Tag Archives: Christmas Eve

Work of His Hands

In my recent post on December 17, 2010 “No Assembly Required”  I shared the fact that my Dad and Mom over the years have made homemade gifts for Christmas.  Each gift has been truly a labor of love.  This year’s gift to my grandson was no different.

One of my favorite memories I have heard told by my husband was as a child how his Dad would help him wash his hands for dinner.  His Dad was not a hug and kiss type of guy but for my husband his Dad’s hands soaping up his little hands and rinsing them under the water when he was a child was a form of a hug for him, something he will always remember fondly as an act of love for a child from his father.

This is picture of Jack checking out his gift on his Great Grandpa’s lap.

(This is the whole gang gathered at my brother-in-laws on Christmas Eve.  The whole family made the trip with my nephew traveling from San Diego and my niece from Chicago.  We have one extra in the picture, Kevin.  He is my niece Kelsey’s boyfriend.  My mother-in-law’s cousin Marlys took this wonderful picture.  She is a regular guest at our Christmas Eve gathering.

Front Row: Anna, Julia, Olivia, Christy holding Jack

Second Row: Kevin, Grandpa, Grandpa, Matt, Curt

Third Row: Cody, Tirzah, Ryan, Emily, Janna, Hayley, Big Jack, Tim

Back Row: Mike, Mary Jo, Kelsey, Aaron, Laura, Jeanne, Dean, Deb, Dan 

My family’s names are in bold print. 

I wish that I had a picture for my side of the family like this picture.  We were only missing my brother-in-law who was out driving truck on Christmas.  Otherwise we would have been 27 in all.

 Family is truly the work of His Hands (Ephesians 2:10) this Christmas season.


Posted by on December 26, 2010 in Family, Holidays, Reflections


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T Minus 58 hours..


This morning I am feeling a little bit like this bird being pursued by the neighborhood cat as Christmas Eve  approaches.  I just realized how many hours I have until our first gathering on Christmas Eve and just how much I need to get done before then. 

This year is no different from any other as far as leaving things go until the last-minute but I had high hopes somehow this year would be different.  I guess the key to things being different is to actually have a plan to do things differently.  That didn’t happen.

My family keeps looking under the tree to see if there are any presents for them.  I haven’t wrapped one present yet.  It will be another late night.  This last snow storm has put me behind schedule because of the work involved clearing the snow at the shop. 

I’ve got a mental list going in my head for what I have left to do that I should really put down on paper to see if there is anything I’m missing on my list.  It’s hard to check off an item on a virtual list or add them for that matter.

Tonight I will be spending the evening in the kitchen trying to get food ready for Friday evening.  I always make the Swedish Meatballs and flatbread for our traditional Swedish Christmas Eve dinner.  I like making both items just not the mess.  I like to make them ahead of time and freeze them so it is not so stressful at the last-minute.   There is nothing more depressing than coming home on Christmas Eve with a disaster in the kitchen to clean up before going to bed.

The original plan for the shop holiday hours was to close all day on Friday and open on Monday.  The guys decided this week that we will be  open until noon on Friday and closed all day Monday.  I think they forgot to ask my opinion of the change.  I would have said we should be closed all day Friday and all day Monday.  I was so looking forward to having an entire day to get ready at home on Friday.  It’s always hard to work in the morning and get things ready for the evening.

This morning as I look out my living room window it is dark and dreary, something we have had way too much of lately.  A little sunshine would surely help me get motivated to get some things done.  Maybe tomorrow…


Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Holidays, Life Happens, Nature, Photography


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No Assembly Required

No Assembly Required

As Christmas Eve approaches I can’t help but think of past Christmas Eves.  As I young child I can remember laying in my bed upstairs on Christmas Eve and hearing my parents busy downstairs.  I never knew what they were up to until Christmas morning but I could hear them until late into the evening.  My Mom and Dad were usually busy assembling something for under the tree or putting on the finishing touches on something they had made.

My Mom and Dad have always made a gift for one of us six kids and worked very late into the night to put on the finishing touches.  After I was grown and had children,  I got a glimpse of what their Christmas Eves were like. 

We spent Christmas eve with my husband’s family in our town and then loaded up our kids usually around 10 pm and drove 2 hours to my Mom and Dad’s home in the Twin Cities.  We would carry our sleeping children into Mom and Dad’s house and put them to bed.

One year when we arrived my Dad was putting the finishing touches on this toy that he made for our son Curt.

The few years later when we arrived at Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve Dad was putting the final coat of varnish on this forklift that he made for our second son Matt.

Five years later Dad was painting this on a doll cradle that he made for my daughter Anna.  He checked out books from the library to teach himself how to paint the elaborate design on the cradle.

The most elaborate project that Mom and Dad worked on together was a Barbie doll house for our daughter Christy.  It was a replica of a house that we moved into when I was twelve.  It was a Dutch Colonial and beautiful.  Dad and my brother built the doll house and did all the exterior finishing.  Mom made all the furniture and the interior decorating.  I don’t have a picture tonight because that would require me to go into the attic with help and bring it in to photograph.  I plan on doing an individual post on the doll house at a later date.  I went to bed that evening at 3 am and the three of them were still working on it at that point.

Over the years my husband and I have spent time working various Christmas Eve projects.   One year my husband decided to make a go-cart out of plumbing pipes and fittings.

One year I sewed sweatshirts for all the nieces and nephews made of Disney character fabric.  Another year I made wooden nativity blocks for all the nieces, nephews and our kids.  Eleven sets in all.

For many years my Christmas Eves involved finishing quilts.  I made a baby quilt and presented the parents with a quilt at Christmas if they had a baby born that year.  One year I made a quilt for my brother for Christmas.  Another year I made a quilt for my mother-in-law that year I was still hemming it minutes before we went to their home for Christmas Eve dinner.

The latest Christmas Eve project was about eight years ago when we gave our oldest daughter a drum set for Christmas.  She was in the percussion section in band.  The drum set came in boxes and had to be assembled.  It wasn’t that difficult but there were many pieces.  I couldn’t start bringing in boxes until all of our kids went to bed.  At that time they were night owls.  The boys were in college and the girls were 15 and 13 and had Christmas wrapping to do so it was after 1 am before I could start assembling.  It was almost 3:30 am before I was finished. 

This is the first year I think I will make it to bed at a decent hour.  No homemade gifts this year except a scarf that is almost finished.  Something seems out-of-place, not having a last-minute project.  There is still time to start one to carry on the family tradition….


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