Tag Archive: christmas


Christmas Porch

Decorating the front of my house always feels like a challenge. 

Porch Xmas signI am a simple girl, not quite a minimalist but definitely not a ‘more is more’ kind of person. I like it simple and not over done. In fact, when I decorate at work I get it to the point where I like it and then add three more elements. That way I know it is what it should be, what is expected for Christmas decorations. 

This last fall, I saw a porch decoration for fall in Better Homes and Gardens that really fit my vibe. So I copied it as much as I could. I didn’t have the super thick rope or the grapevine balls.

I had orange lights and orange rope. I had other pieces of halloween decoration and pumpkins. Once I put it together, I was really happy, it was simple and elegant. It wasn’t over done.

But now it’s Christmas.

Christmas seems to say excess, maybe scream it a little.

porch-xmas-wreath.jpg

So what did I do?

I stayed in my comfort zone.

I kept the orange rope, changed out for white lights, changed out the wreath, and added a Christmas sign where I had a Halloween ‘beware.’

A part of me thinks about adding some pine cones to the rope. And then I re-think when I consider all of the work involved. Now that school is done for the semester I want to be lazy.

I am making cookies, watching movies, and thinking about switching around that one troublesome part of my book to make it flow better. My plans include buckeyes and peanut butter cookies with chocolate stars in the centers. If I get lucky, there might be some Rumchatta chocolate pudding. 

But still, it’s pretty isn’t it? And it is a start of Christmas Cheer, even when this might be as far as I get.

Porch Christmas

Christmas Hope and Faith

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Every year on Thanksgiving day or soon after, there is one movie I must watch. It is a movie full of sentimental feelings, of earnestness and faith.

It is not a favorite with most of my family but slowly they are all around watching the movie right down to the bitter end.

Miracle Parade SantaOf course I am talking about Miracle on 34th Street. And as far as I am concerned the best version is from 1947 in the original black and white.

Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his performance as a man named Kris Kringle. He looks like a real-life Santa who knows more about the North Pole elf than even the most dedicated Santa-geek.

In the movie, we meet Kris as he discovers a drunken Santa on the float of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. He becomes the Macy store Santa who brings his own costume and charm along with a customer service attitude that surprises both customers and store leadership.

Miracle on 34th StreetHis grace and actual interest in others makes friends with many of his co-workers including Mr. Macy. Mrs. Walker who organizes the parade each year works to find a home for Kris. Meanwhile, Kris sees this as an opportunity to teach Mrs. Walker and her daughter, Susan, how to trust and have faith.

But when an incompetent psychologist is offended by Kris and works to have him committed, it takes Mrs. Walker’s lawyer neighbor, Fred Gaily, to keep Kris from being sent away forever.

This is a movie I have known by heart since I was in my teens. I know every scene, maybe not word by wordt, but certainly by how it all feels. Every time I watch it I notice something different. Maybe it is the way Kris and Albert talk to each other or how the rooms are decorated.

What never fails to catch my attention is how hope and faith are the focus of the story although we are never told if the Walker family are Christians or non-religious. These two parts of the story, the bedrock, depends on how we interact with others. They depend on how we treat others, what we expect, and what we expect to get back. In this case, we come to realize that Kris is motivated by the joy he sees in others when he gives them presents that have real meaning.

Edmund Gween Miracle IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

This movie reveals the true meaning of the holiday, even for non-believers. It was a sentiment needed after a long war that was hard on many families. Hope, faith, joy. It’s all there.

The movie was an instant hit when it was released in June of 1947 and stayed in theater till the holiday season of that year. People needed, wanted the emotions displayed in this movie. And I think we are looking for all of that today. The question is how do we make this happen in our lives?

After all, not all of us can find a Kris Kringle for a Christmas intervention. Sometimes we have to create the intervention for ourselves.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

I know a few readers are wondering out there how my year of completion is going.

 

 

I have been working on this for way too long.

So far, slow. I am working on that embroidery kit, trying to finish filling in the pitcher. It is slow but it is happening. Same with some sewing projects that I was able to complete at this month’s session at my favorite quilt shop. There is nothing like adjusting skirts because I have lost enough weight to make them need downsizing.

 

 

Getting out the door no later than Saturday.

However, I have another task that must be done. I have to send my parents their Christmas gift. This is one task that never gets done before our Easter trip to their house. This year I have the presents wrapped, in the box, and the box is ready for mailing. Tomorrow morning it heads out to the post office. I can’t say what the box contains because I do want Mom to be surprised and she stops by here often enough.

I am leaning towards the Florentine Clay but Georgian Leather is nice, too.

 

 

One of the items on my list of completion was picking a new color for the living room. It is currently a pinky coral color but I am choosing from a variety of terra-cotta shades. I am looking to go darker but the husband has requested a lighter color. Can’t wait to see how it will look when the room is finally completed.

 

How are you doing on your resolutions?

 

Related Post: The Year of Completion

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Now that the holiday season is here, TV stations are filling their line up with every holiday movie ever made.

The problem is, some of these movies are truly horrible.

The other night my kids were watching Santa Paws, one of the Air Bud sequels. I was only listening to the dialogue and it was grating. We declared bedtime and were able to turn off this clichéd mess of a movie.

Just because a movie is meant for kids, does not mean it has to be stupid. Just because advertising for a movie says it is family friendly, that doesn’t mean you have to watch it. When there is less demand for a movie, it slowly disappear from the TV landscape. That is what thankfully happened to Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964).

So what would I suggest?

Image from IMDb.com

Let me give you my five holiday must see movies/special for kids.

5. Are We There Yet? stars Ice Cube and may seem like an annoying family flick featuring a guy who is not necessarily family friendly. But there is a message about what a family really is and how you have to understand that other people’s actions are not your actions.

The story is about a businessman who doesn’t like kids but falls for a woman with two precocious darlings who drive away every potential suitor. When she suddenly needs help getting the kids up to her work, the Cube willing says he can help. There are some funny moments and strange moments but also some sweetness and understanding.

4. Any holiday special put out by Bass/Rankin. They might be 40 years old but these specials, such as Santa Clause is Coming to Town and Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer, are wonderful in their story telling and musical numbers. The animation is old fashioned stop-action figures but it feels substantial.

Image from IMDb.com

3. There is one TV special that people make time for and that is A Charlie Brown Christmas. First shown in 1965, this show has been a classic ever since Charlie Brown tried to organize the Christmas play and needed a tree for the stage. It laments the advent of commercialism in the Christmas season and gives us the story of Jesus’ birth. It is 25 minutes of perfection.

2. My next two could be interchangeable, they are so good in their story-telling and acting. But let me throw out Miracle on 34th Street from 1947. This is the king of Santa movies, of Christmas stories, of finding hope and faith when common sense tells you not to do it. Edmund Gwynne plays Kris Kringle who replaces Santa at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He continues on with his role during the holiday season, changing the company culture (long before the term was coined) in his kind and gentle way. But an idiot decides to get back at him and he is in Bellevue. Before you know it, he is in court trying to prove he is the real Santa Clause. This ensemble does such a great job it is not hard to believe that this movie was a big hit when it was released in the summer of 1947.

1. Granted, this movie gets shown all day on Christmas day and you might be tired of it. But A Christmas Story ranks as one of the best Christmas movies ever because ever vignette in this movie feels true. We all know someone who put their tongue on a metal pole. We all know about bullies and being incredibly wrapped against the winter’s cold and presents that are ridiculous but must be gratefully accepted. And we all know about the dream present – the one that keeps us up at night in anticipation.

The cast of Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, and Peter Billingsley were absolute perfection. There was chemistry among them that made you feel as if it was a real family. I never get tired of watching this movie and that is the sign of a well-made flick.

Image from IMDb.com

Now there is usually an honerable mention; a movie that did not make the list because it is a #6 but the reviewer still thinks it is worth watching. For me that movie is The Polar Express. The animation is gorgeous, the story telling is wonderful.

We follow a boy who is wavering on his belief in Santa and Christmas. Then, on Christmas Eve, the Polar Express stops in front of his house. He runs out and looks at the huge train in the street where no tracks had been placed. The conducter says to him “Well, are you coming?” And that is all we need to start a adventure.

 Next time I will list my favorite holiday movies for adults.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

The Sea of Snow

Wordless Wednesday

Six months ago, snow was the topic of our lives.

 

My Neighbor's Pine Tree

 
 

Playing with Christmas Toys outside

Snow, Snow, snow everywhere

 

Picture by Sue Molyneaux

 
And it felt as if it was never going to end.

The Best Part…

Product Thursday

When I am finished with this entry, you will know I am a totally uncool person.

While I make a point to be politically aware, listen to classical music and NPR,  have travelled a little and yearn to travel more, the truth is I will always be the small town geek. I will always be the book worm and gardening nut.

I will always be the non-hipster.

Picture by Seemann

I am starting to embrace that fact in the same way I love my garden and reading habit. So should it be surprising that my favorite coffee is not Starbucks or some of the other “fancy” coffees?

As my mother has pointed out many times, Starbucks is too bitter. Even with all of the sugar and cream added that makes the coffee taste better. Oh, how I love Caramel Macchiato until the aftertaste.

Now, I drink a fair amount of coffee and I have been trying different brands. My mother once gave us a gift pack of flavored coffees that I liked better than the husband did. The funny thing is my favorite coffee is an old brand.

Everybody knows it for some of the sappiest commercials at Christmas. You know the one in which the son who has been away from home sneaks in and wakes his little sister. They make coffee to surprise mom and dad with his homecoming.

Are you tearing up because I am just thinking about that scene. I know a grown woman shouldn’t do such a thing but I do.

Image from Folgers.com

More importantly, I like the flavor when I drink the coffee with or without flavored creamer. I like the smell when I open the container and when the coffee is brewing. And while I am drinking it, I never think “why am I drinking this?” Food should never make you feel regret because the taste overrides the benefits. Food and drink should pair together to make life just that much better.

 What is your favorite coffee or tea?

 Every Thursday I will review a product or service. If you would like to make a suggestion for a product or have a product you would like me to review, please contact me at bowmankaryn@sbcglobal.net.