Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas, Grandchildren!

Dear Nana, Do they have Christmas in Ukraine? Love, Josh, Alli, Kyle, Julia, Tony and Philip

Dear grandchildren,

Yes, they do have Christmas in Ukraine. "Joy to the World..."
It's celebrated on January 7, though, not on December 25. That means I will get to celebrate Christmas two times. "Let heaven and nature sing!"

Christmas means the same thing here as there: Celebrating the birth of Jesus and giving gifts of love to one another, like the Magi brought to the lowly manger ("Away in a Manger") where Jesus was born. "We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we travel afar..."

Sometimes we go overboard on the gift-giving, but then it IS a time of celebration and sharing, of joy and giving. That's why we decorate trees and our homes, and put up bright lights. It was a Holy Night and the stars were brightly shining.

Your moms make your homes festive and beautiful at this time of year, like my mom did for me, Andy and Loren. I did the same for your moms. Now your moms do the same for you. Julia will do the same for Philip.

I love Michelle's tree, her Santa collection, her wreaths and glowing fireplace, not to mention her great pies and cookies. I love Elissa's homemade and second-hand tree decorations and unique arrrangements of candles, bulbs, and things she collects and never throws away, intertwined with strings of lights.

Family traditions. How special they are at this time of year!

"Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches..."

The smell of pine, the light of candles, the angels' voices. We are celebrating Jesus' birthday, and our love for each other.

I have also learned, I am happy to say, that there is a Santa Claus here. In fact, I have written him to remember you, especially Philip and Kyle, and Alli, Josh,Tony,and Julia, too, and I have it on good authority that he will be making a trip to Toledo, Ohio, on Christmas eve.

Santa will also be stopping in Tallahassee, Florida, for Ava and Leo, my sister's grandchildren.
Be on the lookout. And put out some milk and cookies by the fireplace.

"Twas the night before Christmas, and 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...When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer..."

Okay, so we now know there are nine reindeer, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He comes in handy on a dark, cloudy night. Thank goodness for unusual reindeer!

The main thing is that the spirit of Santa lives on no matter where we are, or how old we are. It's a time when family traditions sustain us. It's a special time: "Silent Night, Holy Night..."

I wish you all a Merry Christmas. For me it also means counting down the months and days to my Toledo visit in March: less than 3 months! Seeing you will be the BEST gift of all. Love you with all my heart, Nana

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

We wish you a Merry Chiristmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

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