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Pickle Night, Snow, and Root Beer Floats


Quote of the Day: I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. – Charles Dickens

Dear Snowbound Friends and weary Travelers,

This year the snow is the Grinch who is trying to steal Christmas. Don’t let it! I know you’re frustrated by delays and changes of plans and feeling the crashing blow of disappointment. All the weeks of planning and waiting leave you feeling like you’ve been running to catch the train and get within its sights just as the doors slam shut and it has escalated to an unreachable speed. You stop, heart pounding, tears bursting from your eyes and a cry of “No!” screaming from your lips. And, then, “Now what?” Your shoulders slump and you drop your bags to the floor.

Well, you could slink home and pout, or you could be like all the Whos down in Whoville and celebrate Christmas with what you’ve got.

from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss:
“He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came witout packages, boxes or bags!”

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

It’s so hard to feel like you’ve missed the party. You long to enter the doors of your loved ones and feel the embrace of the ones who are so glad you’re safe. You want to feel their kiss upon your cheek, the cheek of the face they longed to see. Nothing substitutes the real presence of people who just want to be with you. But, that doesn’t have to happen only on Dec. 25. It can happen any day of the year.

Last night, my boys and I had our Pickle Night. We do this the first night of holiday vacation. I hide the pickle ornament in the tree. They scramble and push and scold each other until one of them finds it. He gets to open the “pickle” gift, which has been, thus far, a game, and we play together. We topped off our night with root beer floats, then all the boys piled in the biggest brother’s room to watch a movie, and their tired mama read a half a page of her book and fell asleep.

Pickle Night is a tradition I started when our family turned into just me and the boys. The dad has a separate Christmas with his children. I wanted something to be just ours. Families change constantly, traditions can grow and evolve, too, and Christmas can be celebrated any night of the year.

Stay well, be safe, and keep Christmas in your heart all year!

Journaling prompt: Write your storm story and/or your Christmas story from this year.

  1. Mary, oh, dear friend, you spoke directly to my heart. I really need to read this to Elizabeth. She’s having a hard time with the change, too. Why is it so hard? I think, for me, it’s my 95-year-old grandmother. We get Christmas with my family only every other year. It’s hard to realize it won’t happen this year, and might never happen again with grandma. And yet, who knows? Maybe she’ll live to 100. I am thinking, too, of the summer I tried getting back to Poplar and it didn’t happen. Then, our house burned, so I never did get that chance. That’s how I feel right now. I will try to reorient myself. I’m trying. But I’m feeling the blues still. I guess sometimes we have to just feel it, even while doing everything we can to push past those feelings and create something new. I am trying…and your words definitely help. You have such great visuals. You have a gift. I’m so glad you’ve found this new way to use it. 🙂 Christmas hugs from here…and hopes of seeing you soon into the New Year.

  2. Oh, Roxane, you were on my heart when I wrote this. The blessings of friendship flow freely here. Be sad for what could not happen, but don’t let it be your Grinch! Love you!

  3. I love that quote, and I love the excerpt – good choices, Mary! Traditions are a wonderful part of any special day, and the best part is that you can begin them anytime. I think it’s great that you began a new tradition with your boys, and it sounds like a lot of fun. These are the things they’ll remember best when they look back as adults. Enjoy your Christmas with your boys! 🙂

  4. Thank you, Shannon! Happy memory making to you, too!

  5. Merry Christmas my friend! We are not alone on this journey to new traditions. I love the tradition of the pickle in the tree and how you are beginning new memories with the boys. Just the thought of a pickle hanging in a tree makes me smile!

  6. Merry Christmas to you, beautiful friend. New traditions help us embrace the changes.

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