As the holidays quickly approach, does the thought of gift buying leave you uninspired? Would you like to make your holiday more meaningful with your family? Consider making presents with your children, for family and friends.
Before you accuse me of falling of my rocker, let me just say that these crafts are doable even for the un-crafty sort ( like me). Sherry Osborn’s article, “100 Homemade Gift Ideas, at the “About Home” website, offers many ideas that appeal to different sensibilities. They are sweet and often upcycled from common household items-buttons, pens, and even old cabinet doors. They make especially cute gifts for teachers, family, and friends who may have everything else already.
If crafting isn’t your thing, perhaps baking or cooking gifts for others is more appealing. The article “Exceptional Homemade Edible Gifts,” by Carroll Pellegrinelli, at the “About Food,” website, lists some mouth watering delicious treat ideas for edible gift giving. Let’s just say chocolate figures into many of the recipes that are listed. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Whether homemade crafts or homemade treats for gifts, homemade anything shows a lot of heart. Anyone can purchase a necktie, calendar, or gift card for a loved one. But these ideas and their finished product possess that lovely and special quality that the standard mall gift does not.
With working together on these projects and giving from the heart, it may just lead you back to what’s essential about the holiday season. And that is definitely another win-win!
Forest Lawn Chapel
I can still recall the night. It was as if my dear friend Sandee and I were part of a classic holiday movie scene. In the lovely village of East Aurora, we slowly ambled to the Aurora Theatre. –The soft snow fell on us and many fellow would-be viewers, as we all waited to be admitted into the theatre. Crowded sidewalks, pretty snow, charming store and restaurant facades, the only thing missing was the black and white grainy color that could have further encapsulated the scene. (I will leave out the part of the ambling that was related to me being almost done with the first trimester of my youngest child). We were there to see the theatre’s annual free showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
This year, the Aurora Theatre is again offering numerous special movie events. From “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” several matinees are being offered for the next three weekends. This area is fortunate as several other theatres are also offering free movies and special events and listed in the Buffalo News’ GUSTO. From the newly renovated and refurbished “North Park” in North Buffalo, “Screening Room” in Amherst, and Shea’s in Downtown Buffalo to the Elmwood Regal and Lockport Palace, there is an entire array of free holiday movies to choose from. So take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and enjoy some great classic and new classic holiday films with your family, or as an individual retreat.
Editors Note: I got caught up in the bustle of this month and failed to post this wonderfully written post earlier when it was more helpful. Still it is possible to watch some of these great movies with your family in the comfort of your own living room. For something different today at 2pm is the last live performance of “It was a Wondeful Life” at the Forest Lawn Chapel in Buffalo. Seating is very limited but when I last looked there were a few seat left.
It is here and fully upon us. As the first real snow continues to fall lightly outside, I truly welcome in the holiday season. We get ready to give thanks tomorrow and then the build up to Christmas time.
I love this season on so many levels. For me, it marks a time in which we are all at our collective best. As we give thanks, we think more often of our blessings and what we are grateful for in life. We also think longer about those who do not have all we do and we think of how to help; how to contribute; how to share our bounty. For a time, it Is less about us and more about the greater world and its needs around us. Imagine what such attention and contribution could do the rest of the year!
I also love the wonder of the children. I do not think the most jaded individual would remain that way, if they spent abundant time with little ones. The big turkey; little pilgrims and Native Americans; the baking and cooking; the decorating; the music and singing; the tree; and playing in the snow all create a palpable excitement and joy among the little set. You can’t help but feel it in their presence.
I love the socializing. Whereas most other times of the year we say we will make plans with extended family and friends, we tend to really do more of that this time of year. We gather and enjoy each other’s company. We make greater efforts. We do not rush as much.
I love the traditions, with the food ones being some of my favorite. The pasta dishes on my husband’s side and the fish, sausage, and ham dishes on my side, remind us of where we came from and the richness of our differences. Hearing the old stories of how it used to be done and telling our children stories about our childhoods, mean everything to me. The roots are being planted; I am a grateful gardener.
So now I am really ready. The Christmas music that began right after Halloween on the airwaves and the items that appeared two months ago in the stores were completely out of place for me. Yet with it now really here, I am ready to dive head first into it all. When you pull me out, you might just find me covered in flour; lights; and little boy and girl kisses.
Last week my children found St. Nicholas booty in their booties, well sneakers and boots to be exact. Carrying on the tradition I grew up with in a Catholic household, our children know St. Nicholas Day. This day as described by the St. Nicholas Center celebrates the life of St. Nicholas, for both religious and secular societies worldwide. Pretty well known, our modern day Santa Claus has his roots here.
Isn’t roots, what traditions are all about? Whether you are marking Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan, or another holiday during the year, traditions are the true gift that keep on giving. I know many people who are hard pressed to come up with their holiday traditions when asked. I think that some things have become so mainstay, that these dear people have forgotten that some of what they do is a tradition in and of themselves. —-Think Christmas tree or cutout cookies!
I came across some good articles (Article 1, Article 2, Article 3) that look at what holiday traditions bring to our families and tips for starting some new ones. What I like best about traditions are their grounding force in our lives and how they help us teach cultural and familial identity. Our children get a little bit more of their Polish, Czech, Italian, and Irish heritage during the holidays, than other times of the year. Let’s face it, not passing down or sharing in time honored traditions just means they are lost! Two of the blog spots talk about creating new, modern traditions. Article 3 even goes as far as to suggest 50 winter holiday traditions you can select from!
What I particularly love about many of the suggestions are their emphasis on giving back to the community and the less fortunate. They are also full of some fun ideas for meals, entertainment, and wise gift giving. As you celebrate the holidays with your family, I hope that it is filled with new and old traditions. Know that what you are choosing to do to mark the holidays has a lasting impact As my children checked their shoes for evidence of St. Nicholas this morning, I look forward to the day when their children are doing the same….