Thursday, December 29, 2011

Favourite Traditions - again, a little late

I'm a little boring. My Christmas traditions are pretty "standard" and normal. Lots of people probably have very similar ones. Your present opening system, Christmas Eve Chinese food, Christmas Eve Service, certain concerts, desserts (we have this one with vanilla pudding and mandarin oranges. To.Die.For), baking, baking, baking, Christmas mail, special music, etc.

But I think my favourite is decorating the Christmas tree. Again, not too original. I love that we are among the few with a real Christmas tree. We don't have a colour scheme, or specific decorating system,  but instead multi-coloured lights, popcorn chains, and a smattering of decorations from many different placing: one's my mom made for her and my dad's first Christmas, one's my sister made when she was 6, special gifts from people, decorations from around the world, and some new additions from the grandkids.

This year was a little different, because my brother wasn't home until the 15th of December, and I was housesitting until the 21st. So, it wasn't until a week before Christmas before that beautiful Evergreen made it's messy way into our house. Bonus to being the last ones to get a tree: Getting a $50 tree for $15!

I love decorating the tree, because it is so full of memories. When growing up, we each had our own decorations that we hung on the tree. My grandma always gave each of her grandchildren a new ornament every year, so we all had a few to put on. We each had our favourites, simply because of who made them, who gave them, or even how ugly they are. :)

Here are few of my favourite ornaments and memories:
This is a little fairy that was one of Grandma's "better" ornament years. She usually picks ornaments from Ten Thousand Villages, where she used to volunteer. Lately they have been her old decorations. I appreciate that I'll have a tree full when I get my own tree (many are already on my mini tree in my room)

These ones are just pretty.

This was my dad's special decoration. I don't think he really helped decorate the tree, except it was tradition that he'd put all the tinsel on at the very end. But, this was always left for him and he'd search the tree high and low to find the perfect branch in which this reindeer would "lay" just right.

This is one that us kids gave Mom after the first year of home-schooling (meaning I really had nothing to do with it and Dad bought the decoration). It was always the first one on the tree and was near the top.

This is a more recent addition from my Europe trip last year. We went to a Swedish glass factory in Sweden with hand made, blown glass . It's a new favourite.

Ah, these two are very special.
Left: Even my grandma has picked up on my cow obsession, thus buying me a Christmas ball at the thrift store that says "Have a Very Moo-ey Christmas!"
Right: This one is one of the uglier decorations we have and I had to rescue it from the garbage last year. It was one of my first decorations that I got. I think I was able to pick a gift after I got my hair cut (remember, like the rings at the dentist?...there was something similar at my hair dressers when I was like 5 years old). I thought this was to most beautiful thing every and was so proud of it. Now I hang it and have a little chuckle.
This is an interesting one - combo of a trombone and trumpet. :)  When my brother was younger (much younger) it was his favourite, and when he woke up on the morning, he'd always find this decoration, lay on the couch, and "play" his trumpet, or trombone, or whatever it is!

We used to have two of these. One was my sister's and one was my brother's. They used to make a very big deal about finding the perfect branch where there was a light behind the glass to make them shine so beautifully. I was very jealous that I didn't have one. Don't worry, now my brother doesn't care and I got to search for the special branch with the light. 

And there is our beautiful tree. Full of decorations and special memories.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This was started quite a few months ago...

Fall is was the season of change, right? The leaves change colours (or have already left the trees if you live in Alberta!) (Uh, in the midst of a snow storm here) and new activities. While I'm writing a list of my lesser known *love* items, if I were to do the opposite, change would be on the *hate* or at least strongly dislike list...

Change can be good and necessary. This I understand. But change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. I don't like hard and uncomfortable.

This last fall season of change for me. It is hard and uncomfortable. On August 24 I walked out the doors of work for the last had been six years. I know, this may not seem like a long time...but, it was. It had been my only job. I had moved from being from a small 18-year-old to a 24-year-old Marketing Coordinator with a career.

It was a change that was necessary to make. But I wish it weren't necessary and still wish it wasn't necessary. The memories at Apex and PCRE will forever stick with me. I was blessed with so many opportunities to learn and meet many people. I was blessed a boss and leadership team who believed in me, enough to mentor, encourage, push, and befriend. 

I miss that chair and my massive wall of fame!

But  I couldn't go on. The job became too much for me. That was hard to admit. I wish I could have been all that was needed. It hurt to admit that the job had grown faster than me. But, the old job became, the old job. It's been hard. Hard to let got of responsibilities, hard to let go of a role that I had loved, and oh so hard to let go of relationships that meant the world to me.

It's been difficult to start again, from fresh. It's uncomfortable to have to prove who I am to others and myself. It's hard to make a life changing decision, even at the young age of 24.

But here I am, on a road that I hope and pray will turn into something beautiful. Or at least will take me to new heights and knowledge. Still walking a road of change.