Saturday, December 19, 2009

Catching the Holiday Spirit!

My goodness...it has been a crazy week!  December is busy for everyone...for obvious reasons!  But I've given the finals...students have turned in their work...and the grading is close to being done...today is the first day of Christmas vacation...so I can finally allow myself to get caught up in the spirit of Christmas. 

Since 1973 I have begun every holiday season the same...reading a lovely book, Two from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes.  It's funny how some of our memories are so clear...that we remember every detail.  I was 16 years old and had stayed in town after school that day because we had home basketball games.  To kill time, I was wandering down town (Bagley, MN) doing a bit of Christmas shopping.  I was in Iverson's Rexall Drug Store, when I came across this book on a spinning rack.  I'm not sure why, but I decided to buy it...I recall feeling guilty about buying something for myself. 

I guess the book would be placed in the genre of historical fiction, the author took the biblical story and retold it with historical reference to the life and faith of that time.  It took her three years to write it...and six years to find a publisher with the courage to finally print it in 1972.  It became one of the ten best selling novels that year.

Of course, I knew none of that when I purchased a paperback copy.  That is where the details of this memory fade...my next memory was how I felt that Christmas after reading it.  I was often chosen to be the narrator of the Christmas Pageant in our little country church, so I knew the King James version word for word.  Yes...I can still recite it...those words are precious to me.  What this novel did was bring to life for me the miracle of Christmas.  Mary and Joseph became human beings with problems like all of us.

Fortunately the book has never gone out of print, because I have had to replace my personal copy many times.  I would lend a current copy out to a friend and often it was not returned...which is OK with me...good things should be shared! No matter the life circumstances at the time...this book never fails to revive in me the spirit of the holiday season.  I read it slowly...savoring it...allowing it to speak to my heart...
 

Three years ago, Brother DillyDally gave us the snowpeople mugs.  They have become the first thing I unpack for the holidays...every time we lift either a hot or cold beverage to our lips, they make us smile!

When the DillyDally children were very young (a long time ago) our local grocery store had gingerbread house kits.  Each child put one together...and a new family tradition began.  The next year, there were no kits available...and they were intent on making them...so we learned together how to make them the old-fashioned way...from scratch! 

While in Minnesota last month I purchased a kit the day before I left so Sister DillyDally would have one for her apartment this year.


As you can see...Peder (Mr. NaughtyPants) thinks he is in charge and had to assist!  If I recall correctly, we began this project about 10:30 pm...yes...it was a late night.  But there is a gingerbread house standing (where Peder cannot reach it) in her Minneapolis home...a DillyDally family tradition continues!

Brother DillyDally is spending some extra time in Minnesota with his sister before he comes home...we talked about it and decided he wouldn't have time to decorate a house before Christmas Day, sooo...I decided to make one without him.  Mixed emotions...knew I had to change things up...then chose to do one in honor of my father and my childhood on the farm...


...and made a gingerbread barn this past week...it turned out much larger than I had anticipated...I actually enjoyed myself.  Gingerbread building is a four day process and turns my humble kitchen into a complete mess...but now the DillyDally home smells like Christmas.

Dillydally time was very limited this week, but I managed to dillydally my way through a favorite book...found comfort in hot tea and coffee from favorite mugs...and maintained a family tradition...dillydallying enabled me to catch the holiday spirit!  Soooo...even though you are busy and perhaps stressed...my hope is that you find a little time to dillydally...Happy Holidays!
 

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