Friday, December 25, 2009

Tis the Season...

This turns out to be the season of change. Or perhaps, more accurately, the season of going back to the start...

Our gifts have been of an incredibly practical nature. We put up a tree for the first time in probably ten years. (Thank you Target staffer who pointed out the display tree was 75% off. $7.50 for a tree? Why not?)

There are no more markers of having little kids in the house - it's more like when MathMan and I first started sharing a life. Although Sophia is ten going on twenty-five and still a child, of course, there is a distinct lack of things that need assembling. There were no stickers to stick on Barbie things, nothing that needed to be cut out of packaging using the Jaws of Life.

Christmas Eve started what, I hope, will become a new tradition. This year, we used the wonders of technology and the Spirits of Skype to converge on MathMan's oldest brother's house for carols played by the Golden Family Concert Band. There we were, us in our Georgia living room and MathMan's youngest brother and his family in their house in New Jersey, enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas Eve, just like the old days. It was quite nice, actually.

We put out our own version of a holiday spread and will probably just eat leftovers all day and save the turkey roll (hey, there are only five of us) dinner for another time when the food is running low and we've got more month than money (The joys of a once a month paycheck for teachers. Ask any educator you know, they'll tell you that January seems to stretch on forever, especially when even the Ramen Noodles have run out.)

The point is, we've fussed more than usual with the busyness of the holidays, but the fussing has been in ways that have been more rewarding and less frustrating. I keep telling myself - write it down, this is what the holidays are about - being with the ones you love, being good to them and yourself, spreading the cheer where you can and having some fun that doesn't feel squeezed from the last little bit you have to give.

Okay, so now I've written it. The trick is to remember it, right? Right.

From all of us here at Golden Manor, may you and yours have a very happy holiday season. Thank you for sharing yourself and your thoughts here. I'm honored that you come here to read and be a part of this happy madness.



Here's a little sampling of the music from Christmas Eve (with special guest, MathMan's sister)


  1. Your post really got to me.

    For the first time in many years I have taken a larger part in our Christmas.

    I had been so stressed out about Christmas, this time of year, the church obligations, and numerous other things, that I had major blow-ups each December. It had gotten to be three separate explosions, starting at or around Thanksgiving and increasing in scale until Christmas Eve. But we scaled back, I took a few years to detox, and this year I felt like putting up lights, singing carols, decorating the tree, shopping a bit... It did not feel like one more chore. For the first time in over ten years.

    I am sad to say our two younger children (10 and 17) do not remember Daddy liking Christmas... I wish I could have been more the way they wished, but it was (in part) trying to be everything for everyone that blew me up over time.

    So this year I can feel a deep joy and we have had peace and pleasure uninterrupted. And so your post resonated with me. The simple stuff is so important, but oddly fragile - it can be destroyed in so many ways. Some of us need to lose it and get it back, I think, to properly understand it.

    So here's to simple love and peace and goodwill. This season can be wonderful. I'm glad yours has been.

  2. Skype - what a great way to communicate with family spread out and far away. After being in the hospital those long 3 days I do appreciate being home. Christmas was just Michael and myself. It was nice. Next week the daughter and grandson come for a visit over New Years. I remember when our kids made the transistion from little to older children and presents were a little more sophisticated. It seemed strange not to find those last minute gifts in the toy isle. I am hoping for all of us that things will get better in 2010 or that winning lottery option is still open. A girl can dream.

    Enjoy your weekend Lisa.

  3. I took a lot of pictures this year, more than I usually take anyway. It felt like time was passing so fast anymore and I had to get it all down so that I could remember later on. A family member gave us a picture of hubby and I from last year at Christmas that was really good and she blew it up and put in a frame. It was really sweet and a nice but inexpensive gift. She said to me, this is such a good picture of you two together and it was. Gifts like this mean more to me.

    Merry Festivus!

  4. Happy holidays to you and yours Lisa. Lots o' love to you all in 2010.

  5. Yes, it's been an interesting holiday year. With two daughters not getting along, it makes it difficult for the rest of the family who want to be together. It's a good reminder that individual feuds affect the entire family.

    We broke with tradition this year and I cooked a roast instead of a turkey or ham, and today, in addition to the leftovers, I made a big crockpot of chili. Not very Christmassy, but it's cold outside and it hits the spot.

    Now I'm hoping to set a course for 2010 that will be fulfilling and fun and memorable.

    Best to you and yours.


  6. Merry Christmas to all of you! We give smallish gifts and a few. It's freed everyone from it being a hassle and big expense. Though the holidays are always at our house and I grumble about that, I always end up feeling really good about it after. This year is no exception.

    Sophia is so beautiful. All three of them are, but I was just looking at one of the photos of her that came up in your photo loop, just below the blog header. She looks like the perfect combination of you and your hubby.

    I just have to ask - what the heck is festivus? Is it so cool and groovy that I'm too uncool to know about it?? :-)

  7. merry whatever, Lisa. We DO love you, and your family.

  8. Merry Christmas, Lisa, Doug and your whole family! Glad you have had such a lovely day together.

    We had a nice one too!

  9. Ours was a low key event as well. The "youngest" child in our family is now 21 years old.

    He just got over convalescing at our house for a week with a kick ass flu.

    Now I'm spending my time hoping for what I DON'T get for X mas--- the kick ass flu!

    We had a nice time with the son & first time meeting his new girlfriend.
    As a result we did a vegetarian X mas....
    Quiche was the order of the day.

    Something different- and she volunteered to bring pie! What is not to love???

    WE celebrated, did a little gift giving, & then watched The Court Jester.
    (Old Danny Kay movie w a very young Jessica Lange)

    "An unemployed Jester is Nobody's fool"

    Get it? Got it? Good!

    Happy Holidays & enjoy the simple goodness that is the holidays.

  10. i think this all sounds completely wonderful and perfect....may your new year be prosperous, peaceful and, above all, happy for you all!

  11. Brim over I to but I dream the collection should acquire more info then it has.

  12. What a lovely holiday! Funl, festive and low-key, all in the right proportions. My husband and I kept things casual too.

    Merry, Happy and Joyous everything to all of you.

  13. The music was such a pleasure. Thanks. I certainly feel in a Christmas rut. I miss having young kids (toys) but it's not really that. It's the SAME every year; the only wild card is what crisis will someone be having? This year it was Anna splitting up with her BF and the estranged wife of my brother-in-law coming to dinner and acting as if everything was just … normal. I had my little meltdown on Xmas eve (low blood sugar) and practiced "cheerfulness" for the next day. Oh well. As Falina says, "There's always tomorrow for dreams to come true …"

  14. Our first without toys too, very weird and oddly enjoyable.

    Here's to friends, family, and food - the true meaning of the holidays.

  15. It sounds like the best possible Christmas. And reading this makes me feel part of your family. I have ignored Xmas as is my usual inclination. And for the most part Xmas has left me alone to write. It's been very productive and free of the stresses of visits from my few remaining friends and their desire to bring gifts. I have nothing to give and resent time taken from writing. So here I am a late voyeur at your table.

  16. I thought the holidays were for trading dealing with one group of lunatics all day for dealing with a second group of lunatics all day.

  17. sorry im a day late and more than a dollar short but it looks like you had a wonderful time.
    lovely photos thanks so much for sharing and for everything your family has done for mine this year

  18. Sounds like you've had a lovely Christmas, and I'm so glad to hear that! Happy 2010 to the Golden Family!! :)

  19. Just got back from seeing the family. Glad to see you had a lovely and restful xmas.

  20. Again a honesty a possessions post. Thank your crony


And then you say....

(Comments submitted four or more days after a post is published won't appear immediately. They go into comment moderation to cut down on spam.)