This Christmas, we stayed right here at home. Seems like traveling during the holidays has always been a nightmare for us, and what with air travel getting more ridiculous by the minute, it just doesn't make sense to add even more torture to an already crazed time of year.
Our Christmas season began when we got to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen at an old movie theater in town. I know, it's not a Christmas movie, but it felt festive getting to see it on the big screen. In truth, it's really more a Halloween movie, as scary as it is to Mickey.
Then there was the holiday fair at Mickey's school. We usually get our tree there for $25, but when I arrived 15 minutes after the fair began, all the good trees had already been taken. Dang it. Tom worked the fair all day seeing that the school's book sale was being held in his classroom. Mickey played outside in the cold all day with a revolving door of school mates. I stayed home and cleaned house.
The following weekend we ventured out to find our Christmas tree. I stopped by the local nursery to price trees there, but nearly fainted when I found that most were priced at $80! I hadn't seen any Christmas tree stands anywhere in town, but remembered the place where we go to get our pumpkins for Halloween at a good price, so I figured it was worth checking out their trees. When we arrived, I was floored. They were all gargantuan. Our den has high ceilings, but the trees that greeted us when we first arrived at Taft Farms were clearly too tall. And the price was too tall as well, $70. Undaunted, we cruised each aisle until Tom found the $50 trees. More than what I wanted to spend, but they were getting ready to close and if we didn't get a tree that day, who knew when we'd be able to get one. Tom dragged our tree to the front to pay. When the guy came over to help us, he looked at the tree and said $35! SOLD! Merry Christmas!
Last Christmas, Mickey commented on the colored lights he saw on other trees. Our tree had white lights. My trees have had white lights ever since white lights became available, even though I always loved colored lights on Christmas trees when I was a kid. The hardware store across from work had colored lights on sale this year, so I bought six strings with a total of 900 lights. I must say, I do love the colored lights.
When I was growing up, it was tradition in our family to put the Christmas tree up on the Saturday closest to my birthday, December 11th. We did the same this year and I was given the most lovely watercolor from Tom and Mickey. I spotted the watercolor at the school's holiday fair. It was being sold as part of the silent auction. The artist, Ann Getsinger, is someone I met while working at the Southfield Store. She would come in some mornings while Mickey was still there waiting for the bus. One morning she and Mickey sketched together. I still have the newspaper on which they did their doodling. Sometime after this art session, Ann had a showing of some of her work, so we went to have a look see and were floored by the magnitude of talent this woman has. I determined then and there that one day an Ann Getsinger would hang in our house. I bid on the watercolor, but after I left, parents began flocking to the watercolor and out bid me. Or, at least, that's the story Tom told me. Apparently there were many interested parties, but in truth, he stood near the painting and threatened everyone who came near because he wanted to buy it for me for my birthday. Happy Birthday!
Not long ago, the preacher at our church started a mid-week prayer service, primarily for interested parishioners to gather to pray about growing our church and to sing worship songs. I attend every Thursday and have become the de facto song leader, and let me tell you, we sing our guts out. It's really a lot of fun. One Thursday I suggested that we should go Christmas caroling as a means of getting the word out that we were out there. So we did. There's only about 5 steady choir members, but that was just enough to sing some carols in harmony and spread some cheer. After several hours of traveling around and singing for our older folk, we ended the day at the New Marlborough Meeting House for the annual Christmas carol sing.
There is a famous percussionist who lives in our town and he leads the singing every year. He always hauls in straps of bells for the kids to play as we all sing Jingle Bells. The sound is a little deafing, so I've dubbed it Jangle Bells, as in jangled nerves.
And wouldn't you know it, all that jingling of bells summoned old man Christmas himself.
Just about one year ago, we started attending church next door at The United Church of New Marlborough. Last Christmas eve, I was just one of many singers in the choir (some how, we had lots of singers last Christmas eve). This year was a different story. The organist and I played carols for fifteen minutes leading up to the service. Mickey rang the church bell to start the service. He rings the bell every Sunday morning, too. I sang with the choir for all the carols, and jumped in on the violin on certain carols. Then, after the preacher's message, Mickey and I sang Away in a Manager together, with me accompanying us on the autoharp. And then for the offertory, I sang O Holy Night. Unfortunately, I had a hideous cold and couldn't reach my high notes. Oh well, next year.
It was a really beautiful service and it was so nice to see all the pews filled. If only it could be like that every Sunday.
After church, Tom and Mickey and I each opened a present. The rest had to wait to be opened along with the loot that Santa would drag in for Mickey while we were sleeping. Wink, wink. We ended Christmas day having a wonderful dinner down the street at our friends, the Richmans.
God bless us everyone.