Twinkle Lights

twinkle-treeIt’s what Christmas lights do for me, they twinkle.  I especially like the small, white lights on my tree or front porch, or in the wreaths that hang on our windows and doors.  My husband, on the other hand, likes colored lights but tolerates my need for the holidays to be filled with all that twinkles. (Today’s thank you to him!)

I think white lights show off the tree and the ornaments better than anything else.  Just take a look at this picture!  Too much color would just compete with the many shapes and shades of what hangs on the branches or gets tucked further into the branch as a hidden treasure.  Even after the tree is decorated, I like to go back and take a close look at what I’ve previously placed—moving things if necessary or because the mood has changed since it was first hung.  I try to make sure that special ornaments have at least one of the twinkling whites nearby to draw attention to it.

My favorite thing about the Christmas season, twinkle lights!  (By the way, as of today, there are 108 days until Christmas!)

Bloggers Who Twinkle

Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart

choose goodWhat a fun song, eliciting smiles and memories of childhood songs from Sunday school or church-sponsored summer campsThe Weekly Photo Challenge:  JOY,  put this song in my head and it’s been there since last Friday (when the challenge was posted).  It also made this nice picture posted by Stephanie Ackerman Designs even more meaningful to me.  As a thank you to Stephanie and a way to wish a Happy New Year to everyone; here is the picture as well as link to a YouTube video of the song–you’ll remember it too when you hear it!

Happy New Year Everyone!  I hope 2014 brings you great JOY!

December 26th Remembered

I got this in grade school and it followed me through 4 years of college.
I got this in grade school and it followed me through 4 years of college.
Auntie Tina and Uncle Ray brought this to the "three little girls" (me and two of my sisters) probably about 1968 or so.
Auntie Tina and Uncle Ray brought this to the “three little girls” (me and two of my sisters) probably about 1968.

The day after…the day kids actually get to play with the toys that were ferociously opened on Christmas day.  What I remember about the day after is going through the pile of opened gifts to choose a favorite. I may have mentioned that I grew up with seven siblings, so there were always lots of things under the tree.

I’ve been searching Google images for the last couple of days to find pictures of the ones I remember most.  So as a way to thank my Mom, Dad, Auntie Tina, Uncle Joe, Uncle Ray, Grandma Kelly, and everyone else, for the great toys (some I didn’t even know I wanted until they were) opened on Christmas morning, here are some reminders of my favorites:

Another favorite doll, Giggles.  Poor thing who kept my sisters awake at night; when you moved her arm she would giggle, a lot!
Another favorite doll, Giggles. Poor thing who kept my sisters awake at night; when you moved her arm she would giggle, a lot!
My Krissy doll, you could make her hair grow with the push of one button and shorten it with another; unless you have a sister who cut it off.
My Krissy doll, you could make her hair grow with the push of one button and shorten it with another; unless you have a sister who cut it off.

Amy Grant Restored My Christmas Spirit

My holiday spirit has been a challenge to find this year.  I’ve baked, shopped, wrapped, sent cards, sponsored a family for the holiday drive, visited our elderly neighbor.  The house is decorated; tree is in the window, wreaths are on the door and porch, candles are lit and the house smells like Christmas.

To get in touch with my inner Christmas kid, I’ve had Pandora’s Christmas station providing background music on my desk at work for the past couple of weeks.  But, like all the other 24/7 radio stations playing the widest variety of singers belting out their rendition of Santa Baby; it is the same music over and over and over and over…you get the idea.

The music though, that always fills me up, is Amy Grant‘s A Christmas Album from 1983.  I first bought it on cassette and played it every year on my way home from Vermont for the holidays.  When it wore out the tape I got the album on CD.  It was played so many times I can’t count.  And now, it’s on my iPod!

Today when I got home I put my iPod into the stereo and blasted it!  I stood in the middle of the living room with the surround sound overwhelming me, and I sang at the top of my lungs.  It felt great! Finally, Christmas; not just in my house but, in my heart.  The song that moved me the most this year, “Love Has Come”.  Thank you, Amy Grant!

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Wish Lists and Holiday Dreams, Update!

I first posted this on November 18th at that beginning of the Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive at Children’s Friend.  I want to thank the hundreds of people, businesses, and community groups who helped to meet our goal of serving 1,200 families throughout Rhode Island.  It was amazing!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank  you, Thank you!

Christmas kids 1In 2011 our grandchildren lived with us during the holiday season.  As December approached the kids were bombarded, like any kid who watches TV, with commercials that would let them know what to ask Santa to bring them.  On Saturday morning I would hear Coco’s little voice after each ad for a new doll or pillow pet, “Santa, please bring me that.”  Finally, I told her that Santa couldn’t bring everything, and she’d have to narrow it down.

Im a princessMy sisters and brothers all wanted to know what they could do for the kids that year; they wanted to make sure Izzy, Kash and Coco a Christmas they wouldn’t forget.  Boy, did they!  I would say that everything on their wish lists was under the tree when, wide-eyed and so excited their fingers were shaking, they came walking into the living room.  The rip stick, guitar, play kitchen, new baby doll, princess dress up clothes, and legos, legos, more legos; were unwrapped and paper strewn across the floor.

The Annual Holiday Drive is underway where I work and it got me to thinking about what my family did for the grandkids.  Without their help there is no way we could have done it on our own.  The thanks today is extended to my brothers and sisters for making the Christmas of 2011 amazing!

hdbannerI know that there are hundreds of kids out there that don’t have the chance for even some of their most basic Christmas wishes to come true.  If you’re in a position to help a child or family this holiday season, check out the Children’s Friend Annual Holiday Drive in Memory of Joe Silva.  We’re hoping to serve 1,200 families this year, and we’ll do it!

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No Lines, No Waiting…No Chance

I did my first bit of holiday shopping in an actual store today. I’m an on-line shopper for the most part, particularly when it comes to Christmas it my go-to site, for almost everything!  I swore years ago that I wouldn’t venture down Route 2 (in Warwick), where the majority of the major shopping is done where I live, any time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There are other times of the year, too, when traveling down this less than 2-mile stretch can take as long as 30 minutes.  For some people who read this it may sound like such a long time, but in Rhode Island that amount of time could almost require a stop for a bathroom break en route to your destination.

kohlsIndeed though, I did stop today, at several stores along the route, one of which was a Kohl’s.  I actually needed to return something that I ordered on-line and its typically easier to do in the store.  Once I’d made the return I knew I would look around to see if there were any “must-haves”–which I did.  I found four items that I was willing to purchase, three of which were for gift giving, and I made my way to the rather long line to get to the register.

For whatever reason, the line on the men’s side of the store always seems to be shorter (sound familiar?) and today was no exception.  You can see from the picture, I was a good distance from the register.  No matter I thought, one of the reasons I enjoy shopping at Kohl’s is there are always nice people to talk to while waiting the 20-30 minutes in line to get to the register.   As we inched slowly toward the light, the line wound its way through the “impulse-buy” shelving.  The woman behind me and I commented to each other about many of items on the shelves while we talked about how we’d each had to send packages out of state for grandchildren who live in other parts of the country.  We also rolled our eyes at each other in response to that one person in line who always makes such a big deal of waiting–you know the one!

When my turn at the register came, I looked back and wished her a happy holiday and she did the same.  Today’s thank you is for all the nice people I’ve met all these years of waiting in line while holiday shopping.  I hope their holidays were/are merry and bright!

Lights, Lights…Christmas

A few years ago my husband and I bought a lovely home in a fantastic neighborhood.  We’d heard that not far from where we live there was a family who puts on a light show with music every night between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   Our first visit to the house on Gristmill Road in Warwick four years ago, was wonderfully surprising and more than enough to put us in the Christmas spirit.

Each year since, Steve and I have stopped by the house to sit for several songs, watching the flashes of color timed perfectly to the music of holiday favorites, you can even tune your radio to hear the music.  When our grandchildren lived with us  for the Christmas of 2011 we took them to the Picozzi’s Christmas display.  Their bright eyes staring at the lights in the dark evening air, is the stuff Christmas is made of!

I’d like to thank the Picozzi family in Warwick, RI, for sharing their home and love of Christmas with us, our neighbors, and our state.  If you live here, go take a look and enjoy!