December 1, 2020

Working on this issue brought back a lot of memories of both my own childhood and those of my daughter’s Christmases while she was growing up.  

I particularly remembered another cataclysmic, dealbreaker of a year, 2005, post-Katrina. Susie and I had just finished moving into a new house after losing ours to flooding (a house that I’d bought unseen after finding it listed in the MLS on the internet while still in Texas). We’d lost our homemade stockings and many of our Christmas ornaments, including those I’d made as a child that my mom had saved for me. The last thing I wanted to do was put up a tree, even if I knew where to find one. 

But Susie begged and begged, and just when I’d promised I’d get one the next day, a Christmas miracle happened. Walking for exercise that evening in the next block down, I came upon a discarded tree on the curb, fully decorated with lights, tinsel, and a few little purple ornaments still hooked onto branches. I couldn’t believe my eyes and lugged the little tree (about 4-feet tall) the block home with me. 

Needless to say, Susie was overjoyed! And the lights worked! And I was utterly amazed that my prayers had been answered, perhaps by my grandmother performing a good deed from the other side.  

I spent that entire holiday wondering who had discarded that tree and why. I hoped very much that they simply were moving back home somewhere, away from the craziness that was New Orleans in December 2005. I still wonder about them every year when I put one of those little purple ornaments on my tree. 

What didn’t flood in Katrina? The marvelous homemade ornaments that my daughter made for me. When writing the “Homemade Gifts” article, I remembered the fun we had every year making personalized jewelry boxes and Christmas ornaments, beaded necklaces and painted rocks. Once finished, we’d carefully wrap the gifts together, very excited about her beautiful crafts. 

Too, I recalled the Teddy Bear Christmas tea we hosted when Susie was in kindergarten. I made the mistake of letting the kids make the sugar cookie dough and the sticky mess it made when hot little fingers overworked it. Also, I remember the sad cries when cookies came out as blobs instead of angels or as broken-pointed stars. (Hence, my hint in the “Holiday Tea Party at Home” for parents to make the cookie dough ahead of time and keep it cool in the fridge before decorating.) 

These two articles, plus “Out and About” and “Holiday Tea Time & Dining with Santa,” are filled with ideas for you and your children to end 2020 with wonderment and make your own memories to last a lifetime.   

Have a grand holiday season!


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