These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

...baking, decorating, creating, giving (& wrapping) presents, blessing someone in need, listening to carols, watching Christmas movies, my special time with my close friends, and having my family home. But all of these things would be meaningless if I didn't reflect on the person around whom the season revolves, Jesus Christ, God's gift to us. I try hard to keep Him the center of my thoughts and daily life. So I read! I read the Christmas story. I read advent stuff. I read books like Joe Wheeler's "Christmas in my Heart." I listen to Christmas music while at home by myself (a favorite this year, Chris Tomlin "Glory in the Highest"). And what was so very, very cool this year...Gary and I were able to attend PC3's Christmas Eve Service. It was incredible!
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Blessings, Doris


Caroling Parties

Another memory from Jill...
When I think of Christmas I think of those awesome Caroling Parties. They were so fun. These didn't start until we were in high school and we try to continue these as best we can; there's nothing like the old Calabash neighborhood. They so loved to see us and listen to our carols (that's because we had those awesome singing Walters! ;) and others of course, like Becky Stover.)
Lots of fun memories from these parties...
Like the year I leaned back on the bar and caught my hair on fire! Yes that's right I went up in flames, but everyone quickly got it out, nothing bad just a few singed hairs! We enjoyed learning a couple of country line dances one year. And simply all of the faces of appreciation from our neighbors (most were elderly) who enjoyed our company so much! And of course the gobs and gobs of cookies and yummy Snyder food!


Jill Writes...

When I think of Christmas I think of...
Baking, baking, baking. I remember helping Mom bake cookies at Christmas time. We still do today. We bake so may different kinds of cookies. And then we make trays to give to customers of The Shipping Station (used to be all of the beach realty companies too when Dad still had Snyder's Lawn Care). I hope we continue this tradition, even though I don't own a business that requires that I make trays and trays of yummy goodies for my customers! I love to look through Mom's cook books. Although I now like to collect my own too! ;)


Gingerbread Men

When Becky and Richard were preschoolers -many years ago- I used to read them the story of "The Gingerbread Man." I remember reading it over and over and over. After Jon was born I remembered the gingerbread story when I saw these cute cookies at Apple Annie's in Wilmington. So I bought one for Jon and sent it with his Christmas present. The first set of pictures was taken that year. The next year I sent another gingerbread man from Apple Annie's and you can see from the pictures that Jon was very excited when he recognized the box.

Every year I send Jon, Caleb, Butch and Becky each a gingerbread man. A couple of years ago I started making my own gingerbread men. I don't know if they are as good as Apple Annie's, but I do enjoy making them for the Rahes and for my family. Of course now, I keep the storybook on hand to read to Bree...especially at Christmastime when the gingerbread men make their annual appearance. Somewhere I have pictures of Bree with her gingerbread men. Hopefully I will post them soon.


Cookies and Peanut Brittle

Whew! I am finally sitting down. I just finished stuffing over 90 little bags with peanut brittle..and I should add...after making 3 batches of cookies. Yes, it's that time of the season when Gary and I are busy making lots of goodies for his customers. I have no idea when this tradition started, but we've been doing this for many, many years. In 1993 I started keeping a journal of some of our special dinners, celebrations, parties, etc. Most of the entries tell my menu and the guests. Occasionally I actually made comments about food that didn't turn out or something that became a new favorite. It has definitely helped to have a Christmas cookie list from years past. So what did I make in 1993 that I am still making? Cranberry cheesecake bars, mexican wedding cookies, buckeyes, chocolate dipped social tea & vienna finger cookies. What did I make then that I haven't made in a while? Chocolate walnut minis (a small tart), Barb Weaver's sugar cookie recipe, and raspberry coffee cake. The first 2 take a lot of work and I can't get the raspberry filling to make the coffee cake (but I still look for it every year.)
Oh, the cookie trays will be done tomorrow! Yeah!


Julie remembers...

"I remember before Jill got married we would sleep in the same bed the night before Christmas. I think it was so that Jill could wake me up. I knew the presents would be there when we woke up, but I guess Jill thought we better get to them before they disappeared. I remember being kinda sad when Jill got married and we couldn't keep that tradition up. But. at least I'm married too." Julie Snyder Mixon

Thanks for sharing


Christmas Stockings

"When I think of Christmas I think of...stockings.
Stockings are my favorite. I love all the different stuff that would be in there! And we had really long stockings when we were growing up. So the gifts just kept coming and coming. I love to load Bree, Ty and Chris' stockings with unique candy that they will love and cool gifts too." Jill
I think what Jill really, really likes in the stockings is chocolate...especially if that chocolate has peanut butter with it! I don't think Julie complained about the chocolate either. And I will admit I always made sure there was chocolate for me and Gary! Wow...all this talk about chocolate...just gotta have some!


Christmas when you're 1

More pictures of Christmas at the Naves home. Just think, there were only 3 grandkids at this time. Can you imagine what it looked like a few more years down the road when the grandkids kept coming and coming! Stacy had just turned 1 in November, Jill's birthday was just a few days away. I'm not sure they were all that impressed with the whole thing.
Becky, Richard, Corey, Stacy and Jill. I wonder if this picture was taken before the presents were opened. Either that or mom had already cleaned everything up...or maybe this is another room???
This is Julie on her first Christmas. She looks like she hadn't been awake long and was probably wondering what the big deal was all about.
I know it seems like presents are a big focus of our Christmases, but these are the glimpses we have because of pictures taken. We don't have pictures of singing carols or reading the Christmas story, or advent devotions. So enjoy these old pictures and I'll share stories about the other traditions and celebrations later.


Holden Beach Christmas

In August of 1984 we left family and friends behind and moved to Holden Beach, North Carolina. We rented a house on a canal on the island and somewhat enjoyed beach life for a while. The girls were so glad to have their Aunt Becky join us. It really helped adjusting to life away from cousins, grandparents, etc. Twenty-five years ago the beach became practically deserted after Labor Day. So we had a very quiet (silent) holiday. One thing I remember was walking on the beach on Christmas...barefoot. It wasn't really warm enough to be walking around barefoot...we just wanted to be able to say we were on the beach with sand between our toes.
I asked Gary what he remembered about our first Christmas here and he said, "We got the girls bicycles, it was 70 degrees and the girls were able to ride their bikes. So perhaps it was warm enough to go barefoot.
On the back of the Becky's picture I wrote, "Becky's First Christmas Away From Home." I'm sure she missed Mom & Dad and Richard, but we were all very glad she was a part of our home for our first Christmas here. (At least it looks like she enjoyed her gifts.) Don't the girls look so cute in their Strawberry Shortcake nightgowns!


From John

I can always remember dad running out at the last minute to buy something from mom. We always opened gifts on Christmas eve, and one year I got a lionel train set. We set it up on the kitchen table, and dad had it going wide open. It flew off the table and broke. Then I was sad, but dad went out and got a new engine for it!!!
God speed...John

Thanks for sharing that memory with me. I had forgotten all about dad's last minute shopping trips. And opening gifts on Christmas eve must have started after I was older ...maybe after I left for Nashville? I guess you guys got a jump start before the crowd came in on Christmas Day. In one of the pictures from Friday's post there is a huge dog. This was John's dog, a great dane (?) named Goliath. Man, that dog was like a small horse! Merry Christmas, John!


North Myrtle Beach Traditions

When the girls were young, we bought a timeshare at Peppertree by the Sea in NMB. Our week is the one following Thanksgiving, so I guess you could say that it became one of our Christmas traditions. But like many traditions it too has changed over the years. When we first started going, the girls were homeschooled so part of the day was spent studying, part going to gymnastics and the rest enjoying the beach and the indoor pool. The last couple of years Jill and Bree have been able to come a couple of days. Jill would bring her computer and work from there, Bree and I would just hang out and enjoy the beach on warmer days. I'm not sure but I think one year Julie took some pictures on the beach that are now on her website. They're in the art section - alternative processes. - (I think #s 12-14 in the slide show - Is that right Julie?)
Anyway, over the years it's provided an opportunity to get some shopping done, Christmas cards done, catch a movie or a show, make truffles and buckeyes, and just enjoy family time at the beach. I love to watch the sunrise over the ocean and love to hear the waves crashing. It provides a glorious backdrop for morning devotions. Both Gary and I cherish these peaceful moments. I think that's the best part of the week.
"With the loving mercy of our God, a new day from heaven will dawn upon us. It will shine on those who live in darkness, in the shadow of death. It will guide us into the path of peace." Luke 1: 78-79
"Thanks be to God for his gift that is too wonderful for words." 2 Corinthians 9:15


Christmas at Grandma Naves

Christmas at Grandma Naves has changed over the years. John and I don't live near, so our families aren't able to participate in that wild event. I say wild because that's what happens when that many kids gather in one place. But our hearts are there even when we aren't. I'm trying to think about Jill's age in these pictures and I believe in the first one she is 3, in the second one she's 5 and in the third one she's 4. Am I right? Anyway, from the pictures you see that Christmas at Grandma's was fun for the kids!

"Santa Claus" author unknown

He comes in the night! He comes in the night!
He softly, silently comes,
While the little brown heads on the pillows so white
Are dreaming of bugles and drums.
Who tells him I know not, but he findeth the home
Of each good little boy and girl.

He rides to the West, and he rides to the East;
Of his goodies, he touches not one;
he eats the crumbs of the Christmas feast
When the dear little folds are done.
Old Santa Claus does all that he can;
This beautiful mission is his;
Then children, be good to the little old man,
When you find who the little man is.


Becky's Thoughts

Becky shares these thoughts of Christmas.
This year as the holidays approach, I find myself singing old Christmas songs from grade school, songs from church and reminiscing of Christmas Caroling. I remember the innocence and excitement of waiting for the Christmas decorations and my mon's endless energy to get the house clean and all decorated. I can smell the aroma of cloves placed in an apple or orange and placed on a shelf. I see mistletoe hanging in the doorway as you go into the kitchen. Since we didn't have the luxury of having sweets all year round or just anytime at the touch of our fingers, the glorious fragrances coming from the kitchen as mother baked for the wonderful celebration was were highly anticipated.
I loved looking at our beautiful Christmas tree. I remember the light with color wheel shining on the tree. I would lay under the tree looking up and the lights were like stars shining. I would imagine the Star shining over Bethlehem that first Christmas. I always, from then on, wanted as many lights on my Christmas tree. I felt that it was my way of remembering that Jesus, God's precious gift to us is truly the Light of the World.
I also remember we always dressed in our very best and had all the family over! We couldn't wait to exchange gifts. I was always excited for Aunt Mary and Uncle Charlie to arrive, because I knew they always brought us a gift. Remember when we were children, we didn't get toys and gifts all year round so even underwear was exciting to get! I am thankful for the joy and love I felt at Christmas. It was such an exciting time, and I was so thankful for my 3 gifts and my stocking! (remember Jesus received 3 gifts on that first Christmas, so why do we think we have to break the bank now?) I still have my Christmas stocking from my childhood. I remember the nuts and little personal items. I really appreciate what I received and am so thankful. Now as a parent, I realize what it is like to try to find "the gift" to make our children happy. When as we have to realize is that if we would just keep it simple and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, we will make the holidays memorable!
Thank you mom and dad for giving me wonderful memories, especially you momma!


Nashville Christmas

Wow, this was a few years ago. So young (and skinny)! Gary and I were in school in Nashville and it looks like we had 2 little cats. There wasn't a plan or theme for my trees back then...just whatever I had. I think icicles were the only requirement. I don't think the tree was as brown as it looks in the second picture. We had so much fun and were beginning to lay the foundations for future Christmas celebrations.
In my English class at Bible college I used Christmas as the theme for a poetry assignment. I think we had to choose a subject, find poems and somehow put them all together. I do remember that I got an A even though it was a bit "cheesy."
One of the poems I used..."Christmas is Remembering" by Elsie Binns.

Christmas is remembering
Shy shepherds on a hill
And voices echoing
"Peace--Good Will!"
Christmas is remembering
A stable and a star
And wise men journeying
from afar.
Christmas is remembering
A new-born baby boy
And all the world caroling
Songs of joy.


Christmas is Remembering

I love Christmas. I love the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes of Christmas. I'm so glad I'm part of a family who loves Christmas. I can't imagine being married to one of those "bah humbug" persons! Ewww! I'm also very blessed to have some "kindred spirit" friends who also adore Christmas....definitely some great memories of past Christmases there!
For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to look back through the years and remember. I welcome you on my journey.
A few years ago, we started taking a family picture on Christmas day. This one is from 2007. Bree had so much fun helping Julie push the button on the timer and then running and jumping into place. And how cool is it to have a photographer in the family? Way cool!
Tomorrow we'll go back to Christmas in Nashville 1974.