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Diva Dance 100

Diva Challenge 100 – the Diva Dance

“It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!”… Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!  “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”  ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has always been a favorite of mine.  As a child, I would begin scouring the TV Guide in the month of November for the one and only showing of my holiday favorites.  Back then, you only got one shot at seeing them and then they were gone for another year.

I’ve always been like the Who’s – loving all things Christmas. I am the head cheerleader for Christmas in my family.  Shopping for ornaments all year long, dressing my house in its holiday best and putting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. But I also had a soft spot for the Grinch with his crabbiness and sour attitude.  Even as a young child, I seemed to understand that Christmas could be a lonely, difficult time for some people. Imagine my dismay when I realized that for the first time in my life, I had much more in common with the Grinch than the Who’s.

This year I have struggled to find my Christmas spirit.  When October came and I hadn’t bought the first ornament, I began to realize something was amiss.  My husband will be working offshore for the holidays this year.  Not having him home has always put a little damper on Christmas for me, but we  just changed the date to celebrate while he was home and all was well.  In order to do that this year, we had to move everything up by 10 days. Ongoing health problems for both daughters and me didn’t help matters.  Discussions with my family were met with protests and general disbelief.  When Thanksgiving came and went with no tree and no decorations, my family came to the realization that the orchestrator of all things Christmas at Chez Redmond was MIA.

A visit to my rheumatologist (a wonderful guy) resulted in a very strong recommendation to let go of the pressure to create the perfect Christmas.  He asked “How can you pare it down to the things you love with the strongest meaning for you and your family and let the rest go for this year?  You need to begin the process now because this will be truly unsustainable as you get older.  There will come a time when you need to pass the torch.”  He had a point.  Each year we seem to try to do more, be more and make it perfect for all those we love.  Over time, it builds to something that becomes unmanageable and burdensome.  Something I know my family doesn’t want for me.

I was a little surprised at who stepped into the void – my husband.  He pushed me to either abandon my big tree or come up with an easy, acceptable alternative.  He shopped for the entire family and did a great job I might add.  He helped with my version of a Christmas tree this year, wrapped gifts and cut and wrapped caramel without complaint.  Best of all, he took everyone out to a local restaurant for a great family dinner to celebrate the holiday after we exchanged gifts.

Over the 35 years of our marriage, there have been many times when my husband has surprised me with little gestures that show how much he loves me and others when we found our roles in the marriage reversed.  This was one of those times.  I became the Grinch and he was the Who showing me the truest meaning of Christmas.  Thanks, Babe!

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Original Zentangle design for 2011 Christmas cards

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ~Bob Hope

One of the things I love about the Christmas season is the continuity of tradition.  We really didn’t have any set traditions while I was growing up, but I have very consciously established a few with my own family.

The oldest of our traditions revolves around the Christmas tree.  I began buying dated Christmas ornaments for my children every year since they were born.  I have carried it on with my grandchildren.  There were a few lean years along the way, evident in the simplicity of the ornaments for those years.  I even have one lone survivor from our first tree after we were married.  A plain glass dime-store ornament that has managed to survive through 35 Christmases and various moves.  Even my grandchildren know to handle that one with care.  Once my girls moved out on their own, I gave them their collection as a start for their trees.  That was when I realized I would be losing a LOT of ornaments and started to collect for myself.  We gather ornaments from various travels, usually buying at least one on each vacation.  I now have a huge 9 ft. tree that is completely covered with unique ornaments.  My new son-in-law was stunned to learn that many of the ornaments my daughter has from her childhood are worth quite a lot of money.   Katrina was outlining the procedure for decorating their first Christmas tree, complete with Christmas music playing the whole time.  I was touched when I realized how thoroughly she embraced our traditions when she gifted me with an ornament purchased on her honeymoon for me.  Or course, I had ornaments to commemorate their first Christmas together from our trip to Branson.

I started two new traditions last year.  Once I began to embrace Zentangle, I decided to design my own Christmas cards.  I especially love this year’s creation – a Christmas tree – done with Sakura pens and Derwent Inktense pencils.  The second has to do with Christmas morning.  I always cook supper and usually have my grandchildren as my daughter works every Christmas Eve and Christmas in the ER.  She comes to our house on her way home from work Christmas morning to open gifts with the kids before getting some rest for her next shift.  I’ve been following the FlyLady for about a year and she included a recipe for cinnamon buns in one of her newsletters last year.  It was so simple and intended to be a no-fuss, no-muss treat served on Christmas morning.  The kids and I assembled them the night before and I popped them in the oven on Christmas morning.  They were a huge hit and I am told they taste like Cinnabon (I have to take their word for it, as I have to avoid gluten, so don’t eat them.)  We’ll be doing these again this year.  In the interest of spreading a little tradition, I am sharing this wonderful recipe with you.  Enjoy and take a moment to think about your own traditions – or start a brand new one and make some memories for the people you love.

Christmas Eve Shortcut Cinnamon Buns

From the Fly Lady

These are made the night before and popped in the oven Christmas morning when the kids are attacking their presents.

 Ingredients

20 unbaked frozen dinner rolls (Bridgeport works well)

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup instant vanilla pudding mix (this is NOT the whole box)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, melted

Directions

Lightly grease a 10 inch Bundt cake pan.  Place frozen rolls into the pan.

Combine the brown sugar, pudding mix and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the frozen rolls.  Pour melted butter over the top.

  • If you don’t have a Bundt pan, you can use a muffin tin, but they turn out better in the Bundt pan.

Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight at room temperature to rise.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls for 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Turn rolls onto serving plate and dig in!

Makes 20 buns

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