A Treasured Christmas was previously published in 2015.
What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” ~ Agnes M. Pharo. (1904-1985).
A writer, artist, and grandmother, Pharo’s passage is considered one of the top ten quotes about Christmas.
The painted wood Advent calendar has been given to my son and daughter-in-law, and I am breathing a sigh of relief. This project had several challenges…
First, I had to think of a way to differentiate each box for three children. The knobs are colour coded so that a different child will open a treasure drawer each day. Then, I wanted to paint a Christmas themed illustration on the front of the drawer: I thought of a hockey stick, an angel, and you can see from the photos all the other individual little paintings so that each drawer is unique.
However, the most frustrating challenge by far occurred as the project was nearing completion.
I had painted the inside edges of the boxes thinking they would be prettier and also hoping to hide any exposed wood. Unfortunately, once painted, most of the little drawers would not fit back into their slots.
The boxes had to be sanded to remove the paint, and during that process, some of them chipped on the sides of the front. I had to paint and varnish them again.
Once the Advent calendar was truly finished, the miniature boxes had to be stuffed with tiny treats for three children. The boxes are very small and there isn’t much room. I soon discovered that it isn’t easy to find 25 different treats (X3) to fill the treasure boxes.
Even though the shelves at Party City are well stocked with all types of little treasures, I had to eliminate any food treats as one grandchild has allergies to milk and nuts.
My hope is that one day, this painted calendar will have a special meaning for my grandchildren.
When the end of November comes around and it is time to bring out the Advent calendar, I hope they remember the arts and crafts they did with me when they were young. Those were special times when we painted wood or ceramic ornaments or made gingerbread homes, or foam castles, or baked cookies.
Or they might also remember all the laughter we shared. I hope they will. And if they do, then they will be like their grandmother, who remembers loved ones who have come and gone. Family mementoes will be that much more meaningful to them as they are to me.
Last year, my mother gave me a few vintage Christmas ornaments that once belonged to my nonna. I have them this holiday season in a Venetian glass bowl, a birthday gift from my youngest son.
In 2014, I painted the glass ornaments with my watercolours in my sketchbook. (The poinsettia on the next page smudged a bit on the glass ornament page.)
An embroidered Christmas banner my mother finished for me about ten years ago is currently on display in our home. I had started the embroidery and Mom finished it for me.
This will be our first Christmas without Mom so her handmade items are all the more precious.
When my children were young, we made special decorations that still hang on my tree every year.
In November or early December, my children and I would make Christmas ornaments and begin baking for the holiday season. We didn’t know it, but we were creating our own holiday traditions. Each holiday season, we played Nana Mouskouri Christmas songs along with everyone’s favourite, Dolly and Kenny and their 1980s Christmas album.
As corny as it is, Christmas is not Christmas without Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers singing “I’ll be home with bells on.” My son bought me the CD not too long ago, and I think he even has his own copy of “Once upon a Christmas.” We have to play the entire CD at least once when the whole family is gathered together around Christmas time. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation in December.
Below are a few of the Christmas ornaments I had ordered from Mary Maxim. They are precious because they remind me of times spent at the table with my children. While Christmas carols played, cookies were baking in the oven, and we were happily working on these decorations.
We all have treasured ornaments, recipes, traditions that remind us of Christmases long ago spent with loved ones.
In the days leading up to the 25th, when everyone is rushing and trying to get everything done just right, remember the special preparations for Christmas with those you cherish most, and don’t forget to create new memories, for these are fleeting moments.