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Posts Tagged ‘Santa’

God, I hope not!  It is still really dark outside and I hear the pitter patter of little feet approaching my room.  You know even without opening your eyes that there is someone in your presence;  Sure enough, Francesca is looking at me!  I say, “What are you doing up? Is the owl green?” She just looks at me…There is an owl light in the girl’s bedroom and all night the light is yellow but it’s set for 7am and the rule is you don’t get up until the owl is green!  (of course you can get up but you have to stay in your room till 7am) So I suggest that it’s quite possible that since it’s still dark,  Santa might be still putting presents downstairs under the tree.  Still no response just an adorable smile which is hard to see because it IS still dark.  I look at my phone and it’s 6:30. “Frankie, c’mon I’ll take you back to your room and then in a little while we can go downstairs”

I figured we had maybe another 15 minutes to rest before Christmas mayhem began.  I had been hoping to give the girls some of their presents on Christmas Eve so they wouldn’t be lost in the mound of treasures  left by Santa, but that didn’t work out.  Finley can read and we thought it would nice if she distributed gifts.  That lasted about 2 minutes and then the mad cap ripping began with me periodically shouting, “Check the name on the box first”.  That was followed with “How come she gets two books?  How come she has gel pens and I don’t ?”

Ruthie Wearing Her New Silk Pajamas

Ruthie Wearing Her New Silk Pajamas

Eventually all the Hello Kitty paraphernalia  was uncovered, the American Girl dolls now had a bed of their own along with new clothes.  Best of all Frankie and Rebecca had matching pj’s and Finley and Ruthie had matching dresses with leggings.  There were books, and more princess dresses  (Really! How many Disney princesses are there?) bean bag chairs with each girl’s name and a teepee.  Well if your tent is shaped like a teepee but it is made from pale pink striped cotton duck, is it still a teepee?  I gave Frankie a book which I thought she would enjoy and she took one look at it and said, ” I don’t like this book”.  I asked her why and her answer was, “I only like Princess books”. Francesca always speaks her mind;  Earlier, the girls emptied their stockings and discovered candy cane holders filled with M&M’s.  For days, there has been MUCH discussion about healthy eating, what’s nutritious, should we cook everything in coconut oil and on and on  So Frankie wants to open her candy and eat some before we open presents.  Justin is horrified and tells her “No, no we have to breakfast first” .  Frankie states the facts as she sees them, “I LOVE CANDY”.

At about this time, in rolled the rest of the gang.  Of course our whole entourage could not fit in one house so Chiara and Tom rented a house nearby for the overflow of guests.  We’re leaving tomorrow, some are leaving on Saturday, some are staying longer and the guest room sheets have been changed every couple of days.  First to arrive for the opening of the gifts were Dennis, Brad and Tom Sr. and Lisa.  Linda and Ed were expected shortly;  They were flying in from Long Island.  

More gifts…oh no roller blades.  And who thinks that the girls should put them on right now and try them out?  Well I’ll tell you it wasn’t any of the mothers.  It was the two bachelors and Tom!  Sometimes it’s hard to tell who the kids are and who the adults are.  We got everybody back into the house and just as I thought we might have breakfast, there was open more present to be had – the girls were ushered to the garage where they came upon not a midnight clear but rather a battery-operated  car! It seats 2 and with Finley at the wheel, the girls were tooling around the yard.  Everybody thought they were so cute until Finley stepped on the speed pedal and veered toward the pool! At least 3 of the grandparents screamed.  “BREAKFAST IS SERVED”

Egg casseroles, bagels, croissants, fruit salad, and muffins and by God we are in Florida because half the people are eating outside.  The mimosas are flowing and the adults are happy.  The kids are eating whatever they want  and sitting outside in the sunshine it surely doesn’t seem like Christmas.  We are going to take it easy for awhile before we have to be at Laura’s house for Christmas dinner.

Stay tuned for Part II.

 

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Christmas postcard, 1911

Christmas postcard, 1911

T’was the day before Christmas and all through the morning

No one was talking but I could hear all the groaning.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, not a good day to be mad,

‘Cause Santa knows who’s good and who’s bad!

No breakfast to eat, no paper to read,

Please go get me the Starbucks, I so desperately need.

Oh my how the years have come and gone by

No turkey to roast, no baking of pies.

The tree is much smaller and actually pink

Because we’re in the cottage, what did you think?

One or two gifts litter the floor

Hardly like Christmases years before.

It’s quiet around here, no sirens or noise

And of course no grandkids and noisy toys.

The cats hung their stockings in hopes that St. Nick

Will show up tonight and bring them  cat nip.

A different Christmas eve’s about to begin

Left-over pastas and martinis with gin.

Not trusting the programmers of commercial TV

We stocked  the house with Christmas DVDs.

First on the list is The Bishop’s Wife and 

Soon to follow, It’s A Wonderful Life.

Only the classics for us old folks you know

We like what like from years ago.

Last year was a gala ugly-sweater event

Tonight  a few friends but there’s no lament.

Although there’s no sitting by the fiery log

Or getting tipsy on killer egg nog,

None-the-less, we’ll enjoy the leftover food

And glasses of wine put all in a good mood.

As we clink our glasses filled with good cheer,

We wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I’ll put out the cookies and milk with a wish

That tomorrow morning I’ll find an empty dish.

Then I’ll know that dear Santa Clause stopped by to see

How clean the house was and how pink the tree!

I sent him my letter early on in the season

I wanted him to know I had a good reason.

It would take him some time and certainly some doing

Some planning, some cutting and lots of gluing.

I hope, I hope,  he thinks I’m not  too absurd

For wanting a “55 pink Thunderbird!

Oh YES!!!

Oh YES!!!

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Don’t get so busy shopping for food, baking, decorating and gift shopping that you don’t leave time to do something for yourself.  Christmas is RED, no doubt about that – from Santa’s suit to the Cartier red-bow-wrapped store.  Everyone can wear red, it just depends on the shade.  Why people don’t believe that is a mystery to me!  Red lipstick and red nails are HOT!  RED is the color you want to wearing this season on your nails.

Essie makes several shades of red and I’m sure one of them would look great on you.  Take the time to get a mani-pedi before you give over all your time and energy to making Christmas fabulous for others. You deserve it.

Here’s the 9 Days Till Christmas 9 nail colors:

  1. REALLY RED  – An award-winning truly rich red
  2. SNAP HAPPY – A red-orange, a warm red
  3. LAQUERED  UP – Red hot crimson
  4. RED NOUVEAU – The new must-have color is a fiery crimson 
RED NOUVEAU

RED NOUVEAU

5.  DRAMATIC DRACHMA –  An orangey red

6.  BIG BAG THEORY –  Brick red

7. LONG STEM ROSES – The name speaks for itself

8. JAG-U-ARE –  A gorgeous gleaming red

9.  SIZE MATTERS  – A blazing hot ruby red

10. LOLLIPOP –  Candy cane red

As usual as I always say….”Red Is Where You Find It”

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Ho,ho, ho, Christmas is almost here! And what will be under the tree for me? AND what will be in my Christmas stocking?  As a kid growing up in the 50’s my Dad always made sure Santa filled our stockings with goodies.  It was most definitely a simpler time then and what went into the stockings usually wasn’t very pricey but oh it was fun to sit in front of the tree and empty out the contents, wasn’t it?  Only Santa knows what kids today expect in their stockings.  This is the kind of stocking I had growing up and I found two in an antique shop years ago so I still hang a stocking up every year!

"...and their stockings were hung by the fireplace with care..."

“…and their stockings were hung by the fireplace with care…”

There are several legends and versions of the origin of the tradition of hanging stockings the night before Christmas for Santa Claus to fill;  I grew up with the one about the young boys and girls in the Netherlands leaving their wooden clogs filled with straw for the reindeer out on Christmas Eve.  Then Sinterclass would leave treats for the children.  Later the clogs would become stockings and the saint would become known to all as Santa Claus.

Then there’s the legend of the nobleman with three daughters who lost all of his money through bad inventions and was forced to move into a peasant’s cottage.  The girls did all of the washing and cooking and had no chance of marriage because they had no dowries.  The girls washed out their stockings and hung them by the fireplace to dry and that night, knowing of the father’s despair stopped by the house after all had gone to bed.  He saw the stockings and was inspired to toss three pouches of gold coins carefully down the chimney, each one landing in one of the stockings.

Lastly there’s the North American theory dating back to the XIX Century;  Some believe that stockings hung by the fireplace was first mentioned by writer, George Webster in a story about a visit from Santa Claus and in an illustration by Thomas Nast

What did you find in your Christmas stocking?  I found all kinds of goodies like:

  1. A tangerine or orange was always in the toe
  2. Yo-yo
  3. A card game like Old Maid or Go Fish
  4. Jacks and Ball set
  5. Candy canes
  6. Hershey’s chocolate kisses
  7. Crayons or markers
  8. Chocolate coins
  9. Cellophane packet of cat’s eyes marbles
  10. Licorice

I wonder what Finley Ray expects to find in her stocking this year?

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As the holiday season in New York City revs up to full speed, the most popular post in my blog has been Top Ten Things To Do In New  York City During Christmastime– see previous post: Top Ten Things To Do in New York City during Christmastime.  I’ve been looking around and researching what’s happening around town to see if I have missed anything and don’t you know I did discover something!

Turns out that the Citicorp building in midtown is no longer the home to a fantastic adult and child-pleasing train display.  Very disappointing because this Sunday I planned to take Finley to see this wonderful exhibit.  I’m not sure if and where it has moved.

Here’s my 2012 list of suggestions on ways to celebrate the season in New York City.

New York City’s own LITE-BRITE Tree

  1. THE TREE – STILL the number one tourist attraction this time of year and an event televised nationally – The lighting of the Christmas tree in ROCKEFELLER CENTER  a spectacle to behold and free.  Each year I marvel at this monstrous beauty and each year it looks better than the year before.  Walk around the Center, see the ice skaters, better yet, why not rent a pair and join in the fun! 
  2. GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL:  Millions of people have passed through this temple of transportation, so many trips begin and end here!  Walk though this architectural landmark;  View the heavenly ceiling with its golden astrological symbols.  Visit the Transit Museum and Gift Shop (even if you are “only looking”).  There’s always several vintage train sets on display. The Christmas Fair booths in Vanderbilt Hall are great for unusual and unique gifts and there are many retail outlets throughout the Terminal.  If you arrive after 3pm and are sans kids, you might want to have a late afternoon or evening cocktail at The Campbell Apartment.  It has been restored to its original splendor when it was the private office and salon of the 1920’s tycoon John W. Campbell.
  3. THE NUTCRACKER BALLET – You can catch a performance of THE NUTCRACKER at BAM- BROOKLYN ART MUSEUM performed by The American Ballet Company  Very easy to get there by subway or bus.  This year’s show is dazzling and entertaining.  Suitable for children ages 4 yrs and up. It’s a holiday classic.
  4. RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SHOW – But nothing is more classic than going to RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL and seeing the ROCKETTES perform in the annual RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SHOW.  I have been going since I was little;  My grandmother used to take me and as a young girl, I was overwhelmed by the size of the Music Hall and the sweeping grand staircase.  The show is magical, the Rockettes are truly spectacular.  My favorite routine is the Wooden Soldiers. And you can never get tired of watching in awe how those legs just keep high-kicking!  Children love the show, there are two recent pieces done in 3-D and Santa is the host throughout the show.  

    And down they go one by one

    And down they go one by one

  5. WALKING THE WINDOWS –Walking in Midtown Manhattan during this holiday season is one of the best ways to enjoy Christmastime in New York.  On your way to Rockefeller Center, you should plan a walking route that will take you past some of New York’s premier department stores and their breath-taking window displays. The stores to see (and they are all within walking distance of one another) are: Bloomingdale’s* at 59th St/Lexington Ave., SAKS Fifth Avenue at 49th St., Bergdorf Goodman’s on Fifth Ave/58th St., Barney’s on Madison Ave/61st St.  * Bloomingdale’s is a great place for your kids to visit Santa.  ** Not within walking distance  BUT certainly a New York holiday experience is a trip to Macy’s,  the renowned Christmas store in Miracle on 34th Street.
  6. The UNICEF SNOWFLAKE –Strolling along Fifth Avenue in the evening is a treat in itself.  This is the time when the City lights up!  Look up and follow the Star on Fifth Avenue.  Since 1984, the Snowflake has been a holiday tradition. The snowflake was dedicated to Unicef  by the Sotheby family in 2002.  The original snowflake now hangs high above the Beverly Wilshire on Rodeo Drive.  In 2005, a new Snowflake was created by Ingo Maurer of Germany in collaboration with the Baccarat Crystal company.  The Snowflake has 12 double-sided branches, contains 16,000 crystals, is 23 feet wide and over 28 feet high.  Quite amazing!!  And then there’s CARTIER all wrapped up in a big red bow!

    The Unicef Snowflake

    The Unicef Snowflake

  7. SERENDIPTY 3 – FROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE! Seriously now, can you imagine just how delicious that is?? No, you can’t.  So you should give yourself a break from site-seeing and go to Serendipity 3 located at 225 East 60th St.  Frozen Hot   Chocolate is a treat not to be missed.
  8. THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART No trip to New York City regardless of the season is complete without a visit to THE MET.  One of the season’s glories is the BAROQUE CHRISTMAS TREE adorned with hand-crafted  Neapolitan  angels and surrounded with the BEST Nativity scene ever.  Hundreds of figures populate various scenes related to the story of The Nativity.  It is truly beautiful!  Note: The entry fee is “what you wish to pay” (really)!
  9. CHRISTMAS MARKETS – There are Christmas markets throughout the City, not as spectacular as those in Germany but they are here.  Check out Union Square, Columbus Circle and Bryant Park for a wide selection of craft items, art, outerwear and gifts of all sizes for all ages.
  10. NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDENS – If you think there’s nothing Christmasy to see at The Botanical Gardens, you’re way wrong!  There is a spectacular Holiday Train exhibit there.  You will marvel at the model trains and landmark replicas.  This exhibit is worth the trip to the Bronx and you can get there by subway and bus.  
    The Holiday Train Exhibit Botanical Gardens

    The Holiday Train Exhibit
    Botanical Gardens

    11. BONUS: GINGERBREAD ADVENTURES – Children explore the spices that make up a classic gingerbread recipe. Kids can step inside a child-sized gingerbread playhouse and also decorate a gingersnap cookie with frosting and candies. All ages will enjoy viewing a display of gingerbread houses made by New York City-area bakers.

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Alright maybe giving candles is NOT so clever BUT think of it this way;  it certainly is a wonderful hostess gift, a Secret Santa gift, an office gift exchange, a sister-in-law, really anyone who entertains will love this idea.

Purchase a bunch of candles (tapers)the number is up to you.  However, I think 4 would be the minimum in either holiday colors or shades that would complement your giftee’s home.  On the other hand, everyone can use a few beautiful white tapers.  Wrap the candles in a linen napkin.  Again the color contrast or combination is up to you.  Tie with a ribbon and you have gift within a gift.

Now I know you are thinking, who wants just one linen napkin?  The answer is the hostess who wants to line her bread or cracker basket with a linen napkin but doesn’t have an extra or odd one.

green tapers, linen napkin gift wrap,
All Tied Up For Christmas

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