Ladyfisher
Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

December 20th, 1999

Keeping Christmas



The Holiday Season is quite different at our house this year. We would have put up some outdoor lights, and done some decorating indoors too. Over the past fifteen years I've painted little plaster houses which are arranged to make miniature villages. One is Victorian, one Old English, and one a turn of the century American Farm. Little 'bee' lights stuffed in them make a neat display, all set on fake snow. Complete with little people, sleighs, and carolers. We haven't had a big tree in years, but a small maybe five foot, fresh cut balsam, decorated in small antique ornaments has been the center of our Christmas. A nice wreath on the front door completes bringing in the season.

The wreath is up.

Everything else is packed in the attic. I can't get them down alone, and JC can't help. Still much to sore to raise his arms over his head, or to lift the boxes if I could get them down. So the season will pass without our festive trappings. I do miss them, I've always enjoyed 'doing' the villages and trimming the tree. A bit of creativity as well as a time not devoted to the usual work. Doing those little things that made the season special.

I used to do a lot of baking for the Holidays too, but with just the two of us now, I may bake a small batch or two of our favorite Christmas cookies - nothing like some years ago. Then it took all three of my daughters to help! I have saved all the recipes 'tho, maybe one day one of them will pick up the traditional cookies and breads.

I've thought about our situation and frankly got very depressed. I sogged around in it for a few days really feeling sorry for myself and us.

Of course I know the trappings are not what Christmas is really about. And it's not about presents either. But one did come in the mail, a lovely box of candy, sent by new friends in Oregon.

The candy, which included some wonderful English Toffee, triggered some memories - at first it was the clink of the chain collar worn by my best dog ever, Beastie. He was nuts about English Toffee, and even though he would not touch a thing on a counter or table without permission, would sneak a piece of toffee. In fact he would eat the whole dish! The clink of the collar on the edge of the little porcelain candy dish gave him away. I can still see the look on the face of that big black lab. For him it was the best of everything - surpassing ducks and chasing the snowshoe rabbit who came to play with him in the dead of winter.

The memory door swung open, and a flood of things associated with Christmas filled my mind, heart and soul. Other places, friends, other times. Christmas past.

No, our house will not have the 'look' of Christmas this year, but really it isn't the 'look' that matters is it?

We keep Christmas in our hearts.

To you and your loved ones, how ever you celebrate your holiday season, in what country you live, or which religion you may follow, may your Creator also be kept in your heart. ~ LadyFisher

Here is the FAOL ~Traditional Christmas Story~

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