Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Gift to My Heart All Year Long

I think in the span of November to January, I created 10 double layouts about Christmases past - 20 pages. They ranged from 2008 to 2013. It was a little gift to myself to camp out in the season, during the season. Honestly, scrapping Christmas seems such a herculean task to me. There are so many photos taken that whittling them down is hard, and scrapping them all is impossible. But I love the moments and memories enough to try. Sometimes it just takes me awhile. ;-) 

I have a very large Library of Memories. Keeping up with it all is almost a part-time job. But, undaunted and eager to keep the yuletide memories burning, I set out to decipher what Christmas events and years I had scrapped, what I wanted to scrap and hadn't, and what pictures would remain as jpegs. 

{Will my children ever mine this virtual treasure trove? Today, my iPhoto library sits at 47,451 photos. And while I have converted some negatives to jpegs, those span for the most part my post-digital years, which commenced in 2004. I don't even dare project a future number. I strive to keep the closets and clutter clear, but I can't let go of my images. They are each so dear to me. I have a semi-blurry shot of my boys with their arms up in the air, facing the same direction, doing basically nothing understandable to the discerning eye. But, when I see that photo, I am transported back to a Wednesday night when they came in from Cribs and I was sitting here playing Mercy Me's "This Life" and the boys spontaneously and immediately went into a synced dance move to the rave sound of my favorite band, which immediately surprised, delighted, and tickled me. How can I lose my jpegs? They are my stories.}

So, Christmas layout To Do list in hand, I printed off pictures, pulled stacks of patterned paper and cardstock, printed the hot off the press Scrapbook Generation Christmas Sketch book {I will forever feel the press date was my very own personal magical birthday present!}, grabbed a very few sets of punches and basic tools, and headed off to Florida with my mom. We were going to have two days to be together and scrap before Steve flew in to join us, in my very own beautiful room at the Grand Floridian. Mom and I sat at the dining table in the one bedroom Villa, and opened the sheers and scrapped for two days while we watched the monorail slide by against the sunny clear blue sky and listened to my Christmas iPod shuffle.

It was part of my "magical birthday". You are more than likely aware to some degree of my strong affectation to all things Walt Disney World.  ;-) And for so very long, I have had the dream of doing my two very favorite things there - being at Disney AND scrapping. And dreams can come true! My sweetheart of a husband gifted me with my dream 50th birthday gift - six days at Walt Disney World: one day for each park, and two days to scrap with my mom. It was an amazing trip. I was just revisiting the photos two days ago. Yes, more scrapping dilemmas. But, I'll take those kinds of problems any day. ;-)

While we were there, in the land that starts Christmas the day after Halloween, in the hotel that pipes in the smell of baking gingerbread to create the backdrop for the amazing and beautiful and large gingerbread house, while poinsettias greeted us everywhere, and carols floated through the air, I got to scrap Christmas. I did basically just the foundations for my pages during those two days - but I was very pleased with my progress, and I will confess to perhaps a long dinner break at Downtown Disney window shopping, and a yummy sandwich at Beaches and Cream, and the sharing of an ice cream sundae that should be against the law it is so large. 

I have shared with you some of the other Christmas layouts that had their genesis during this magical birthday trip, and rather than post the last of these individually, I am just going to roll the rest of them out today. It's time to move on. The season is done, the decorations are finally headed into the attic today, and it's time to share these four final layouts.

Tree trimming, and artichoke dip, and the favored cheese ball and yes, those totes and totes of my beloved Hallmark Ornaments. And boys dancing to Christmas carols and delighting in their own memories. 

The worst Christmas ever - the year a stomach bug tore through 5 of the 6 of us like a domino freight train, and also the year that I gave Andrew houseshoes that he loved, but then later decided he hated, and the next year when I gave him another pair because that pair had worn out, not knowing he now hated houseshoes, that he pitched a little fit. And the year that I wanted an iMac so badly, but got a Kindle. 

The year that it was our turn for Granny and Papa - working hard to make everyone happy and pack meaning into every moment, knowing your parents are aging and your children are aging, and trying to make every moment count, no guarantees for the next rotation, four years out. The year of big boots, and Star Wars, and stamps, and toothbrushes, and Big Bang, and Root Beer floats. 

It all comes down to Comfort and Joy, I think, when you go to sum up Christmas. The comfort of hearth and home. The joy of being together, the joy of the season, the Joy in the meaning behind the season, the true gift of Christmas. Each year is its own story, with some of the same moments repeating. {Repeat the Sounding Joy, Repeat, Repeat the Sounding Joy!} And yet each year has its own unique moments. 

Christmas is a day. But it is such a big day that it cannot fit all into one calendar square. And so it becomes a season. And as I age, and as I mine my treasure trove of memories, it develops into more than a day, or a season. It is a gift to my heart all year long. 
   
Comfort & Joy ~ Christmas Morning ~ December 2013


Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Carta Bella
Title Font: Pacifico and Arial

Christmas in the Heart ~ Christmas Day ~ December 2013



Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Carta Bella
Title Stickers: Authentique

Christmas with the Family ~ Christmas Day ~ December 2009



Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Authentique
Title: Honey Script, Silhouette Cut File

Be Merry ~ Tree Trimming ~ November 2009



Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Simple Stories
Title Block: Simple Stories