Friday, November 15, 2013

Marking the Time or Making A Mark In Time?

(photo credit)

I can't believe how quickly the summer got away from us.  Now the Holiday season is right around the corner!  I don't like that our "big days" have lost so much of their sparkle.  Our lives have been in such a state of flux that nothing has any kind of pattern, good or bad: no great planning, no anticipation, no festive air.  Nothing is really any different from one day to the next, yet everything is always changing.  It's not boring, in fact it's an exciting and adventurous way to live, but it doesn't lend itself comfortably AT ALL to celebrations or feasts or what most folks consider to be 'typical' traditions.

I really want to make the big dinners and the family time special, but all the sudden I don't seem to know how to go about it.  We did pretty well with it last year, but looking back, it was only a nice meal that was 'festive' and the rest was just like any other day.  I don't need to decorate and plan games or any thing, but I would like to create memories with my kids while they are still here.

Last year, Thanksgiving was great!  Allen cooked a good portion of the dinner outside in dutch ovens, taking LOTS of work off of my shoulders and allowing us all to spend some really wonderful outdoor time doing what we like.  Granny came out for the week for a really wonderful visit, and the whole thing was quite memorable, if not festive.   Everything was nice and right and I think we all enjoyed it.  We had pictures and leftovers and naps and messes, as we should.

We will be alone this year, just our immediate family, which is OK.  We like our home and each other's company, and we have always liked Thanksgiving the best.  It's a get-to-be-with-family, lazy, lay around and eat kind of a day: all our favorite things. We really like our rather non-traditional Thanksgiving food, as well.  Most people have the turkey and stuffing thing, but we usually do roast or stew, sometimes ham, and green beans, taters and gravy and all the good side disshes.  We'll probably try cooking it outside, campfire style again this year, too.  That was just about the shizz, right there!  We may take in a movie, or eat out the next day. Fun time, fun times.

As for Christmas-- unfortunately, last year's Christmastime just sort of came and went.  We are very anti-everything-modern-commercialism-has-done-to-Christmas at our house.   One year we actually tried to 'postpone' Christmas for a month or so and do it our own way without all the ridiculous hype, but it felt sad and flat and we determined not to do that any more.  We've tried to disentangle the typical gaudy Christmas decor from our celebrations, but despite the department stores, it's still always been a traditional and happy part of Christmas for us, and we missed the pretty lights and shiny things.  We'd rather not allow the likes of Walmart to rob us of our wonderful traditions just because they are tacky and greedy.

I would like to think up some more clever ways to make Christmas memorable and happy and "Christmassy" again without falling into the Santa, Coke-a-Cola bear, zillion dollar trap and whatnot.  Our house is very tiny, so extensive decor is out.  We have a string of lights up over the couch/dinette area, and it is very nice.  I tried to add a cheap little, tiny tree with fiber optic, multi-color tips to the festivities, but it was such a silly (and really ugly) little thing that I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving that off this year.

I think maybe we'll go back to one of our old traditions and have stockings up for the two weeks or so before Christmas.  I would always wrap tiny, silly little gifts and add them day by day until Christmas Eve.  They could take them out and feel and shake them and try to guess what they were.  I think they'd like that.  Maybe if I add some home baked goodies a few times and force some old corny movies on them, it would be good.  :)  I want to clearly mark the holidays this year as being special and happy.  Time with my kids is slipping away faster that I realized!

One thing is for sure -- I'd better get started!


Washington Rain Girl said...

I just found your blog. My husband and I are looking at downsizing to a trailer this coming spring and I am open to any insight on the process to get there. I was also wondering what you ended up doing for your holidays to enrich the feeling in your little space without going "retail Christmas"? I had the thought of old school paper chains in red and green.

Representative said...

Hi! I'm so sorry! I didn't see your post until just now.

We are Christians, so we decided to go for a nativity set up. I put it on the top shelf of the entertainment center (it's built into the trailer). We like some lighted decorations, so I found a long string of somewhat natural looking, green "pine" garland, and I tied lights and pine cones on it with florist's wire, and hung it up over the slide-out. I hung all the old sentimental family ornaments and home made ornaments right on the garland, and we hung stockings on both ends of the slide and next to the windows in the slide. (We had 5 people here at the time.)
We made peanut brittle and maple candy, and I wrapped some and hung it, too.
Also, I have a nice Hurricane lamp from Lehmans. I use it often, but it has a specially warm feeling about it at Christmastime.
We didn't put anything decorative outside. We just didn't get around to it. I may do something this year, but if I do it will be a wreath and ribbons or something like that.
As far as preparing food, we didn't do the traditional food, either. We aren't huge turkey fans, so we made a roast and potatoes and green beans. I did add some trimmings: desserts, rolls, relish trays, but I prepped them up the day before for the most part. I cooked my main food outside over hot coals in big cast iron dutch ovens. We've been doing that for several years. It started because I wasn't sure how to fit everything in indoors. The oven is small and so is the cook top and the counter top. We enjoyed it SO much that we always do it now. It gives us a lot more time together, relieves my workload somewhat and it was just great family time.
Sorry this is so long. Anything specific you want to ask, I'll do my best to answer. We don't have it all down pat, but we're on our 4th year, we've been successful, we've adapted in every regard, and we still like it and each other. :p
Thanks for coming over. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you.