About Me

The Forbidden Chronicles – Christmas

The year I left Christianity was the year I began to love Christmas.

Let’s face it, sitting around my grandma’s living room listening to someone read out of the Bible was the low point of Christmas Eve, especially when I was a child and wanted to run around playing with cousins that I hadn’t seen in awhile. When I was freed from the admonition to “keep Christ in Christmas,” the burden of guilt went with it. I no longer had to chastise myself for feeling empty every time I heard the nativity story.

You see, I never experienced Christianity the way everyone around me always said they did. There was no sense of love or comfort, no still small voices, and no answered prayers. Oh how hard I tried, and all I ever felt was a growing sense of hollowness.

That year, I began to enjoy Christmas for what it was, instead of feeling guilty for what I wasn’t.

Santa Claus and presents, homemade desserts galore, decorating a tree … It’s all wonderful fun, and makes for a fantastic celebration with loved ones during the darkest days of the year. It’s one of the best holidays we have, and I adore dedicating an entire month to it.

It reminds us how beautiful life can be.

Unfortunately, I never feel like I’m allowed to explain why I celebrate Christmas despite not being a Christian. I’m far too accustomed to receiving catty criticism every time I try to explain how I see the world, so I’ve learned keep the magic to myself.

But maybe if I share just a little bit, someone else will learn to see this holiday in the same way I do.

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Cross stitch ornaments

My grandma taught me was counted cross stitch when I was a kid, and I can remember her telling me that the back should look as neat as the front.

Close enough.

Every year I make Christmas ornaments. Nothing commemorative, just random things based on my whims. This year, I thought that I’d dig into my stash of embroidery floss, only to realized that I’ve been whittling away at it since … March 2020 … without adding to it at all. So yeah, I didn’t have any deep greens. Or any of the other colors that I thought I had.

Oh well, all part of the fun.

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Christmas Stockings

You ever have those moments where you type up an introductory paragraph, then decide that it sounds too formulated and generic?

Probably just me.

I’ve been wanting to make personalized Christmas stockings for my babies for *awhile*, but never got around to it. I realized that this is the last Christmas that all of my children are going to have single-digit ages, so I decided that this year is THE year.

And yes, I am aware that I’m not using Christmas-themed fabric.

Highlights include: using batting for the first time ever.

For some weird reason, most people are oblivious to the fact that not all sewing is equal. I specialize in making everyday dresses for women and girls, which has completely different criteria from, say, evening wear or lingerie. I have never done quilting before … and I’m not feeling remotely converted, lol.

Piecing the fabric together is simple enough (with squares, anyway), but OMG THAT BATTING. I purchased the “low loft” stuff, but it still seemed excessively thick, and it wanted to stick instead of letting me position it neatly.

At least I knew enough to use the walking foot that came with my sewing machine, which probably saved me a lot of grief with getting the layers sewn into place. I get the feeling that otherwise the batting would have instantly stretched out of shape, and turned the whole thing into a mess.

Next, the cuff, which is the personalized bit, so no sharing online.

About Me

Journal

Christmas is looming ever closer. We’ve started the official countdown.

Finally feeling ‘second trimester-y’, which means less gagging and more energy. And baby wiggles.

Wanted to make coffee this morning, but discovered that we forgot to clean out the french press from . . . forever ago. Yuck. Chai tea instead.

Spent the entire weekend making gingerbread houses with my husband and kids. Still haven’t cleaned up the dining table. So. Much. Candy. We had tons of fun.

Christmas sewing. The pants I made for my son are absolutely perfect and very dapper. I’m not sure why I decided to do puff sleeves on the girls’ dresses when I have such a tight deadline, because going sleeveless would have been considerably faster. Maybe because puff sleeves are just too adorable. With any luck, I’ll get them finished in time.

Child #2 came down with a fever. I’m expecting everyone (myself included) to get sick before the end of this week. Might throw a wrench in the works. Curse you, cold and flu season!

At the very least, the next eight days will be interesting.

About Me

Christmas Shopping

It’s my tradition to take the kids out for some one-on-one Christmas shopping. It’s a rare occasion when I get to focus on just one child at a time, so the trips are quite special to me.

Naturally I can’t stand the crowds or the traffic that come with the Christmas season, so I always aim to get it done in early December, during the week and before noon. You know, when the people who have jobs are working, those who don’t haven’t gotten out of the house yet, so my main companions are sweet old ladies looking for presents for their grandbabies. Yep, those are my people.

As a side note, in elementary school I used to spend summer vacation practicing embroidery while watching Matlock, so my husband likes to tease that I’ve always been a little old lady at heart. I also climbed plenty of trees and played with plenty of dolls, but that retiring aspect has always been a part of me.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter how many times you explain to a three-year-old that we’re shopping for others and not ourselves, they will inevitably shout something like, “Mom you’re stupid!” when you leave without purchasing at least one of those super mega awesome toys that they wanted for themselves. It always makes me laugh when they do. Those moments of disappointment can be so big and overwhelming when you’re still so little, and childhood is precious. I don’t take it personally — I try to help them constructively phrase their emotions instead. No biggie if it fails, because sometimes you just gotta be upset for awhile, and that’s okay too.

Hopefully, my children are learning that giving to those you love is just as important as receiving, and to do their best to get something that the other person would actually enjoy instead of being lazy about it. Maybe 60 years from now, they’ll be the sort to go out on a Tuesday morning to buy toys for their grandbabies.

But don’t go thinking that I’m some sort of sainted angel. I also make sure that my husband takes the kids out Christmas shopping for me too, because motherhood shouldn’t be all self-sacrifice and nothing else. With how much I bust my butt to make Christmas special, I earn those earrings and scented candles.