Christmas open thread…

21 Dec

It’s just the two of us this Christmas and I’m thankful it’s just us. We value spending quiet time together, doing things together, perhaps we’ve just reached that point in our lives where being together is what matters the most.

We both love Christmas and telling stories from the past, so in the Spirit of Christmases Past – here’s a few questions that may spark your memories, maybe even have some fun chatting with others in the comments should you need a quiet space to retreat too. You don’t have to answer the questions, or recount your memories, feel free to talk about what’s important to you.

Did you go Christmas Caroling? Does anyone do this now, or is it a relic of the past? 

This question proves I’m as old as the hills, but some of you may relate or remember. Did you ever go out Christmas Caroling? We did every year with the church. I loved it when we were little, but I also didn’t like the cold feet, but I loved the hot chocolate and cookies afterwards. We also carolled at the care home in town and visited with them so I think they enjoyed seeing us.

What are your favorite Christmas Carols or do they just irk you? 

Christmas Carols. Most of my favorite carols are religious in nature, Oh Holy Night, Ava Maria, Noël, and the Christmas Canon being three of my all time favorites I need to hear every year, honestly, can’t think of one I don’t like – religious or secular. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Christmas Carols and I keep wanting to include other favorites, and if I do, the entire post would just be a listing of Carols.

Christmas Tree decorations – your preference? 

Christmas Trees and holiday lights. Love them, prefer the trees with a mix of ornaments collected over the years, a bit of tinsel, lights, all that just brings back wonderful memories of Christmas from past years. I don’t care for the trees decorated in a theme – whether it’s the same ornaments color coordinated, one color lights, seems like something you see in a department store, too sterile, too perfect for my tastes.

Favorite Christmas Present from childhood?

I have two. One I was too little to remember getting but it was my constant companion throughout childhood, a black and white stuffed dog (shown in the picture the year I got it?). The other was the Chrissy Doll and I didn’t play with dolls, they didn’t interest me, but I wanted her so I could do her hair. The picture attached may also explain why dad took over cutting my hair and why I wanted the Chrissy Doll? (I removed the picture because someone saved it.)

What family Christmas Dinner traditions did you grow up with? Do you still follow them? 

Every tradition but one was English which suited both Grandma’s as they originally immigrated from England as young adults. The one tradition that wasn’t English was from Norway, the candle sticks in the picture. Christmas Crackers (google them) were a must to get into the spirit before dinner was served. A typical Christmas Dinner, followed by steamed carrot (not plum) pudding with either a custard or lemon sauce, (green tomato) mincemeat tarts, fruit cake and an array of cookies and sweets. Then sitting around the fire and opening presents. Wonderful memories.


Wishing you the best of the holiday season, stay safe.







Posted by on December 21, 2018 in Adoption, Uncategorized


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18 responses to “Christmas open thread…

  1. cb

    December 21, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    I’m going to be by myself this year, I just didn’t feel like going down south. I will probably buy a chicken and some vegetables and roast them. I might go down to “Breakfast on the Beach”.

    “Did you go Christmas Caroling? Does anyone do this now, or is it a relic of the past?”

    When I was young (the late 60s/early 70s) and was living in Auckland, I remember the Salvos used to drive around on an open truck of some sort and sing carols. As an adult, I haven’t been carol singing lately although there are local “carols in the park”. I was walking the other night and heard the Presbyterian Church’s “carols on the lawn” and it sounded lovely.

    “What are your favorite Christmas Carols or do they just irk you?”

    I like Christmas carols. At the above “carols on the lawn”, I could hear them singing “Hark the Herald angels sing” which is one I’ve always liked. I like “the Holly and the Ivy” and “Angels from the realms of glory” and “ding dong merrily on high”. Admittedly I cheated by looking at a list on Wikipedia to remind me lol. Also, the Kings College Cambridge can make any carol sound wonderful.

    “Christmas Tree decorations – your preference”

    I don’t have one up but I like lights and baubles. Our town’s local Christmas tree is OK but sort of pales next to the real pines (Norfolk pines) surrounding it lol. I’ve often thought it would be great to decorate some of the Norfolk pines (although you’d need a crane lol).

    “Favorite Christmas Present from childhood?”

    A couple of chairs lol (I can’t remember exactly what they looked like but they resembled rattan moon cairs). I got my grandniece a moon-chair for Christmas 2 years ago (I thought it would last a few years and she would grow into it).

    “What family Christmas Dinner traditions did you grow up with? Do you still follow them? ”

    We didn’t usually have turkey growing up, I think we usually had roast lamb. Some years we children were staying with our aunts in NZ over Christmas.. As adults, we tend to go to my sister’s place and there is usually a mixture of turkey/ham, roast veges, salad etc. It is summer here – funnily enough Christmas Day is very rarely hot and often it is overcast. It is supposed to be 18-25 degrees Celsius and sunny here so sounds nice (the weather hasn’t been great over the last few weeks).

    Anyway, I hope you both have a lovely Christmas.


    • TAO

      December 22, 2018 at 12:15 am

      “The Holly and the Ivy” I didn’t even recognise the name, but listening to it, I’ve heard it before – it’s very beautiful. Funny how some are common pretty much everywhere but each area has very common ones. Hark the herald is a favorite of mine too. Love carols.

      I spent Christmas in Hawaii one year, so strange, glad I experienced it, but it just seemed wrong. What you’re used to I guess.

      You to Catherine.


  2. Laksh

    December 22, 2018 at 12:33 am

    Growing up Hindu, we never celebrated Christmas at home but I studied in a convent so the nativity skit was a constant over the years. Also, a five-pointed star that would go up outside our neighbor’s home. My bday is Christmas so a plum cake was a standard. I loved the carol groups that would come singing every Christmas. I have some special memories of that time of the year. Once we immigrated, I bought a small pre-lit tree and over the years have accumulated enough ornaments between gifts and the ones kids make at school every year. It has become a celebration we have adopted. Two years ago, I added a wreath to the door and a simple string of lights. Then, we added stockings to our mantel. With each passing year, we mark Christmas a little differently.

    Merry Christmas to you!


    • TAO

      December 22, 2018 at 12:40 am

      What wonderful memories you have. I sort of wish carollers still roamed the neighborhoods. Love how your Christmas evolves over time. Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to you on the same day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. beth62

    December 22, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Merry Christmas 🎅
    It’s all about the baby king for me this year 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gregory Luce

    December 23, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    I guess most Christmas carols irk me because they seem so ever present. That said, I could listen to A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Vince Guaraldi album, most days around Christmas. That’s what’s playing when we decorate the tree, which is a haphazard tree full of seemingly random decorations that, as we bring each one out, has a distinct memory. My three favorites are a glass chicken, a backpacking ant, and a thin stamped-metal turtle with “Mom 2000” written on the back.

    Most of my childhood for Christmas was in a small town in Arkansas, with my mom’s extended family. Gifts were opened on Christmas Eve after someone in the family read the story of Jesus. I think it was from Luke. My immediate family was not religious at all. My grandmother and my mother’s extended family were all Southern Baptists, so it was a very holy time and celebration. There was no Santa for me growing up, except when I was really young, so I was confused why Santa did not visit Mena, Arkansas, but did visit Oklahoma. I thought maybe he had bad direcions or didn’t have an Arkansas license. Huh.


    • TAO

      December 23, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      Gregory you win the best favorite ornaments for sure – they sound amazingly and unique.

      I’ve been trying to remember if religion was part of our Christmas at home, I don’t think it was, despite being a deeply religious. Maybe an attempt to not have to explain how Santa fit into it all. We had both religious and secular Christmas Carols so not sure.

      We always had Santa, but we also found out really young that Santa was mom and dad which was why they didn’t get us presents.

      I forgot to include my favorite movie we’d always watch – Alistair Sims A Christmas Carol. – still love watching that.



  5. Stephanie (Tia)

    December 24, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I have an antique paper and ribbon ornament that my dad gave me that is one of the few things I have retained from past Christmases. In the two or three years after he died, my family shifted and changed in ways that left the two adoptees out of the flow of family events. My adoptive brother has some issues that are severe enough that he hasn’t been able to be involved. I’ve gone to him a few times, but it’s challenging.

    With my other family members, there was no big fight or any simmering angers. It was more that his death exposed an apathy in my mom’s much older bio sons and other family that I really did not know existed. They were fine when I was there and treated me well, but if there wasn’t an adoptive parent around to create space for me then it didn’t occur to them to even include me. I’m not in the family flow and it’s not even an intentional thing.This was so horrible for about five years, but once I stopped flailing about trying to change what’s truth, now I love Christmas more than ever in the ways it is completely transformed.

    My wife makes a Christmas tree every year from whatever is around. One year it was made from old cd’s strung together in the form of a tree. Last year it was big plastic flamingos with lights on them. This year it’s a wooden coat rack with lights, wind chimes, balls made from dead tree branches glued together and on top, instead of a star, is an inflatable Edvard Munch Scream doll.

    We will often go to Lake Michigan, which is large enough that it’s almost sea-like, for at least part of the day. This year I will be working, which will be another form of celebration for a lot of different reasons.

    This is the first holiday season that I’ve had contact with my first family, so that’s good.

    Have a great holiday season.


    • TAO

      December 24, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      You have a wonderful, memory filled holiday season too Stephanie.

      Interesting to read the similarities in our stories, the family dynamics in play, including what happens when a parent dies and the lack of blood ties show up. All the best, stay safe, loved, happy.


  6. beth62

    December 24, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    I just shoved my son and daughter in -law in my RV told them to leave and don’t come back until they are done with their madness! No way am I helping with all that ever again!
    Her water broke 🙂 in the middle of singing Santa Claus is Coming To Town

    Merry Christmas Eve!


    • TAO

      December 24, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      Congrats grandma? At least I finally know what your cryptic comment was about. Just a guess but did they have a boy? Are they naming him Santa because that’s what they were singing when he decided it was time?


      • beth62

        December 27, 2018 at 5:19 pm

        See, so many babies! It’s hard to keep count. Surprise! One perfect baby girl born before the sun came up 💗 four weeks before her due date.

        I’ve given up on any crazy ideas of an uneventful holiday around here, or one going as planned, ever. Now I’m working on new standards of procedures for these babies to be. I caught the first baby that lives here now. The last one made it into the hospital with six minutes to spare. The closest hospital is thirty miles away, our new parent’s home, hospital and doctors are fifty miles away. I intend to do everything I can not to have to help deliver another one! And if it has to happen in route, they will be in the RV with room, lights, water and heat/ac.

        I’ve developed a very strong phobia. So, I had my eye on our Christmas mom all weekend. With thoughts dancing in my head of how to unhook my RV in record time… and not have the Dad be the driver, who I knew would be freaking out worse than me, and he did.

        The young people were having fun in the barn with all the little kids making Christmas crafty stuff. We’re drowning in musicians and singers so, Christmas carols were going on, and on, and on. Our new mommy got to the chorus of the Santa song, “Ohhhhh you better watch out, you better not….Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I saw “that look” on her face and bolted.

        I’ve never unhooked that RV so fast, I was shouting orders, people were scrambling LOL Four of the brothers were staying in it, I kicked two out with their bags, kicked two in with the keys (1 driver, 1 backup/navigator, neither being Me!), bum rushed the new parents inside as they attempted to argue with me, and off they went. We unhooked more and moved some of the party to the hospital parking lot, and waited for the phone call.
        That’s how I want it to work! Call me when the time comes for me to meet that baby. I’m talking the next mom in line into setting up camp next to the hospital weeks before her due date. My “phobia” is so bad I talked the nurses into setting me up with an emergency baby birthing supply kit for the RV. I confess, they and I pretty much stole stuff from the hospital :/ I’ll never tell😎

        Now we need to develop some new procedures for everyone to meet the new babe. They don’t have nurseries with windows anymore, babies are in mama’s room. My guys are the type to be there for their bro, no matter what, where or when, they will not wait. Only so many regular sized people can go in at a time, we have several giants that have to crawl under the door frame to get in for a peek… The Mom had her parent’s, both sets of grandparents and several siblings there too. We are compounding in numbers quickly, it’s shocking. The chaos of dozens of people coming to visit worked slightly well on Christmas Day, but any other day it probably won’t work like that at all! I’m not sure how to fix all that tho 🙂 It is what it is, and I think it’s just grand.

        I’m sticking with my story tho. Our new little miss will be our first baby to grow up in the big city. I really think it’s obvious she wants to stay and play with her many fun country old people, uncles, aunties and cousins instead 😋


        • TAO

          December 27, 2018 at 5:36 pm

          What a wonderful Christmas story – how’s that book coming?


          • beth62

            December 27, 2018 at 6:05 pm

            It’s longer than War and Peace already. LOL And the story has barely just begun.


  7. cynthianelson7452

    December 26, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    I am a black/gray market adoptee, adopted at four days through an attorney. That said, my a-parents always had a wonder ful Christmas for us and now I find the holidays depressing, when everyone reflects on antics of relatives, very funny but then I am reminded that these people so fondly remembered are not my real blood relatives and once again I must pretend that they are.


    • TAO

      December 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm



    • beth62

      December 27, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      That pretending is so very strange. Especially strange when you’re well past age 50.
      I still pretend. I do it intentionally for my Dad now. We both know better. He gave me his family, and has always expected me to take them as mine. So I do it for him. How ungrateful would it seem to not to accept “the gift of family”?… ug
      When we talk about genealogy and his ancestors that I or he have never met, I say “your grandfather”. He says the same to me, “your great-grandfather”. I never met the guy.
      It’s hard to not give him that tho.
      Very hard to take it, his gift, when he refuses to take any of my genetic ancestors, or their descendants, as a gift, a family connection of his, in return…



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