gifts, back to when I volunteered at the Soup Kitchen, back to when our family swelled to include four foster boys who needed a home for Christmas, back to when we all sang the Christmas songs loudly and with great gusto on our way to my mother's home...

It's all about creating wonderful experiences and then... re-membering them year after year...

I don't believe I could have a better day!

16 comments:

  1. Good morning, Marion. Your pictures, especially of the moon, are so pretty. My morning opened with this post and your hopes and dreams and memories melted the morning chill away.

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  2. It's easy for me to get jaded on Christmas after having so many in my life and seeing the way the world has changed during this time.

    But then I see the light in my grandchildren's eyes and I am taken back to Christmases past.

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  3. You write with great wisdom and genuine caring and it makes me really enjoy coming back

    "If adults could grasp the Christmas Spirit and hold it deep within their hearts, every day of the year, if our leaders could re-member their childhoods, no matter their religion...I wonder if the World would be in the trouble it is in."

    That really stuck with me because of the other genuine caring words around it.

    Kindest regards,
    Tom Bailey

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  4. heart sister! (you are that)

    what a lovely post. here's what i liked best: your graydon and my mr. ryan are the same age. we will share the awe of that at the same time!

    i am trying to do what you are doing this season, more slow motion whenever possible. i will make some gifts, bake, and of course my holiday is made special by these clients i now have, many of them children, since i step into their lives and livingrooms (often furniture-less)

    i won't mind regressing in maturity and i probably am. i won't mind having fun most of all.

    and marion, a wee card is on its way to you. i know it takes a long time but be on the lookout because it will be me saying hello heart sister.

    love
    kj

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  5. i wish grownups wouldn't be so serious in life too. not so fun. have fun with your family! sounds lovely!

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  6. Annie,

    Always nice to see you, Annie...your gentleness shines through when you come by! The photo of the Moon was an experiment...it was SO bright and lit everything up so beautifully, I thought a photo or two would work, but this is the only one that turned out halfway reasonable, lol!

    Jan,

    It's so easy to become jaded. I go there as well...and then I hear Silent Night or Joy to the World. It never fails to remind me that I can be jaded the rest of the year, if I want, but there is no room for it at Christmas. Especially, as you say, with the little ones. I think Christmas lights were invented just so children's eyes can sparkle and shine even more!

    Tom,

    Thank you for your very kind words! And I'm glad you keep coming back...friends are like gold to me...even if they are cyber friends. It is still a very human connection, and makes me feel really good inside!

    kj,

    I love the term heart sister! It's a winner...it describes so many of us with common interests and really warms the heart!

    I am sure you will love Mr. Ryan's reaction to Christmas this year, as I will love our Graydon's. I remember a young Bree, probably at the same age, telling Santa Claus his breath smelled. I laughed for days after that...apparently his breath smelled of alcohol. I wonder if Santa decided to quit drinking around little children after that! hee hee

    I will look for the card for sure, kj and thank you in advance. You are, without any doubt, an amazing, wonderful woman!

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  7. A lovely post! I try not to think of all the Santa Claus/retail hoopla at Christmas (which is especially difficult if you work in retail, as I do!) .... and try to focus on the fact that Christmas is about God becoming a human being and coming to visit with us awhile.

    (Brrrr! Those temps!)

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  8. This was alovely post. I feel your joy in your grandchildren. Fudge butter tarts yum.

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  9. Alison,

    You are one of those people who shine with joy and laughter! My stepson made a promise to himself to always return to childhood at Christmas, many years ago. He's kept his promise, even at 23 years of age.

    Daisy,

    I love your comment about God coming to visit awhile! It would be difficult for me to work in the retail sector at Christmas. I expect you have many very uptight customers who want just the right item that they have thought and thought about...and then it's not there. Hee.

    I hope you get to see your grandchildren as well over the holidays!

    Moosh,

    Thank you for visiting! Grandchildren, I've heard it said, are the rewards of having children in the first place, and it's certainly true.

    I hope your mother feels better after her traumatic experience...I'm going now to check!

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  10. Wow Marion what a beautiful beautiful post... you really helped me create a scene in my mind of Christmas future and Christmas past.

    Which coast are you traveling to? East or West? I live on the west coast that why I'm asking : )

    Also you made a comment on Blog land if one of my dolls was for sale and I didn't know what one you meant... If you are interested you can write me : )
    http://www.odd-dolls.blogspot.com
    Happy Holidays to you~ and yours~
    Pattee

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  11. Well said, my cyber friend. I too hope to do a little holiday baking. I like your idea for caramel popcorn--pretty easy and everyone likes it. I am determined to tackle some decorated sugar cookies. I will post a photo if they turn out. Season's Best Wishes!

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  12. Pattee,

    I'm going to Vancouver Island, where I grew up. So I'm not so far from you! Presently I live in the interior of the province of BC, in the Cariboo Region.

    I've joined Etsy just so I could find your doll...so far I'm still exploring that enormous site!

    Sheila,

    So great to see you, my friendly Elf! Caramel popcorn is a no-brainer, which is why I love it! Add nuts, and nobody can keep their hands off it!

    Looking forward to photos of your baking! There is something about pictures of cookies, loaves and candies at Christmas that fills my heart. All the best of the Season to you and yours...and especially to that gorgeous grandson of yours!

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  13. We got our first snow out here on the coast. But temps were nothing like yours. In a day we will get a warming rain and we will be back above 5 degrees mid-day and all the snow will melt away until the next time. I must say that I enjoy the snow only because it lasts such a short time. I don't know what I would do if I had to live in it all winter. We are heading back to Powell River with my mother to spend the holidays. She was the holiday cook and decorator. I will put up a small tree for us and cook a festive dinner for Chritmas Eve. Friends have invited us all over for Christmas dinner so I won't have to cook a big meal for that, but I do miss the turkey leftovers. - Margy

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  14. Margy,

    I hope you were able to fly your plane yesterday. There is a lot of Snow which fell through the night here, along with those incredibly cold temperatures which just keep falling...

    How nice you were invited for Christmas Dinner. Those leftovers aren't all they're cracked up to be...after a sandwich, another meal using turkey, and soup, I'm ready to call it a day! One year I made Crown Roast; it was good, but it didn't have the same...feel?...about it and we've never had it again.

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  15. Oh Marion - thank you so much for another moving post. You always manage to truly capture the spirit of a matter in your words ... you speak the song of the heart.

    I agree with you - if everyone could embrace the true spirit of this season, our world would truly be living up to its potential.

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  16. Nicole,

    Thank you for the lovely comment! "song of the heart"...very beautiful description...I only wish I lived up to it!

    I hope you've weathered the terribly cold temperatures we've recently experienced. Today it is -1C...and it feels very warm! I'm outside shovelling the deck in only a sweater...truly amazing!

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