My Christmas Wishes!

My Christmas Wishes To You!

Christmas Wishes!

As we look forward to Christmas morning this week and the anticipation of a new year, here’s a few Christmas wishes I have that I hope come true for everyone!

  • I wish for everyone to have a few of their favorite things–all year long!

Christmas Wishes!

Wouldn’t we all love to be able to channel our “inner Oprah”and give everyone the gifts of their dreams!  However, if we really think about it, perhaps we can offer others, especially those we love, a few of their favorite things!  I suspect that being shown thoughtful kindness and genuine care would be what many consider some of their favorite things!  It takes some effort, but being aware of others needs and then helping where we can, only proves to enrich our lives as well!

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves!”      James Barrie

  • I wish for us all to be better at telling others how much we love them!

Hallmark Christmas Card!

There’s a touching Hallmark commercial (grab your Kleenex) that has been playing on TV during the holiday season, highlighting everyday people working hard to balance their busy lives…so often in this crazy, hurry-up world, just being able to hear kind words of encouragement and loving expressions of appreciation can make all the difference in how we feel about all our efforts put forth to make life better for ourselves and others!  In this day and age of technology where communication seems to have gotten a little impersonal, we can certainly do better at making it otherwise!

“They do not love that do not speak their love.”  Shakespeare

  • I wish for us to overwhelm the world with our goodness!

Desmond Tutu quote--Little bits of good!

 I wish for everyone to have a very Merry Christmas!


I’d also like to wish my son and daughter-in-law a very Happy Anniversary–they were married four years ago today on a beautiful wintry day!    Congratulations, Jake and Whitney, you have both accomplished so much good in your lives!

Winter wedding!


Christmas Gifts!

Finding the Perfect Christmas Gifts!

With Christmas day just a few weeks away, it’s probably fair to say that we’re all pretty intent on working our way through our Christmas lists.  Since Mother Nature recently dumped a cold, white, winter wonderland where I live, the degree of difficulty for making my way around town has greatly increased!  Luckily, our recent Disneyland trip provided the bulk of our Christmas this year, so I haven’t had to do too much shopping, but I’ve still wanted to get a few fun personal things for everyone.  Much to my surprise, my husband had a few Christmas gift tricks up his sleeves too!

It’s Not Too Late To Give An Early Christmas Gift Surprise!

If you’re like me, you might be a little weary of some of the Christmas music that has been playing full decibel in some of the stores since before Thanksgiving!?!  I’m not “bah hum bug” weary, just weary enough that I wanted some softer, more mellow selections added to my Christmas music playlist.  My husband seemed to sense my mood the other day while we were out shopping when I abruptly reached up and clicked off the car radio mid-song–right before Rudolph was about to steer Santa’s sleigh off into the night…

Restless Heart Christmas Album

the next day after work, wrapped up on my dinner plate was “A Restless Heart Christmas” album, a group I have loved for years!  Restless Heart’s mellow rendition of some of the classic Christmas songs, along with a few new ones of their own, has been the healing balm, so to speak, that I needed to soothe my holiday soul!  (The song, Santa’s Prayer” pulls at your heart strings!)

She and Him Christmas Album

“A Very She and Him Christmas” is another great holiday record that fits in this category! My daughter, Mandi and her husband Cole, surprised me and my husband last December with this joyful, understated Christmas CD!  I’ve actually listened to it throughout the year!

Surprise someone you know, who might be in need of a little festive reboot, with some less mainstream Christmas music!  Fa la la la la!

A childhood memory I have of a great early Christmas surprise was the year my dad gave my mom a new waffle iron!

Christmas Gifts!

For years my mom used my grandma’s old waffle iron, but it had started to burn the waffles on one side.  My dad usually made breakfast on the weekends, but this particular Saturday, early in December, I remember that he seemed especially jovial as he served up the first crisp, perfectly browned waffle to my mom with a twinkle in his eyes!  This loving gesture by my father set the perfect Christmas mood for the rest of that holiday season!

Create Fun Experiences And Special Memories With Your Christmas Gifts!

My parents were good at giving thoughtful consideration to the gifts they gave; they enjoyed giving gifts that created fun experiences and lasting memories!  I remember receiving a cable knit sweater that I’d had my eye on one year, along with some beautiful tweed pants.  Tucked inside the sweater collar was a note saying it would be the perfect outfit to wear when I accompanied my parents to the movie “Funny Girl”!

Christmas Gifts!

Vintage "Funny Girl" movie poster www.mytributejournal.comA perfect Christmas gift combination–complete with memories for years to come!  “Funny Girl” is still one of my favorite movies…obviously for more reasons than the great on-screen chemistry shared by Omar Sharif and Barbra Streisand!

My husband’s sisters have a “Sister’s Christmas Party” every year, and include the sisters-in-law.  We all draw names and rotate which sister we buy for each year.  I think I’ll create a gift experience for the sister-in-law’s name I drew by giving the inspiring novel, “The Book Thief” with accompanying tickets to the movie for us to go see it together after she’s finished the book!

"Book Thief" a great Christmas gift!


Book Thief Moive Poster

“Book Thief” is one of my favorite books and the movie is equally as good! 

(I also think a good book with a soft robe and hot chocolate make a great gift combo too!  Don’t we all love to hunker down during cold winter months with a cup of steaming hot chocolate and a good book!)

Another way to share fun memories and neat experiences with family or friends is a picture swap.  (A much less fattening version of the cookie swap!  Haha!)  This is something I started a few years ago as part of our Christmas Eve festivities.  It also gives us a good excuse to bring some of our pictures out of digital oblivion.  I have everyone bring approximately 8-10 pictures (and 4×6 copies to share with each family) that they feel highlight some of the things they’ve done throughout the year.  I bought each couple a leather photo album to put the pictures in as we exchange them and catch up on each other’s lives in a more intimate way.  We laugh at the memories and relish the pictures we’ve all captured with our various cameras.  This photo album is a most cherished possession and something that my sweet granddaughters love to look through every time they come to my house!


I suspect many of the pictures swapped this year will center around our fun trip to Disneyland! 

Go Ahead–Be Practical With Your Christmas Gifts!

Several years ago, when my youngest daughter was home from college during the Thanksgiving break, I was visiting with her while she got ready to go out for the night, and I couldn’t help but notice that many of her make-up items were about gone and some of her brushes were looking a little dilapidated.  Knowing that Mandi was on somewhat of a stringent student budget, and that cosmetics can be a bit pricey, I took a mental note of the brands she used and bought a few of the things she needed.  Along with these items, I also bought some new brushes with a cute bag, then gave this to her for part of her Christmas.  Talk about getting a lot of “bang for your buck”, the look of delight on my daughter’s face told me I had scored a major Christmas victory!

Christmas Gifts!

Some of the best Christmas gifts are often seemingly practical things that someone really needs, even if they aren’t always the most glamorous!

Get Personal–Take Time To Write A Note To Put With Your Gifts!

My mom always wrote a thoughtful line or two on her Christmas cards and my children are good to do this, as well.  Now my daughter helps my granddaughters color pictures and write special notes too!  I also have friends who have shared their love and wisdom with me in their holiday notes.  I love the eclectic card collection I’ve saved over the years that tell a unique version of the story of my life!

Christmas Gifts!

The older I get, the more I realize that time is the gift I want the most; time with people I love, time to do things I haven’t done in awhile, time to not be in a hurry so much!

On this Friday the 13th of December, I hope you’re blessed to give and get wonderful Christmas gifts!



Disneyland for Christmas!

All I Want For Christmas Is Disneyland!

Disney Christmas!

A few years ago, while decorating for Christmas, I came across a program on how Disneyland gets “magically” transformed for the Christmas holidays!  Ever since that time, I’ve wanted to kick off the holiday season by going to Disneyland with my family!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to pull out the slide projector and gather you all around while I ramble on about our family vacation!  Instead, I thought I’d just share a few highlights and insights on planning a trip to Disneyland at Christmas time.  It is a feat in and of itself to coordinate everyone’s schedules, (especially since my son and daughter live in two different states) and still maintain a certain level of excitement for going to the “happiest place on earth!”  Luckily for me, the delighted look of anticipation on my two granddaughter’s faces whenever we talked about going to Disneyland made the logistics of planning all the details well worth the effort!

Disneyland for Christmas!

Anticipation And Countdown to Disneyland!

My dad, who traveled extensively throughout his life, always said one of the best parts of any trip is the anticipation beforehand!  I tried to keep that in mind as I made a Disneyland countdown for my granddaughters, Makena and Marli, the week before we left on our vacation!

Disney Christmas!

Minnie Mouse shoes!

Disney dress-ups!

My granddaughters loved the countdown and enjoyed playing with a few little trinkets before our trip!

Disney Christmas countdown!

The girls were excited to use this money from the countdown, along with the money they’d earned this summer at their drink stand to pick out a special Disneyland souvenir.  Mostly we just enjoyed the fun rides and being together as a family!

My son-in-law, Cole took on the task of doing a little research on how we might make the best use of our time in Disneyland.  His fun weekly updates had us all in stitches with laughter and anxiously counting down the days until our departure date!  (You can view a couple of the sites Cole used here and here.  Be sure to check out the website that had us laughing so hard we had tears rolling down our cheeks here!  Enjoy!)

We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel.  It’s beautiful and reasonably priced, as well as convenient for walking to and from the main attraction parks.  If you have little ones, (or grandpa and grandma!?!) it’s nice to be close in case you need a mid-day breather.

Disneyland Hotel

Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Hotel caters to a whimsical nature with everything honoring the Disney theme!  My cute granddaughters loved that you could light up the head-boards and turn on the music to play “When You Wish Upon A Star!”!  The perfect lullaby! 

 We’re All Kids At Heart In Disneyland!

I think what I love most about Disneyland is that no matter the time of year…whether you’re young or old…or somewhere in-between, we all become kids at heart!  Such a fun family time!

Disneyland for Christmas!

You can see for yourself that Makena and Marli weren’t the only kids excited for Disneyland to open!


Mater, the tractor from the movie “Cars” was a favorite ride of the girls-mine too!

Toon Town!

Makena asked me if I wanted to live in Toon Town…

…who wouldn’t love to live there–where everything is larger than life, everyone is happy and Minnie Mouse is your neighbor! 


You can usually count on waiting in lines a bit at Disneyland, although the crowds were relatively small when we were there a few weeks ago.   Fast passes are the way to go for more popular rides.  The early entry passes are a valuable bonus for those who stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel.


Two other highlights were the World of Color show at California Adventureland and all the many wonderful plays at various little theaters throughout the park!  We saw Tangled and Aladdin–both simply amazing!


Food at Disneyland is yummy!  This website even tells you how to do it on the cheap!

Churros at Disneyland!

Churros are a must at Disneyland! 

Goofy's breakfast at Disneyland!

Goofy's Kitchen at Disneyland!

Goofy’s kitchen is a fun brunch buffet!  Many of the other Disney characters are there too–and as Goofy would tell you, the food is “sumptuous!”

Disneyland also has a lot of special pastries and other food items that are served only during the holidays!

Yule log at Disneyland!

Marli and her dad digging into a Disney Christmas Yule Log!  It’s cake yumminess!

Disneyland at Christmas time just seems bigger and brighter than ever before–it met my every expectation!

Disney Christmas!

Santa at Disneyland!

Christmas at Disneyland!

Even Santa seemed jollier in Disneyland! 

Santa at Disneyland!

Disneyland truly is a magical place where free spirits abound and silliness is highly recommended!

Disneyland free spirits!

Being silly in Disneyland!

It’s also a place where many come from all walks of life to forget their cares for awhile and enjoy being with loved ones!

Disneyland for Christmas!

We’ll definitely be back someday!

Disney Christmas!

Best Christmas Wishes to Everyone!


Despite the best laid plans, one sad footnote to our fun trip to Disneyland was that my son, Jake, and daughter-in-law, Whitney, weren’t able to join us due to freezing rains in Oklahoma that caused the cancelation of their flight and many others!  We missed you, Jake and Whitney!   Also, Happy Birthday to you today, Whitney!  What a fun life journey you are having!

Disneyland for Christmas!