Tag Archives: Christmas

My Original Snow Village – It’s Christmas Time Again!

Growing up my mom always decorated our house in full Christmas regalia.  She showcased her ceramic brilliance and creative knack at putting together a Christmas display to rival anyone’s.

So after I got married my husband wanted to start a collection of Department 56 Christmas collectibles.  We decided on The Original Snow Village because it was full of fun and style.  Our first piece was Kris Kringle’s Toy Shop coupled with a Hot Cocoa take-away and our collection grew from there.

Now it has grown into a massive undertaking (to put up and to take down) taking  days to assemble in just the right way.  In 5 minutes my cats destroy it!

Bailey walks right through knocking down lamp posts and people impeding his path.  Peaches enjoys plopping down in the middle of a square and loves to watch the animated dancers in the Starlite Ballroom.  This year we have a kitten – that can only lead to disaster – I’ll keep you posted.

Ah… Starbucks!
A Little Residential
It’s A Wonderful Life
Kris Kringle’s
The Train Station, Fire Station….
2 Levels
The Winery & Lodge
Le Musée
The Park
The Tree
The Bungalow
At The Movies
From Above
Side View

Any bets on how long it stays intact?

Merry Christmas!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Re-posted December 2011.

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MY Original Snow Village

Growing up my mom always decorated our house in full Christmas regalia.  She showcased her ceramic brilliance and creative knack at putting together a Christmas display to rival anyone’s.

So after I got married my husband wanted to start a collection of Department 56 Christmas collectibles.  We decided on The Original Snow Village because it was full of fun and style.  Our first piece was Kris Kringle’s Toy Shop coupled with a Hot Cocoa take-away and our collection grew from there.

Now it has grown into a massive undertaking (to put up and to take down) taking  days to assemble in just the right way.  In 5 minutes my cats destroy it!

Bailey walks right through knocking down lamp posts and people impeding his path.  Peaches enjoys plopping down in the middle of a square and loves to watch the animated dancers in the Starlite Ballroom.  This year we have a kitten – that can only lead to disaster – I’ll keep you posted.

Ah... Starbucks!

A Little Residential

It's A Wonderful Life

Kris Kringle's

The Train Station, Fire Station....

2 Levels

The Winery & Lodge

 

Le Musée

 

The Park

 

The Tree

 

The Bungalow

 

At The Movies

 

From Above

 

Side View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any bets on how long it stays intact?

Merry Christmas!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Blinging Up The Christmas Tree

Decorating for Christmas is always stressful yet fun.  It only happens once a year so I don’t mind doing all that work.

My mother used to do it too.  Her trees always had a theme.  Whether it was Angels, Red & Green Bows, Pink Candy Canes, Fruit, etc.  You name it, she did it.  Not only was each tree themed but every year her tree was impeccably decorated in the most symmetrical fashion – I swear she used a ruler!

I am not that… anal… well maybe I am.  Who knows.  My husband used to put up the tree and I was in charge of my Snow Village.  As the years have passed, I am in charge of it all and somehow always end up getting sick when I should be decorating.

This year is no exception.  I’m sick.  I should be blinging out my house in full Christmas regalia – but it will surely take time since I have to sit down every 10 minutes with a spinning head.

I always put my favorite ornaments in the front of the tree.  They all mean something to me but I have a lot of favorites.

I like donning my tree with an array of memories that make me happy when I look at them.  How do you decorate your tree?  I’d love to hear about it.

Reminds me where I live... The Jersey Shore

My Mom & I made this and many others in ceramics

Reminds me of our first home

Precious Moments - given to me by my friend Alicia

Reminds me of high school

Scuba Santa: Reminds me of the days scuba diving with Kristy

Given to me by my student, Brandy, when I first started teaching

Given to me by my husband... I cried

A Granny's Attic find!

My Mother's Angels that she made for her tree

Hello Kitty - I love my cat ornaments!

We bought this in Paris - need I say more...

My first 2 "kiddie cats", John and Me

Given to me by a student - It says: "Bailey" on the front and "J'aime mon chat" on the back

Yet another cat from the kids! This is Peaches I think.

 

 

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Losing The Ones You Love – A Repeat Performance

With Christmas around the corner I always get really melancholy.  I sit and think and cry.  Then cry some more.

As a sort of mental healing, I write about my mother.  I write about her often.

I know a lot of people turn dead loved ones into saints (and that’s ok) – but with all her faults – I think my mom was pretty damn close.  So I decided to re-post my blog, first written in January 2010.  Here goes:

Hi everybody.  I was originally going to talk about addictions today but I’ll put that on the back-burner for another day.
My friend Vicky who just joined Facebook, after months and months of urging, posted a comment that made me think of my mom. A memory, a good memory, that I suppress along with a host of others.

She wrote, “Were your ears ringing Christmas Eve night?  We were in church – Silent Night was playing and I was remembering how you, your mom , Jules & I would go to midnight mass – I shed some tears.”

Well that did it.  The tears welled up and I started to cry.  Thanks Vick.  Then I started to think about how shitty the world is without the people I love.  I have lost a lot of people to death.  It’s not at all comforting but we all have to deal with it eventually.  It made me think of my mom’s death and how I can’t watch movies or TV shows where someone s dying, is in the hospital, has cancer, etc.  I think they call that TRANSFER.

In case you didn’t know my mother, her name was Phyllis.  Phyllis was a pip.  Funny, strong and definitely outside the box.  She was a straight shooter – so if you didn’t want to hear the truth – you shouldn’t have asked her for her opinion.   Everybody loved mom.  Even when she tried to run them over with her car – but that’s another story.

My mom Phyllis died of sepsis at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair in 2005 after fighting cancer for 24 years.  Twenty four years!  That’s amazing to me.  When I think about it, I don’t know if I could be that strong.  Radiation, chemo, chemo, radiation and finally chemo – once per week for the rest of her life.  She went into remission twice but it always came back.

She tried to refuse treatment, but the doctor fought with her to keep her alive.  I never really realized HOW SICK she actually was.  Maybe I was in denial.  Her personality was so effervescent, it never clicked.  When I look at photos of her right before she died, I can see how debilitated she became.

I remember the last time that she went to see Dr. Lee and she told her how far the cancer had progressed.  She hoped that she would go into remission again, but that didn’t happen.  It seems like yesterday.

I was waiting for my mom and dad to come home.  My Aunt Mimi was upstairs and I was in the basement cleaning poop off the dog’s butt.  I heard the door open and my aunt say, “How did you make out?”  The next thing I heard broke my heart in half.  My mother was absolutely hysterically crying and sobbing as if she couldn’t believe that she still had, at full force I might add, this cancer that was NOT going to go away.

I didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to run upstairs and hug her with all my might but I too had started sobbing and I wanted to stay strong for her.  So I finished up with the dog, choked back my tears and slowly went upstairs.  There were no words.  I couldn’t say anything to her that would help, so I just hugged her and hugged her and hugged her.

She died in a semi-conscious state while my dad, my cousin Elaine, my husband John and I were all with her.  She opened her eyes to look at every one of us – I was the last one.  I held her hands and said, “Mommy, I love you.  I don’t want you to go, but if you have to, it’s ok.”   My mom closed her eyes and the doctor came rushing in.  We asked him why he rushed in and he told us that her heartbeat just slowed significantly.  I told him that I told her that it was alright to go and he told me that it was the best thing I could have ever done.

I still question that decision.  Fighting with my selfishness and my selflessness.  I don’t care how old you are, you always need your mother.  Losing people you love is difficult.  You miss them so much but hang on to the memories.  I suppress.  It doesn’t get any easier but it gets easier to deal with or to hide.

Shortly after she died my husband said to me, “Jacq, some day you’ll talk about her and laugh.”  That may be true, but how freakin’ long does that take?  Does anybody believe that?  Is it true?  I still cry everyday.  The holidays are the worst.  Thank God I still have my dad and he’s healthy and doing well.

If you knew my mom and have a good memory of her, please post it.  If you didn’t know my mom and you have a memory of someone who you loved and lost, please post that too.  As much as I don’t like to depend of people, everyone needs someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on and someone to help you through the worst times and the best times of your life.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

As Christmas Approaches… My Emotions Are Off The Chart

After blogging about Christmas music yesterday, I decided to load up my ¡POD with some new holiday tunes and listen to them on the way to work.

As usual, I left my house in an utter tizzy, trying to feed 4 cats, get my lunch together and set the alarm.  I hopped in my car and plugged in my ¡POD – but first I had to wait for the traffic report.

As a Garden State Parkway commuter, I have to listen to the traffic BEFORE I leave in the morning because there is always some accident, rubber-necker or left lane dick who gets in my way.

I turned onto the main drag and saw something lying in the road.

Oh no!  A kitty!  OMG!  Someone just left him in the street to get squished.  Why do people let their cats out?

My eyes filled up with tears and I started bawling over this poor unknown (to me) kitty’s life and how his or her family would feel when they saw the lifeless, innocent corpse laying in the middle of the road right before Christmas.

What a shame!  Maybe I should get out and put it on the side of the road?  Who just left him there?

This is ridiculous.  I need to get my mind off the cat.  Ok.  I already heard the traffic so I’ll listen to my Christmas Playlist.  That should work.

That did not work!

I can only imagine what the people on the Parkway were saying about the hysterical woman in the faux chinchilla in the black BMW soaring up the GSP like a fighter jet involved in serious combat over a hostile territory.

They thought – no – knew I was losing it… and I was.

Dammit!  My eyeliner!

I tried to stop crying so my eye makeup would not be a total mess but it didn’t work.  I composed myself somewhat only to drift back in to a sob or two and one too many tears over the dead cat, my dead mom, my dead family, my cat that I’m going to give away so she can have a good home where she will be the queen of the castle and not just one of the many royalty milling around at Versailles, my marriage, my bills, my weight gain and then back to the dead cat and my dead mother.

And that was all before I got to work!

Ten seconds into Amy Winehouse singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus“, I started to sob uncontrollably and think about when I was little and how my mom and dad created so many great Christmas memories for me.

I remember waking up early on Christmas morning and creeping down the stairs.  Once I peeked into the living room and saw all the presents under the tree, I ran back upstairs, jumped in bed with my parents so excited that Santa came during the night.  I couldn’t contain my joy.

I ran downstairs with Mommy and Daddy checking to see if Santa ate the cookies that I left and drank the glass of milk alongside.  All that was left were crumbs and an empty milk-stained glass.

Santa!  Thank you for coming!

I  flew under the tree and started examining the gift tags.

  • To:  Jackie  From:  Mommy & Daddy.
  • To:  Jackie  From:  Santa
  • To:  Daddy  From:  Santa
  • To:  Daddy  From:  Mommy
  • To:  Mommy  From:  Jackie

and the list goes on.

I was always happy about Santa’s choices.  I loved my Barbies – anything Barbie!  I loved it all!  The only thing I never got that I wanted was a motorized, battery-powered car from Sears.  Oh well….

I used to mark-off everything that I wanted in the Sears Catalog so that my parents could tell Santa what I really fancied each Christmas.

Mommy has been gone for almost 6 years and it still seems like yesterday yet so far away.  And every year I get melancholy over my family who cannot be here with us on this Earth – but I do hope and pray that they are watching over us from Heaven.  Guiding us.  Protecting us.  Yet somehow celebrating Christmas in Heaven so they can be around family too.

Pretty soon there will be more of us up there than there are down here – if there isn’t already.

I usually start my holiday depression in November but somehow it seemed to be better this year.  What was really happening is my head and my heart were storing it all up so I could have a proper emotional breakdown today.

The funny thing is that I never stopped listening to the Christmas music!

My battle has just started.  I love the holiday season but often pine away for yesteryear and long to see my loved ones again.

I hope you can survive the same because I know my mom would not want me to be upset but would want me to celebrate the life that I have and the life that’s ahead of me.  I hope you can do the same.

Merry Christmas!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Not an original title but true in any case…

Today I saw my first snow flurry of the season.  New Jersey was cold today!  It seems like there is no easing into the colder temperatures nowadays – the transition isn’t really a transition at all.  One day can be 60 degrees and the next below 30!  My body can’t take it.

It was also the first day I longed for Christmas music with a glass of red and a mountain of Christmas boxes in my living room.

I’m not a Thanksgiving weekend Christmas decorator.  I need a buffer.  A natural cushion between the holiday seasons.  I hate shopping for Thanksgiving paraphernalia when I see a store replete with Christmas trees and Santas and angels, etc, etc, etc.

It drives me crazy!

So when I finally start getting into the Christmas groove, I need to hear my favorite Christmas music.

I love the old favorites like Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and of course, The Chipmunks – but a bunch of other songs – hits and not – have made it into my music library.  Just a little taste…

I haven’t purchased any recent albums but I’ll be perusing ¡Tunes shortly.

What’s in your Christmas Music library?

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.