This year our holiday preparations have been especially fun and exciting as we plan for Yessi's mom, Wu Dan Feng (or Tan Hong for short), and Yessi's aunt, Zeng Ming Ling (or Rosie for short) to arrive from China on the 21st. We are also seeing our holiday traditions through Yessi's eyes, as this is her first Christmas in the United States, and everything we do is once again new and exciting. Hearing Yessi say, in her delightful voice, "really?" delights us all.
One of our first holiday activities was, of course, putting up our Christmas tree. But first, we unpacked 45 years of collected ornaments. Brad has received at least one ornament each year of his life, plus Ed and I have a few of our own, so the big trunk holding our ornaments is jammed full. Unwrapping each ornament brings forth exclamations of, "Was that my first ornament?" Or, "That's the one Greg brought back from Germany." Or, "Remember that one? We got it in Banff." And then telling Yessi all about Banff or the Pass, or whatever place or memory the ornament unleashed.
|The lion of the scarecrow, tin man and lion from The Wizard of Oz|
|Yessi, Brad & Ed putting on ornaments|
Yessi and I spent one day making candy and cookie gift boxes. We made chocolate chip cookies for eating now. But then we also made nut balls, peanut brittle and fudge to put into Christmas tins for gifts. The next day I also made toffee but although following the recipe carefully all we have to show for the effort is burned toffee and a smelly house.
|Fran packing Christmas tins|
|Yessi carefully preparing wax paper lining in the tins|
|A table full of sweets|
With Chinese visitors we needed stockings to hang with their names, and not in English. 吴丹凤 for Yessi's mom; 郑敏玲 for Yessi's aunt; and 哦 和 for Yessi, or at least close. The translations on Google are slightly different than Yessi's translations. I'm betting on Yessi being right! Our stockings this year have a delightful international look. Good Cheer has been scoured for wonderful little crazy trinkets for stuffing, along with some more useful items for use throughout the year.
|The stocking were hung with care -- no chimney.|
We also lit up an outside tree for both beauty and a night light for our house guests. The path between the barn's guest room and our main living building, even with our outdoor lights on, is dark. The tree helps light the path and the steps, plus it's a very beautiful Hinoki so the lights accent its beauty.
|Hinoki lighting the garden|
Most of the shopping is completed, along with the wrapping. Now we need to focus on meals and cleaning and gardening to be ready for our wonderful Christmas-of-two-worlds. Right after Christmas Yessi, Brad and Yessi's family will head to Seattle for several days, where they will be house and dog sitting for a friend. Yessi's mom and aunt return to China on the 3rd.
|Our living tree to be planted on Brad and Yessi's property after Christmas|