A Connecticut Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Years! I hope this finds you all enjoying your holidays. At my house, 2014 has been a really great year, and I’m savoring every minute of this very special “Christmas in Connecticut”.

Here’s my  recipe for a Happy Holiday:

 

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Take one part family:

Last week, my in-laws flew in to spend Christmas with us. The last Christmas they spent here was ten years ago. I was so excited they were coming, I thought I’d burst!  Torben and Ulla, are the most wonderful people! When I married my husband, my in-laws were my “bonus”. Torben shares my interest in history, and Ulla and I both love to cook, bake, and knit. So many people take having family close by for granted. We don’t have that luxury. To have my in-laws here at the holidays is truly a blessing.

IMG_0404Add a sprinkling of tradition:

Traditions make life more memorable. We couldn’t wait to decorate! To kick off the holidays, we cut our tree at our favorite tree farm ‘round the corner. This year the weather was perfect…sunny, crisp…a perfect New England winter day.

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Another tradition is a trip to the Gingerbread Village at St. George’s church in Middlebury, Connecticut. This was our tenth year to see it; we’re always amazed at the detail.

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Each year, my daughter and I build a gingerbread house for our kitchen. (We start with a box kit, and it resembles a shack compared to the ones at the village, but we love doing it together).

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Add a heaping spoonful of joy:

It’s a busy time of year for everyone, but the best way to have joy is to spread cheer. I’m a Girl Scout leader, and my troop and I had a wonderful time volunteering at our town Parks and Recreation’s Breakfast with Santa. I’ve watched my girls grow into amazing young women, and it’s a privilege to know them.

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The following weekend, my daughter’s 4-H club brought their dogs, cookies, and talents to visit a local retirement home. I wish everyone could see the smiles on those residents faces…it’s priceless. Our hearts always feel so full afterwards.

My daughter played a solo for the residents.

My daughter played a solo for the residents.

Pip was one pooped pooch after spreading so much cheer.

Pip was one pooped pooch after spreading so much cheer.

Fold in some fun!

Shopping, wrapping, card-writing…oh my! There’s so much to do, but without stopping for fun, one can start feeling quite Grinch-y! The holidays are meant to be with friends. Did you know that December 15th marked the seventy-fifth anniversary for Gone With the Wind? We spent a memorable afternoon at a special showing of GWTW at my town’s Edmond Town Hall movie theater. I’ve wanted to see it on the big screen since I was a child. Patrons were asked to “dress up”, so I hammed it up with my friend on the “red carpet” in vintage wear!

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What an event! These handmade cookies were given out after the movie, and a few ornaments were given out for costumes. I was thrilled to win a prize for dressing up.

What an event! These handmade cookies were given out after the movie, and a few ornaments were given out for costumes. I was thrilled to win a prize for dressing up.

I also enjoyed my Farmgirl Sisterhood Chapter’s annual potluck and homemade gift exchange….

A few members of "CT Simpler Life Sisters"

A few members of “CT Simpler Life Sisters”

I love my cowl that Jackie made.

I love my cowl that Jackie made.

I made a few of these of my own design...one was for the handmade gift exchange.

I made a few of these of my own design…one was for the handmade gift exchange.

And my daughter and I took a needle felting class at the library together one afternoon…

My needle-felted gnome from class. Crafting relieves holiday stress.

My needle-felted gnome from class. Crafting relieves holiday stress.

Another evening, my friend Andrea and I met for dessert and coffee to exchange gifts for our “$10 Vintage Gift Challenge”. The gift had to be vintage and not something we made or already had, and we couldn’t spend over $10.00. It was such fun treasure-hunting! (When Andrea jokingly said she wanted to kidnap my Santa blow mold, I knew I just had to find her one)!

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Mix well, and relax!

Things happen. Last year, my dog broke into the gift closet and ate all the stocking-stuffers on the day before Christmas Eve. Part of me prayed she didn’t kill over from chocolate toxicity, while the other part of me wanted to wring her neck when all the store shelves were sold out of anything stocking-worthy! (This year, the treats are “hung up” like a picnic basket from Yogi Bear). I used to stress at the holidays. Some days, I still get exhausted, but it’s a “good” tired. The perfectionist in me will always want everything “just so”, but truthfully, the little things don’t matter so much. I know planning ahead keeps me from going into a panic with cookies not baked by a certain time or packages not mailed by a certain date. In the end, it all works out. Happiness isn’t found in boxes and bows anyway.

It isn’t what’s under the tree that matters, it’s who’s gathered around it.

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 19 Comments

  1. diana henretty says:

    Loved your Merry Christmas blog this morning after my cup of coffee!!
    This is the first Christmas we didnt go out and push thru malls and crazy crowds for gifts, we decided to give a gift card to our closest family and enjoy Christmas!
    Just brought up my mother in law for the Christmas celebration, from Arkansas, we had to get her before the snow flies! There is something so different and so special about letting go of all the ideas and plans for the perfect meals, snacks, presents, decorations, and just soaking up every day’s blessings for just what they are.
    Im so thankful we chose this year to let Christmas into our hearts in a special way.
    Holiday Hugs from the Christmas City, Noel, Mo……..Diana

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Diana! I did it…I managed to NOT go to the mall one. single. time. all holiday season. Love it! Sounds like you all will have a wonderful Christmas celebration with your MIL. Enjoy! Merriest of Christmases to you. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Wish I was gathered around your tree this Christmas too. I miss you and Audrey. Your story is wonderful for this time of year. Glad Ulla and Torbin are there. Hope Santa is good to you and I love you. Merry Christmas. Mother

  3. Joan says:

    Such a wonderful Holiday time you are having, so happy you have such lovely guests. Thanks for sharing your fun times. May God Bless and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  4. Mary Rauch says:

    Merry Christmas Nicole AND Family! Thanks for sharing your precious memories and moments with us! I suppose you are so proud of your daughter that you hardly can express it. She seems like a terrific young woman!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Merry Christmas, Mary! I am so glad you liked my post, and yes, I am so proud of my daughter I could burst! She has always exceeded my dreams of what it would be like to be a mom. Enjoy your holidays! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Hi Nicole! I’m pretty sure Connecticut is the place to be for Christmas! Love all your pictures and the story they told. And your vintage dress???? To die for! :-) Happy Christmas – I know having family for the holidays is the BEST ever. – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks, Dori! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, too! Big Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole PS I loved your reply to the comment I wrote you on your blog post a few weeks ago…every time I read a post of yours, I think, “I want to meet Dori!”

  6. Marge Hofknecht says:

    What a wonderful recipe! Full of everything needed to make up a batch of precious Christmas memories! Thanks for sharing and have a blessed and happy Merry Christmas!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marge, thank you! Christmas has been the best ever having my in-laws here. Hope you have a blessed holiday, too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Deb Bosworth says:

    Hi Nicole! Merry Christmas! Loved your blog this am! You have some great Christmas traditions in Connecticut and fun family traditions! You are so right. It’s not about what’s under the tree, but who’s gathered around it. This Christmas my mom is with us ( after moving in in November ) and we are feeling so blessed to have her here at home with us…Can’t wait for 2015!

    Blessings! Deb ( Beach Farmgirl )

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thank you, Deb! What a blessing you have your mom with you now. Merry Christmas to you and have a wonderful holiday with your mom and family! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. susana says:

    I love the cowl….wondering if the pattern is available. Very colorful and a nice pattern. Someone s very creative! Love the gingerbread buildings…..someone is very patient! I could never do that! Nice mbrodery work too…..the best is seeing a chichichua all Tuckered out in te cute sweater coat. Nice! Love the fur baby….Susana

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Susana, Thank you! Let me check with my friend Jackie who knitted the cowl for the pattern. Perhaps it is on Ravelry…I will let you know. I will post the link here if I find it and email you to let you know.

      Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Susana,

      I heard from my friend. The pattern for the cowl is at lionbrand.com.

      Search pattern # L32438

      Happy Knitting!
      Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. ulla christensen says:

    Dear Nicole thanks you for your nice words. We have a very god Christmas.Hugs to you Kim an Audrey

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