Drive-by Gift Exchange, Donuts and a Walk in the Park

….on Christmas Eve

We decided as a family this year to celebrate Christmas in our homes and connect via Zoom. On Christmas Eve, early in the afternoon our kids drove to our house to drop off and pick up gifts. Gaelan ordered special donuts to share with everyone. It was not a particularly nice day but our meeting took place between rain showers so we also managed to get in a walk to to the park at the bottom of our street.

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Everyone wore their masks, some more festive than others and some of us wore our special hats and antlers.

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I even got Frances to get into the festive spirit for all of 10 seconds. My husband said she’s slowing down in her old age.

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Our get together was short because we all had to get back home and do a Zoom Christmas with Brendan and his family in London, England. It was Sevin’s first Christmas and it was fun watching her open her gifts from the family.

Christmas is for Children

….of all ages

I was actually organized for the first time in my life and ready for Christmas Eve. Normally I’m still wrapping gifts as the family starts to arrive but this year I finished all my wrapping the night before and I got all my deliveries of baked goods to the neighbours done earlier in the day.

Our granddaughter came early with her Mom and she was clearly excited. We kept her busy with stories and watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Papa gave her an apron and chef’s hat so that she could help us set up the table with Christmas goodies.

Later in the day she helped her Mom wrap some last minute gifts that her Papa needed help with and brought them downstairs and set them under the tree.1BFC492D-8642-4A7C-8A41-D6387E922B20

When all the family arrived we opened our stockings and Winnie helped hand out the presents. It was a wonderful evening and as always we had way too much food. We’ll be bringing some over to our daughter’s place tomorrow when we celebrate her birthday. Her twin brother is in London, England so hopefully we’ll hear from him like we did on Christmas Eve, unless the second grandchild decides to come early.

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Taking silly selfies with Auntie JoJo.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or holiday celebration with family and friends this season. Wishing everyone all the best in 2020.

Carol

Three Days of Christmas and Two Birthdays

….the holiday season is always busy

Now that my children have all grown up and moved out Christmas has become more complicated. This year we had three separate Christmas gatherings.

Christmas Eve is usually the day that we celebrate with the immediate family. Every other year our oldest daughter and her wife join the Italian side of the family and come to our place on Christmas Day. This was one of those years.

Our son didn’t join us this year. We were very fortunate to see him twice in the same year. The first time was in the summer when he was able to combine business with pleasure and in October we went to London where he lives. This Christmas they decided to visit Azadeh’s family in Iran in early December and then they were invited to join her uncle and his family in South America.3c3bb126-6c0f-41a0-a112-85ce0017246f
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On Christmas Eve our daughter, Gaelan and her husband, daughter and mother-in-law joined us for our traditional German Christmas. Platters of cookies, plates of cheese and meat, crackers and bread and a variety of nibbles were set out to graze on. My husband also made a pot of meatballs and a tourtière.

We always open our presents on Christmas Eve. My husband has always liked this German tradition and adopted it as soon as we were married. Having a three year at the party made this year’s

evening extra special. Winnie loved opening presents and helped hand out the Christmas stockings. When all the presents were opened she carefully packed all her gifts into a very large bag that I had purchased to wrap her art tray. The other kid at the party was my 92 year old father. He really got a kick out of his stocking this year.

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Day 2 to be continued ………

Share Your World – Week 28

Have you ever been a participant in a parade? What did you do?

I’ve watched numerous parades in my lifetime but I can’t remember being in a parade as a child and I know that I’ve never participated in a parade as an adult.

If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?

I would go to the opera. I don’t have a lot of exposure with operas but I’d like to change that and if it’s free even better.

Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog to record some of my family memories to share with my children and friends but it quickly became a venue to plot my weight loss and an incentive to stay on track. It worked and I lost 32 pounds.

I also wrote up recipes and started taking photographs of my travels, cottage and experiences around Toronto. Over the last two years I’ve included my own personal art and art that my students produced. I’ve also dabbled in poetry and I love taking part in blogging challenges.

What is your favorite tradition? (family tradition, church tradition, whatever)

My favourite family tradition is celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. Being German, I’ve always opened presents on Christmas Eve and when I got married my husband embraced that tradition. It worked out well for us because we would celebrate with my family on the 24th and then go to my husband’s family on the 25th.

Even when my husband’s parents passed away we continued to celebrate on Christmas Eve and the kids loved waiting up and then hiding when Santa arrived. It was always magical when we walked into the living room after Santa left and we were made to wait and take in the lit tree and the newly arrived presents under it.

Now that the kids have all grown up some of the traditions have changed slightly and the focus is on the food, drink and good company that we all share on that special night. It has become my husband’s favourite tradition as well. P1030984

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that Germany won over Argentina in the World Cup and I’m grateful that I was able to share the day with my husband, and  my daughter and her husband. Thanks to technology we were also able to communicate with our other daughter and our son in the Netherlands during and after the game.photo-29

This week I’m looking forward to spending some time at the cottage. I’ve been in the city helping my cousins deal with their very ill mother (my aunt) and I’ve been in and out of the hospital for the last six days. She’s still there but I’m only a phone call away.

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For more Share Your World posts check out http://ceenphotography.com/2014/07/14/share-your-world-2014-week-28/

The Stranger

.…without warning a soft knock resonated at the door

Story #3 for Daily Post Writing Challenge

The Stranger

It was late, Christmas Eve. The evening had been a quiet one, spent with good friends and close family members. Everyone left about 10:00 and my husband stayed up for awhile to help me with the cleaning up. Seeing how tired he was I suggested that he retire to bed and I would finish up in the kitchen.

The next morning would be a busy time with preparations for Christmas dinner and I needed a clean kitchen to work in so I happily stayed up to wash the last few glasses and put things away.

After finishing in the kitchen I walked around the livingroom, extinguishing the candles, picking up the loose bits of wrapping paper and tidying up the opened presents. I had just unplugged the Christmas tree lights when without warning a soft knock resonated from the front door. The dog began to bark furiously. Who would be at my door at 11:30 at night on Christmas Eve?

I froze but quickly caught my breath. I quietly inched my way to a window where I could see who was outside on my front porch. I saw that the person was a woman in a puffy black coat but I couldn’t make out her features. I went to the front door and without opening it I called out to the stranger and asked her what she wanted.

In a desperate voice she told me she was a neighbour and needed a loonie and a quarter. Who needs $1.25 on Christmas Eve? The closest 24 hour store was 7 blocks west and 2 blocks north from here. There wasn’t a waiting car or taxi that I could see. I know most of my neighbours and her Eastern European accent wasn’t familiar to me. I didn’t know what to do. Even the dog had stopped barking. I could hear her mumbling away when I didn’t respond to her plea.

My husband was sound asleep. I knew I had no change in my wallet and I was afraid. I quietly turned from the door, made sure all the other doors in the house were locked, turned off the last of the lights and tiptoed up the stairs to bed. I looked out from the upstairs window but the stranger had left. I don’t know where she went but I think I did see her walking along the street that intersects our road. She was warmly dressed and she seemed to know where she was going.

I felt guilty, nervous and unsettled. How ironic that on Christmas Eve I was like the inn keepers that had no room for Mary and Joseph. I sent her away. Is it fair to compare my situation to that classic bible story? It is after all 2012. I live in a city where home invasions periodically take place. If I had opened the door would she have pushed her way in and robbed us or was someone else with her waiting in the shadows? I’ll never know for sure but I did have a restless sleep that night. Every creak and tiny noise put me on edge.

The next morning when I told my husband what happened he told me I had done the right thing. What would you have done?