…the little boy building the Snowman. And a tasty chocolate reindeer. Yum. 🙂
On to Christmas… the streets are looking amazing around here, even with a recession on! Our last day or two spent with my parents revealed gorgeous new holiday decorations along Grafton Street in Dublin.
I love it! Here in Drogheda, the lights are out as well, and the streets are starting to get busy for the holiday shoppers, even on a Tuesday! Don’t ask me if I have all my shopping done… I’ve had to go back to work and earn some money first! But I think I can safely say I’m in the holiday spirit, even so far away from “home.” The very frosty weather we’ve been having helps!
We hung up icicle lights in our two front windows for our Sunday night Thanksgiving and today I pulled out a few little Christmas decorations for the house. We’ll save the tree for another week or two – I’m hoping to find a real one somewhere!
I think every place I’ve lived lends itself to a different kind of nostalgic Christmas romance. Montana, of course, was snowy and woodsey and magical in that sort of old-fashioned Christmas way. The holidays of my youth were spent there, so naturally, in my mind, Montana is the first place Santa hits on Christmas Eve. Montana is the place I learned how to sled, ski/snowboard and ice skate, not to mention learning how to hunt Christmas trees out in the wild! Montana means crackly old Christmas records, story books we read as kids, hand-knit stockings, loads of cookies, eggnog, and hanging my great-grandparents treasured ornaments (and recycled leaded tinsel) up on our tree.
Indiana had an overpowering feeling of community warmth and love at Christmas. I often reflect on our old Heartland Christmas parties and Secret Santa gift-giving (including last year’s infamous free-range chicken?!?). I also think about my own Christmas parties and the seeds of my own personal traditions begun in Apartment 209. I remember the lighting of Circle Monument and seeing It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen at Hollywood Bar and Filmworks. I remember the Christmas all around town, concerts and lights and festivities wherever you looked. Indianapolis was a great place to get the Christmas feeling!
But Ireland… Ireland is different yet again. While there may not be snow every year or massive Black Friday sales or elaborate parties (at least not any that I’ve been invited to!!!), it has its own charm. There’s a hint of Dickens in the air… coal fires going, Christmas puddings boiling, yule logs and mulled wine for sale. There’s still the epidemic of over-spending, but it’s from an amazing sense of generosity (not gluttony), where friends and family share food and presents with each other without thinking if they can afford it. There’s also this beautiful tradition of calling around to each other’s homes in person to wish each other Happy Christmas. And then, obviously, I fell in love one Christmas in Ireland. So that little added bonus sort of tops them all for me!
So, if each home had it’s own Christmas carol… I think Bozeman would be “Oh Holy Night,” Indiana would be “Silver Bells,” and Ireland would be “Greensleeves.” Fittingly, these are three of my very favorite carols.
No matter what country or state we’re in, it’s also going to be fun to learn more about Frank’s family traditions and create some of our own along the way. Already we’re sharing some of our favorite stories, films, cartoons, foods and so forth. It’s things like holidays (and weddings!) that can really teach you a lot about a person… and the things that they do or do not like! It’s actually a little funny to me, because up until a few months ago, it just didn’t cross my silly mind that husbands and wives ever have artistic differences! Hahaha. Boy, do I have a lot to learn. 🙂