Wassailing Home...

Let's get away from sleigh bells / Let's get away from snow / Let's make or break some Christmas, dear / I know the place to go.
How'd you like to spend Christmas, on Christmas island? / How'd you like to spend the holiday, away across the sea? / How'd you like to spend Christmas, on Christmas island? / How'd you like to hang a stocking on a great big coconut tree?
How'd you like to stay up late, like the islanders do? / Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe. / If you ever spend Christmas on Christmas island / You will never stray for everyday your Christmas dreams come true.
~ Jimmy Buffett, "Christmas Island"

When I was little, every Christmas was predictable, in the very best way. My sister and I, our exuberance, bare feet, and '70s polyurethane pajamas would huddle together at the crack of dawn, planning our attack on the gifts under the tree downstairs. PJ's were on all day; we knew we'd see Nana and Pop in Boston... Grammy and Grampy in Palmer, MA; there was a Swedish smorgasbord to look forward to, the riding of any "rideable" toys in the icy driveway for hours 'til dusk, holiday movies as background noise... and there was always snow.

Over the years, my Christmases have changed. The holiday season got shorter as I got older. I became busy with the extraneous. Where in my 0's and teens I focused on the wonder, in my 20's I may have focused, instead, on the upcoming festivities of New Year's Eve. In my early 30's, I enjoyed staying in my parents' guest room during Christmas, but then cried in my Amstel whilst watching the NYE "Law and Order" marathon in the back apartment of a farmhouse in Timbuktu, CT. Alone, but for my twin cats. I had traded in partying in the Big Apple for watching Jerry Orbach catch the killer. Holidays? The pits.

I now have a family. Gasp. A wonderful, wonderful family, with a husband (who actually just told me a second ago, knowingly, "You write better when it's late" after I complained I had written zero-point-zero. It's 11.20pm.), two amazing 3-year-old twins, and a Yellow Lab who may just have anxiety issues. Hell, she has a lot of them. With these blessings, I still (annoyingly? understandably? selfishly?) miss me and wish me a good old fashioned New England Christmas every year. There's this... thing that I have that I just don't see around these parts... The total longing for all things northern and snow-like. Most people in southern climes can shed it like a skin, but mine's here to stay. I'm not going to grow out of it. While most folks down here shout, "We didn't want to shovel anymore!", I whisper, "...but I did..."

So. I adorn our abode with things that I exalt. Tiny little Christmas schmidgens (what?) that just make my (holi)day. After all, just because I love the old-school New England-y Christmas and all of its snowy and cozy glory, doesn't mean I can't have it all now in the land of gators and flamingos, with my beloved little family...

My Nana always had a fresh bouquet of flowers on her table... Merry Christmas, Nana. 
We've got these two rickety antique chairs that (I think) were from a church in Trumbull, CT. With just a little holiday sparkle a la World Market pillows, I think they're happier, more festive little guys.
Ang and I decided to go in on the same gift for eachother this Christmas... We finally have artwork for above our stairs and I air-kiss it each time I walk up. *Mwah!*
The Christmas (shell) lights in my office are beaming, "We're in season!" (They're up all year, but they can finally feel like they belong at Christmastime.)
I had a fit of craftiness and made a mitten garland. Blech. After much felt-n-glue inspired expletives, the Kinder concoction ended up displayed at the end of AJ's bed...
..and Lila's. What took me about three hours of time now smells like monkey feet.
 Took a painting class in CT way back when. My cheesy rendition of a Georgia O'Keefe makes me happy when it's got Christmas lights for a backdrop. What was once a picture of a flower, now looks like a full and happy heart, glowing from within.
Lila's favorite ornament: The one-legged "Pink Merry Christmas Ballerina Princess Angel". She just had to have it in her room, instead of on the tree. AJ steals it regularly, returning it only upon Lila's relentless efforts to abscond with his stuffed Buzz Lightyear. [Editor's Note: I spent about 2 hours reattaching said ballerina princess angel's remaining leg after a Stella-stole-the-ornament incident last year. I'm quite happy with my epoxy moxy.]
The Christmas Card Bowl...
(Outback Bowl's on January 1st. Go Lions!)
A fuzzy little picture that radiates my happiness about the season: Light, warmth, and history. (My candle, home glow, Nana's wreath.)
 Nothin' spells the holidays like old-school ceramic Christmas lights (even if they are on a Ficus)...
Ang and I choose to ignore the fact that our star resembles the symbol for Satan or, at the very least, anarchy.
 Aaaand our party umbrella. 'Nuff said.

o r n a m e n t s
And last, but not least, the ornaments: I truly believe that one's Christmas tree is their history. Look at the ornaments, and you'll see a life...
Gotta have the kid art. Here's Lila's wreath she made at school. Knowing her, it took about eleven seconds to slap these embellishments on, after which she proceeded to beg to swing on a swing and then maybe sang "Rudolph" while adding a handful of sand to her Chuck Taylors. Ohhh, my Lila Bean...
 Ang got this for me in Vineyard Haven, MA. I was sitting outside this beautiful little Martha's Vineyard boutique with the monkeys, sipping an iced tea and drinking in my surroundings. I remember it like it was yesterday. Thank you, my love...
 Sawks love.
 ...and love for music, too...
 This little one is from the Bahamas. Ang and I went to Paradise Island with his family for a day's jaunt. I love how little she is for such a faraway trip. I think this was the first vacation ornament souvenir we got...
Here's one of Ang's favorite ornaments - it's from his softball team back in 2006. Each of the players signed it and gave it to the captain, himself, at our holiday party that year. In 2007, the ball fell to the floor while we were decorating the tree and we were crestfallen. I remember staying up late one night to glue it back together. All 72 pieces. (Talk about epoxy moxy.) Apparently, it can take a serious beating and still be ready for action each year - kind of like his softball team. I secretly think he loves it even more now...
 This is our family to a tee: Happy lil' photo, tiny bit off-center, and in a 2-year-old frame. Lots of love, just maybe not all that organized.
And a beautiful ornament from our friends. This one represents all of the ornaments, and love, we get from friends throughout the years...

It's late, and my computer won't left-justify. In case I don't get to tell you closer to the date, Merry Christmas. Cheers to celebrating the past, the present, and what will be... Wassailing we go...

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~ Carol Nelson


alison said…
Rest assured, Jen, your friends up North miss you desperately, too!!
Heidi said…
LOVED this post jenny girl!!! adored it!!!
when are you leaving?

love the felt mitten craft. who knew? you are amazing. and don't get me started on that photo you took. it beautiful jenn. it's so you.

party rocked.
Loved the sentimental stroll around your tree. I too was once residing in Florida and dreaming dreams of a white Illinois Christmas. Truly, there is no place like home. I saw your charming post on my friend Lauren's blog and had to drop by for a visit. Merry Christmas. Roxanne
Jen- Love your snowy Florida decorations. So pretty. And I like to shovel snow, too.

I'd send you a shovelful from New york, where it's snowing right now, if I could!

Merry Christmas to your family!


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