Grandma, You Are Missed This Christmas

Grandma Lorraine. Christmas 1982

Tuesday will mark our family’s fourth Christmas without our sweet grandma Lorraine. Four holiday seasons, how can that be? I remember when the first Christmas after her passing felt impossible. “It will get easier” seemed like the stupidest and most insensitive phrase. But life keeps moving and it has gotten easier, and that fills me with guilt and relief all at the same time.

Her memory lives on all year long, but no time more than Christmas. She absolutely loved Christmas, but not for the presents or parties. She loved Christmas for the music and the lights. The eggnog and the brandy (and wine and champagne). The fruitcake and the endless sweets. The time with family, especially when it meant I traveled home from college.

She opened each present on Christmas morning like it was the first present she had ever received. Carefully, oh so carefully, she would open the paper while making sure to salvage bows, ribbon and tissue paper for the next year. Whether the gift was a wooden spoon or a fancy outfit, she would touch it over and over, exclaiming how perfect it was and how we spent too much money on her. If you tried to take her picture on Christmas morning you were always met with a “NO” exclamation and a hand that immediately went up to cover her face. Oh, and we often made her wear a Santa hat. She was a trooper.

Christmas traditions have changed a lot since she left us. Mike and I got married so holidays have been split back and forth between Los Angeles and Denver. None of us can stand fruitcake or regular Coca Cola so those treats are no longer purchased. I didn’t even buy eggnog this year and the house is brandy-less.

But if she could visit the home that Mike and I have made, one year after we closed in December 2011, she would “ooohh” and “aaahhh” over our tree, telling me how beautiful each and every ornament looks. She would love our holiday fireplace mantel and be so happy that Kona has his own stocking. She would make me buy eggnog and spike it to our liking, especially while watching Christmas choir specials on PBS. You see, she thought watching mass and choirs on PSB Christmas Eve excused her from midnight services. She preferred cozy bathrobes to holiday sweaters.

I miss her daily, but I expect Christmastime will always be the hardest. So I write this post in order to share my memories of this incredible lady with you, and to pass along the love and joy she simply radiated at Christmas. It was such a blessing.

Resurfacing

I haven’t blogged in a week and to be honest, I haven’t had a second to miss it until today. Unpacking our new home has been overwhelming and just when I started to see the light at the end of the boxes, Christmas happened. We enjoyed two wonderful days just up the road in Niwot with Mike’s family. Our holiday was filled with tons of food, laughs and love.

Yesterday (the day after Christmas) we came to Breckenridge with friends visiting from San Diego. I fought off an impending cold by skiing all day yesterday, but finally lost the battle today and am catching up on blogs from the warmth of our condo to avoid being sick for my entire vacation. Have I mentioned that my office is closed until Jan. 3? Amazing!

We have been really bad about taking pictures since the move so definitely look at Mike’s sister’s blog, Block Party, to check out the cuties who made our Christmas day unforgettable. Hopefully Kelly will also post better pictures of the delicious breakfast she and I prepared below — Overnight Blueberry French Toast. This picture is just from my “dying” 3G iPhone.

The prep on Christmas Eve was so simple and the result was well worth the calories. I think any breakfast item that can be prepped for a large group the night before is genius. It keeps the hosts hosting rather than cooking all morning.

I am eager to get back to blogging (our Internet at the new house is finally working) and start documenting “before” and “after” photos of our progress.

Wishing you all a belated Merry Christmas!

Pinning for Christmas

As I’ve mentioned, we’re not decorating for Christmas this year in anticipation of needing to put everything into boxes starting next week. I believe Mike is secretly thrilled as he is not much of a Christmas decorating enthusiast. My hunch is that because his mom owned a Christmas store and has hundreds of decorations, he got his fill growing up.

Too bad. He married a Christmas freak and I’ll be back in full force next year. Actually, come to think of it, he hasn’t even witnessed my holiday obsession because we’ve never lived anywhere large enough to go wild with North Pole-inspired goodies.

To quiet my decorating desires this year I’ve turned to Pinterest to create a Holiday Inspirations board full of gorgeous pictures of holiday decor…

Credits from top left: Holiday Countdown Sign; Christmas Kleenex Boxes; Colorful Snowflake Cookies; and a Chic Charlie Brown Tree

One of my favorite parts about holiday pinning on Pinterest is that my red and green decorating mind is exposed to all of the others colors and themes that can make for a beautiful holiday display. Natural woods, summer yellows, black chalkboards…your holiday home doesn’t need to resemble your grandmother’s anymore!

Where do you turn for holiday inspiration? Do you stick to red and green themes or do you experiment with bright and unexpected colors?

Holiday Cards

Do you send holiday cards? I like to send them in theory, but then when I have to sit and write them out I huff and puff and complain that my handwriting is terrible and my hand is cramped. That said, I get caught up in the holiday spirit just like everyone else and am currently on the hunt for cards to send our to families.

I love cards that are not super traditional and stores like Paper Source and Papyrus have really fun selections. Who knows…maybe one of the designs below will end up in your mailbox this year!

1.) Paper Source 2.) Papyrus 3.) Papyrus 4.) Paper Source

The “Seasons Tweeting” set really caught my eye because everyone makes fun of my social media addiction. That is the front runner (for now) because of the irony of the design/theme.

What kind of holiday cards will you send this year?

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