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Hello and Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve Scrabble

It’s New Year’s Day, and after a wild night of Scrabble with LDB, I awoke today with mixed emotions to “put away Christmas.”  Perhaps this year was the first ever that I felt peaceful throughout the season, never approaching the crazy-Mamma frenzy of years’ past. What was the difference? Three easy words: less is more.  My children are 21, 20 and 17, so my calendar is no longer filled with the seasonal obligations, activities and other assorted to-do’s: concerts, performances, parties, cotillion, gifts to teachers and classmates. Never did I realize how those drained me, as much as I felt they were worthy and necessary at the time.  The real meaning of the season to me is to enjoy moments of my choosing with my family and friends. Everything else is elective.

Every Christmas I evaluate what I liked, what I would improve, and what I would eliminate, because after all, doing Christmas is a giant do-list on top of the demands of every day life, so making it happen with satisfaction takes planning. Among this year’s improvements were: consolidating my Christmas card list into an Excel spreadsheet, putting out fewer decorations, shipping my out-of-town gifts by the first weekend of December, and putting up the Christmas tree in mid-December (as opposed to the first of December) and being ok with that.

As I packed away the Christmas tree decorations today, I was struck by the number of ornaments adorning our tree that have been given by dear friends. As I packed them away I took a few moments to rearrange and preserve them in photos to share with you. Many of you will recognize your gifts of love to us. I must highlight LJH‘s ornaments she has given to my children over the many, many years of our legendary friendship. Her angels and snowmen of all stripes will follow my children to their trees as they leave the nest. This year welcomed fluffy owls to the roost. Take a few moments to play I Spy and find your ornaments. (Click on the image to enlarge for better viewing.) Merry Christmas!

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Love, Ellegram