Just Sayin’

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2016/12/what-are-your-advent-and-christmas-customs/

Fr. Z had some good, entertaining questions.

I can’t be bothered to come up with yet another s/n and p/w. Besides, this is clearly directed to families. I’m a single woman in my 30s.

Do you have certain personal or family customs for Christmas time?

Perhaps you readers could use this entry to share some ideas about how to make Advent and Christmas a fruitful time for yourselves and families.

Do you have an Advent calendar?

Are there any other things you do, or don’t do, for Advent?  Remember, it is a time of penance, too.

Do you listen to Christmas music before Christmas or wait until after?

When do you put up your tree and when do you decorate it?

Do you eat fish on Christmas Eve?  Pork hocks and lentils after Christmas?  Goose?

Do you bake cookies?

Do you have stockings at the mantle or a creche?

Does the youngest child put the star or angel on the tree?

What happens in your parishes?  Are there food and clothing and toy drives?

Maybe some discussion here can help other people think, in advance, about Christmas, which is fast approaching.

I’m just askin’.

As a child my sister and I would hang little wooden ornaments on a felted Christmas tree, with the little hangers being sequins, and ornaments pocketed in little embroidered felt pockets. It was charming. There’s no grand-babies yet. It’s still packed away.

I don’t keep an Advent calendar at home. I have two wall calendars in the apartment: kitchen and bedroom, both of which I’m too blind to read without my glasses. I like having the Advent wreath instead. My faux pine wreath sits on a bronze plastic charger plate from Michaels, and the candles cause the Leaning Tower of Pisa to blush at the thought she/it ‘leans’. Advent candles be falling over, yo!

I put this out with the nativity set the weekend of the first week of Advent. The Nativity set is a wooden stable with little ceramic figures; Baby Jesus is out but not with the stable. His figurine is lingering above among the shadow boxed saints’ statues I made earlier this year. He won’t descend to the stable until Christmas morning.

Ah, apartment living, what close quarters you are! No piney boughs real or fake will find vertical space to occupy. I like it that way.

Do I bake? Do I bake?!? Babydoll, I made a pumpkin pie cheesecake this weekend along with a batch of pumpkin-cranberry-pecan cookies AND pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Come, here. Ask that question again.

I’m single, in an apartment. Holiday dinners get eaten elsewhere. Tasty dinners in the past consisted of roast pork, black beans and white rice on Christmas Eve; camarones with white rice on Christmas Day. Mom complains about the amount of work involved. I don’t know what she’ll serve this year.

Parish & employer runs food drives, clothing drives, toy drives. So does my quilt guild.

 

Sunshine

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I was hoping to sit by the bank of windows, their light murky and scattered by years of grime. Ceiling tiles overhead have been removed to reveal years of dry, and maybe, wet rot. A spare classroom. Used for students who need extra testing time, the afterschool program’s space to complete homework, or on Wednesdays where I unglamorously provide mental health services to kids. Here I sit across the room next to the electrical outlet to charge the phone.

The sound of students reaches me: running in the halls, shoving each other in the cafeteria line, the dull thud of soccer balls.  I try not to think about who sits alone at lunch or who is bullying to the point of being sent to the principle’s office.

I want to sit against the window pane. Instead, I stare at the little table at which I do all my work covered by my lunch bag and coffee mug, the EBP model booklet, coloring pencils, collage materials &c. The vestiges of last cling to me: dry eyes and a headache, perhaps a resurgence of a pinched nerve; more likely holiday dread. My own, but also the kids whose heads swim with financial dreams their parents can’t meet; dreams of hover boards, happiness, fully attentive parents, family trips.

I’ll hold them, but Jesus, are you holding them too?

Friendly Snowman

Etsy Shop Link

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Hand-sewn, Hand-quilted.

A friendly Snowman greets all at your door, shovel in hand. It may be cold outside with snow on the ground, but this doesn’t faze him. His nose is bright orange and his hat is floppy; heck, the snow is freezing to his shovel.

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It’s even crystallizing!

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Stipple quilt stitch with echo around star motif higher up along the starry sky.