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I actually have friends who start decorating for Christmas months ahead of the big day. They have so much to put up. Filling their house inside and out it takes extra hours of work to get it all done.

We don’t get even close to their display of lights and sparkle. We have one fiber optic tree and one real tree that grows in a pot year round—the live tree gets a tiny string of lights and helps make the house green and alive.

Outside Bob and I have laser lights pointed at the front of our house and a couple strings on our second floor deck—we can put up our little display without the use of a ladder. Bob always hated having to climb a ladder to put up lights on the front porch, so I gave in and we do lights, but only minimally.

The biggest holiday display in our home goes up a little at a time. Starting the beginning of December, as our mail is delivered, the display grows piece by piece. Of course, I’m referring to the hanging Christmas cards sent to us from family and friends.

Getting cards from family is expected, especially when we live far from each other. But getting cards from column readers is a privilege Bob and I especially appreciate. Opening mail from people who only know us through my column is downright fun. Along with the cards, column readers send us family photos, newsletters, and personal notes—most also send a stamp to help defray our mailing costs—thank you.

We hear about other family plans for the holidays. Who’s traveling and who’s getting company. All these correspondences take time to write, and we truly appreciate the effort everyone puts into their Christmas greetings. Some handwriting is a bit shaky due to age and/or arthritis. Those are especially appreciated because there’s a bit of pain that goes into their effort.

This year some lovely women sent me pie crust recipes and a no-crust apple pie recipe. I hate to say that I haven’t tried these yet, but I will. I’m still up to my elbows in bread flour, making all sorts of loaves to share—a few are wrapped and frozen until I’m able to visit friends and now that the weather has turned especially cold, those gifts of bread may take a bit more time to reach their destinations. Still, the sentiment and the taste should be appreciated, even if a week late.

As the New Year arrives, we will first unplug the outside lights—don’t expect any big celebration for the beginning of 2018. We’ll probably sleep away its arrival in our warm bed and be happy we don’t have to go out in the cold—staying up to twelve is just too much for us old fogies. It’s just another day after all.

I may start taking ornaments off our tree while watching the Rose Parade—but I may leave the lighted tree up a little while longer. It brightens the long nights.

Lastly, the cards will come down, not like falling autumn leaves, but gently brought down from around our window, one by one. Gifts from family and friends will be treated with appreciation.

We thank all who sent cards and greeting to Sunnybook Farm. Know that each one is cherished by both of us. Notes will be saved. Cards will be boxed and eventually cut and glued into handmade cards for other greetings. Please know that all were cherished by both of us.

P.S. If you missed the deadline of Christmas, you can still send a card to us. We have a few photo cards left that we’d be happy to share—late greetings help make a long, cold January bearable.

Happy New Year!

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