A Christmas like no other (2010 story)

 

Well now, that was quite a Christmas!

Going through two dead trees in one year… beat that! :)

 No, wait. How about a shopping trip like no other?  Realizing sticking to simple pleasures ARE in vogue. For me anyway. Huh…

Decorating

The season sure felt like it came early. TOO early. I wasn’t ready, which I shared HERE. However, after getting into the swing of things, I realized I felt better about it.

 

Putting out many mom memory kind of pieces proved to be just the right touch.  It honestly helped to keep me on the right track. ‘Don’t be sad, be glad!’ And I was.

My own full Christmas decor reveal is HERE.

~ Christmas Eve ~

Church Service

Check! This one’s a must. We always take in the Christmas Eve service. With the stage lit only with gorgeous trees in bright white lights, it was yet another magical experience that had you riveted on your feet bellowing out the rockish tunes that I favor.

Christmas eve at my mom’s

Christmas Eve, we gathered at my mom’s empty house. By the time we arrived, everyone was sitting in the kitchen with their lawn chairs in a circle waiting for…

this little number. :) 

Our family has never done stockings, but rather plates. So in true mom and dad tradition, I set bright white plates around the base of the tree we brought and we filled them up with nuts, candy and fruit.

I created simple name tags from paper bags and some of my mom’s Christmas jewelry. We had tons of food strewn all over the counters just like mom would have done. And guess what? We forgot to feel sad. :)

Christmas Day

This shot was taken at midnight, complete with our traditional baking soda snowy footprints.

Come Christmas morn, “Mom! Why did you do that? He isn’t real you know.”

The footprints will be there whether he’s real or not or my son is living at home or not. It isn’t just about Santa. It’s about believing in things we can’t see.

Friends and family

My son and I were not alone on Christmas day. Not by a long shot. 

For lunch, we were invited to an amazing full spread to our close friends’ place. Wonderful food, some board game playing and friendly banter had us giggling until dinnertime.

Then we head to my sister’s for another feast. And my ‘seester’ packed us such a large goodie bag I was eating lavish dinners for days! She’s such a good ‘mom.’  :)

Downtime

My son then went to his other parent’s place for a few days, leaving me to create decorating havoc once again. I took down Christmas early due to the dead tree scenario and crashed and burned my blog office, which I’ll share with you next week.  No worries… I fixed it again and made it even better. :) (how cool is that license plate crate?!?)

My son is home now and over the next two days we’ll be playing board games and doing things we love to do to finish this year off right!

Presents!

Magical. Not only did my son open and love his gifts, my neighbor was VERY good to me. She made sure this sole parent single mom had something to open. A robe, chocolates, bath set, homemade ornaments, a coffee gift card, dishcloth, notepad… etc etc…  and a whole lotta love.

 Now, how does a sole parent shop with a son that’s always with her anyway? And how does he get something for me?

 Easy! We shop together. We show each other a bunch of things we like then go our separate ways. At check out, one goes before the other, requesting that the cashier bag the goods separately. It worked out fabulous and we both got what we wanted. :) 

 Tell me these measuring cups and spoons aren’t the cutest thing evah! I can READ them without my glasses too…

Generosity from blogland

To my complete and utter surprise, I also had three Christmas angels from blogland come forward. In the form of donations.

One was from non blogger but avid reader.  She read a post that hit her right when she needed it.

Coping through tough times

One was from an anonymous blogging friend. Her family had saved up all their change for an entire year into a special jar, in which they do every year. Then they donate it to someone they feel can use it, adding a request I do the same for next year. The unbelievable idea also came with a book which I haven’t finished yet. Why us? She read my last year’s Christmas story of going without and decided then that we’d be the recipients of their jar this Christmas.

Loot from Blogland? Unlike any other.

The 3rd was from a blogging decorator. She read a post that touched her. There were many similarities to our stories and she knew what it was like going without. So she made sure we didn’t this year.

Summer Changes

Putting the non shiny aspects of my life out there for all to read isn’t the easiest thing to do. But I have to say, the amount of emails and gratitude I receive from them far bypasses any difficulty. Helping others WILL come back to you in some form, even in the most unexpected of ways!

Thank-you dear friends. The funds are special and will be spent in such a way where I’ll be able to give back to many many MANY of you. Count on it.

Giving comes in many forms.

And I wish to thank all of you in blogland. You don’t need to make a donation to make my days special. YOU are there encouraging me every time I post. I wouldn’t get a fraction of the amount done if I didn’t show and tell it to all to you. 

Know what? I have every right and reason to pout and feel massive loss right now. Losing my mom in March did not come without difficulty. But choosing a good direction FEELS better. And right. So, in my mom’s honor, I’m choosing to get up, shake off the sadness, and get motivated in directions I’ve yet to touch on.

I hope you choose a similar direction. And if you don’t have it in you to do this on your own, keep reading here. I’ll make sure I help you along your way. That’s what this blog is all about.

“Mom, I sure hope you’re watching. Because there’s no stopping me. Thank-YOU for encouraging me and letting me trash and redecorate your own place every time we came for a visit. I’m going to make you proud. :) And I’m going to help others along the way. When I see you one day soon, I’ll tell you all about it just like we use to do.  xo”

Thank-you all from the bottom of my heart for help making 2010 one of the most incredible Christmas seasons to date!

Let’s rock 2011 like no other. Are you in?!?

Got your own Christmas 2010 story all put together yet? Share it with us this weekend on SNS’ 3rd themed linkup! See ya then. :)

Did any one thing make this season special for you? I’d love to hear about it. :)

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  1. ROCK ON 2011! Your video(Absolutely amazing)left me with a tearful smile. You are awesome! Love the song! I used it this year as well! The story behind it is wonderful! I will continue to follow you from my blog where I am stalking you ;-)! Hi Hopes and WOO-HOO for 2011! Lets go!
    Tami

  2. Donna, you confirm over and over again why you’re one of my most favorite people on earth. Whenever I need inspiration for life, I come here. You are a gift to us all. Bless you and your little man and may 2011 be your best year ever. Thanks for all you do for so many. Rock on, Sister.

  3. Don’t you dare make me go and cry now! :) You guys are soooo kind. Thanks so much!

    I’m off to wake up my sleeping son and spend some quality time with him. Have a wonderful day, friends! I’ll be back tonite. :)

    Donna

  4. Finding Funky Junk Interiors was one of my greatest 2010 blessings! Thank you for being honest, inspiring, and real in blogland.

    Happy New Year to you and your sweet boy!

  5. I’m happy to hear that your season was enjoyable!

    One thing that helped me this season was signing up for the Brave Girl Club’s daily truth emails. Some days they really speak to me and help a lot!

    Happy New Year!

  6. I love how you all gathered at your mom’s empty house for Christmas eve. We did the same thing the year my mom passed away. We gathered at her house for one more Thanksgiving dinner and laughed and shared memories of my parents and all of the others who had were missed that day. It was only a month after she passed away but it was so helpful in the healing process. I’m so glad you did that too.

  7. I love that you shared your Christmas story, Donna, and I loved that you had a magical one despite your tough year. The video gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. I love seeing beauty through your eyes. I love the song. You’re such a talented designer and photographer and inspiration. Being a single sole parent myself for nearly, 13 years in my past…I just wanted to say, I think you’re one of the strongest, most admirable women I “know”. Wishing you peace, happiness and blessings for 2011.

    Roeshel

  8. This Christmas I received the BEST Christmas gift ever. I have not been able to share it with my friends and family yet..so I will do it here as “Anonymous” lol because I am bursting to share with ANYONE!!! My Son and Daughter-in-law gave us a card..we opened it to find an Ultrasound pic…our first Grandchild will arrive in July!!! I am beyond excited!!!
    Bring on 2011..it is going to be awesome!!!
    Anonymous…lol

  9. Donna, I absolutely love that tree. I’ve done a ton of trees in my time (used to be display designer) but yours is simply charming. LOVE it!!

    And the baking soda. That’s a new one on me, but it’s so special.

    Happy New Year and may God Bless!

  10. I’m in! But you already knew that didn’t you? I mean why would anyone NOT want to be in and part of a rocking 2011?!?! See? You go girl!

    “Her” and Romeo

  11. Donna, the video is beautiful – as is everything you do. I love the photo of you and your baby boy, what a gift you received and the joy on your face is unmistakable! I haven’t had much time to visit lately, but I appreciate your positive attitude towards life. I truly was in need of a dose of Donna positivity! Thanks for that and Happy New Year!

    Peace and Hugs,
    Catherine

  12. Donna ~ what a wonderful story today! I just loved hearing you tell it in your special way. :) My season made very special by starting my own blog and then meeting so many incredible blogging gals out there who have become my friends, my supporters, and my encouragers. I can’t imagine my life without my blog-sisters now! :) Oh, and I’ve got to tell you that I adore your Christmas tree. The droopy top is utterly adorable! Happy New Year, friend! ♥ xoxo laurie

  13. Donna,
    I have been out of the loop for so long and missed so much of your journey this year that I am going to have to go back and read past posts. I adore your tree and the foot prints! (We do that on Easter too!) I have been where you are. Remember, the only constant in life is change.
    Sending you hugs, prayers and best wishes for 2011.
    Deborah

  14. Donna, I know you’ve heard it from me before, but you are a true inspiration. From your personality to your creative flare. Thanks for sharing yourself with us in blogland! And I must say, of your entire post, I am thrilled to read about you and your family carrying on some of your Mom’s traditions. I’ve found it’s a very important part of healing and dealing. I lost both of my parents very tragically, along with my childhood home at the same time. That was the beginning of a quest for my family to find the “new normal”…never the same but it does come with time. Hence my decision to make new stockings (in my last post)to carry on Mom’s tradition of filling a stocking for absolutely everyone in the family on Christmas Day. My siblings and I wouldn’t dream of having a Christmas without them. Happy New Year, Donna!!

  15. Great video – I love Casting Crowns – one of my favorite groups. I never met your Mom – but have to think she would get a kick out of some of her things hanging on your tree :). Love seeing what you do with stuff others would not look at twice. Here’s to 2011 may it be a year full of unexpected joys.

  16. thank you for your amazing words of encouragement as we face this new year. A year of huge changes for our family is looming ahead so I needed to be reminded of what really matters. Thanks again!

  17. I felt like the Holidays came too quick and I was in a frenzy to get everything done. I managed to get through it and enjoyed the time with family. I am now looking forward to packing up the holiday decor and moving forward in 2011.
    Happy New Year!

  18. I agree with Melissa #6, Mikal, and Roeshel. I am getting farklempt over your video. I don’t usually cry, but I am getting a little sniffley. It was very, very touching, along with your post. I don’t know what else to say. I am a little speechless, plus sniffley. I love, love the gift tag idea. My mom has a lot of butterfly pins (her totem?) which she doesn’t wear. This last week we made a wreath (padded with maxipads) wrapped in ribbon and pinned all the butterflies on it. It will now hang in her new room in the Alzheimer’s unit. She went on Thursday. I will save some of her jewelry to trim my tree next year. You give me courage, kid. Ann

  19. What a fervent encourager (is that a word?)you are to all of us Donna. You’ve had every right to be down this year, and yet you made a purposeful decision to rise above your circumstances time and time again. You are one of bloglands ultimate inspiration stories.

    The story of you and your siblings going to your mothers home for a Christmas memorium is truly touching. Surely she was smiling down on you all.
    I’ve never heard of stocking plates, but I think it sounds fun.

    I’m so glad your Christmas turned out to be such a good and memorable one. You obviously have some very loyal friends and neighbors.

    A very Happy New Year to you and Cody!

  20. Donna, what a wonderful attitude! I admire you so much!!! I have been catching up on blogland for the last few hours as I have been out of town and not blogging. Yours brought me to tears. I did not spend time with my own mom during the holidays, not because she is gone but because, well I don’t know what it is because of, just because she is afraid to live and be loved is the best way I can put it. I cry for you and for me! Blessings!

  21. I just got around to reading this and watching your video you put together. I told you I was behind! It was so beautiful. You really do amaze me with all that you have and will continue to accomplish. I don’t know how you find the time for it all. I know I can always come here to get the inspiration and the knudge to move forward. Thanks :) Happy New Year!

  22. Just happened on your blog. I am dripping with tears over the video. Oh so sweet.

    May God bless you this new year! Keep on creating and blogging. You have so blessed me today.