So, what did you get for Christmas?

It’s been a few days. You’ve had time to recover. Somewhat.

DennisTheMenace

Now that the mess is all cleaned up … or at least pushed aside so it’s not completely in the way … let’s share our Christmases. I want to know what you got for Christmas.

I’ll start.

I got time with the children, and with my grandson.

My son and his wife live in Brunswick, in coastal Georgia, about 20 minutes from his mother (X1). He worked every day but Sunday and Christmas, and I managed to spend some time with him, but not a lot. They were doing the thing where you spend one evening with one branch of family, another with a different branch, and so on.

My daughter, her husband, and son live near Boston, where my son-in-law is now attending business school. He’s a former Army officer. They are spending the holidays (Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, St. Basil’s Day, the Epiphany, and whatever else is going on) in southeast Georgia. I drove over last week and spent several days there. I haven’t had the opportunity to spend much time with my youngest grandson. He was born in Germany last year when his father was stationed there. I had the chance to visit when he was only a couple of weeks old. I saw him in July at my birthday when they moved back stateside. They’ve been in the Boston area since then, and this was the first face-to-face visit since the summer.

He was a little wary, and always clung to “Mama” and “Dada” when I approached. It wasn’t just me. He did his grandmother (X1) the same way sometimes, too. After a couple of days, though, he didn’t mind me holding him. And, the day after Christmas, when his mother and father wanted to go to the movies, he and his Papa got to spend some time together. We took turns pushing his stroller, walked around the mall for a while, shared a sandwich, and played Talking Tom on the iPhone. He likes it when Tom screams after you punch him in the foot.

After taking him back to his Granny’s house, we played for a little longer. When it got to be late, I said my goodbyes … he told his parents and grandmother “bye bye” and walked to the door with me. That was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. The next day, his other grandparents were driving down to St. Simons, and they certainly deserve to spend time with him without my gumming up the works. So, that concluded the Glynn County portion of the trip.

Afterwards, I thought back on the time I got to spend with him, with the children, and with the rest of the family. I smiled, but then uttered the words that are often happy words, but on that day, seemed so sad: “Siri, drive home.”

I had a good Christmas.

Now, tell me about yours.

Kindle

A Visit From St. Nicholas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, Laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

— Clement Clarke Moore

Kindle

Christmas 2011

The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2

  1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
  2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
  3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
  4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David
  5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
  6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
  7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
  8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
  9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
  10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
  11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
  12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
  13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
  14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Kindle

The Night Before Christmas

©2000 Denise Van Patten – http://collectdolls.about.com

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, Laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

A Visit from St. Nicholas
– Clement Clarke Moore
Kindle

Stuffing the stockings

IMAO reader WyoScotch recently brought to my attention a project going on in the Lexington, NC area. The full story hehind it is here, but here’s a summary:

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit was recently deployed off the African coast for a longer-than-normal period of time. Because of the expense, there’s no money in the unit’s budget for some of the usual Christmas activities, so their families have started a project to ensure they get something at Christmastime. And, because of the logistics, they’ve got to make this happen by next Monday, the 14th.

It seems a worthwhile project to me, so I’m going to help. If you think it’s something you want to help with, you can find more details on how to help on their Facebook page.

Here’s more about it, with a “how-to” and suggestions:

First off if you can help and have a Facebook account go to the “Stuff the stockings” event here (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=153415618091082) and click on the I’m attending.  It would be neat for Rita to see the where the support is coming from.
 
Second, stuff a bunch of stockings.  They fit around 5 or 6 to the box you get for free from the post office.  You still have to pay for shipping though.
 
A Christmas stocking with basically all the same things in each so that they each receive about the same things. What we are looking to put in them is toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, candy canes, holiday candy, Christmas Socks, Small inexpensive travel games, (Rubik’s cube, IQ peg games, etc.), key chain flashlights, hot chocolate, Bag of microwave popcorn, Christmas Debbie cakes, crystal light or Gatorade individual packs.
 
We will need to ship our boxes to the ship no later than the 2nd week in November.
 
Here are some suggestions for items:
  • Large Christmas Stockings (large enough to hold items below, DollarTree has many)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Tooth paste
  • Razor
  • Candy Canes
  • Holiday Candy
  • Christmas Socks
  • Small inexpensive travel games
  • Key chain flashlights
  • Hot chocolate
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Christmas Little Debbie’s Cakes
  • Crystal Light/Gatorade individual drink mixes (or any other brand)
  • Magazine
  • Jack Links
  • Cigars
  • Book

Here’s the shipping instructions:
 
Every box must be shipped by the US Postal Service.  UPS and Fed Ex cannot ship to military addresses.
 
1. Stuff stockings they fit five to six to a box.

2. Enclose a card or note with your info in each stocking so that if they can, the guys will know who to write to and thank.

3. Stop by the post office and pick up (a) LARGE flat-rate boxes (figure 5-6 stockings per box).  They should be available for free and (b) custom form #2976 (you will need ONE PER BOX)
 
4. On the side of the box in big letters write SANTA
 
5. Please address the box to the Chaplain on the outside of the box:
 
  Chaplain Eastman
  2/2 H&S COMPANY S-1
  UNIT 73065
  FPO 09502-3065
 
6. Fill the custom form out BEFORE you get to the post office:
  a) Your name and address information goes on the top
  b) Chaplain’s info goes next (do not worry about fitting it in the spaces provided – somehow our postal system made forms to be used to send to our military and did not bother to co-ordinate the boxes with what is contained in a military address – just make sure the writing is clear and that you press hard and that it is written in 4 lines just like below.
  c) Write ”Packaged Christmas stockings” for the contents of the box

7.    Post on the Facebook page how many stockings your family/friends/coworkers/complete strangers you asked sent.

If you are aware of another program that helps our military, or any other worthwhile cause, please leave information about it in the comments.

Kindle

Luke 2:1-20

  1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
  2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
  3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
  4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
  5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
  6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
  7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
  8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
  9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
  10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
  11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
  12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
  13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
  14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
  15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
  16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
  17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
  18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
  19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
  20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Kindle

The Night Before Christmas

A Visit From St. Nicholas

©2000 Denise Van Patten – http://collectdolls.about.com

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, Laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

– Clement Clarke Moore
Kindle

Luke 2:1-20

  1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
  2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
  3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
  4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
  5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
  6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
  7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
  8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
  9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
  10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
  11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
  12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
  13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
  14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
  15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
  16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
  17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
  18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
  19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
  20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Kindle

A Visit From St. Nicholas

©2000 Denise Van Patten – http://collectdolls.about.com

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook, when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, Laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

– Clement Clarke Moore
Kindle