Laura Haley-McNeil

12/11/16, December Birthdays

Hello, Everyone!

As I say every year, I can’t believe how quickly this year has passed. I blink, and it’s summer. I blink, and it’s Christmas. I hope you are all enjoying the holidays, whether it’s spending it with family and friends, or traveling or volunteering. There are so many activities that I don’t realize until the end of the year that I should’ve limited my calendar. At least I have the month of January to recuperate. My family celebrates three birthdays in January, soon to be four with the arrival of my grandnephew, and then we set aside some time for snow skiing, but other than that it tends to be quiet, if you don’t count the day job and finding time to write.

December for our family starts with a birthday. This year my grandniece turns five. Her parents schedule a family birthday, which was last weekend, and a party for her friends this weekend. Are these great parents? This makes birthdays seem like they last forever, especially when you’re five years old. When we arrived at my nephew’s house for the party, my grandniece greeted us at door. She had the very important assignment of being the gift taker, which she did very well, and then set all the gifts in a special place in the dining room. I had bought her a Frozen jewelry box, which included stickers and other ornaments to be fastened to the box. I’m never quite sure what to buy the grandnieces and grandnephews. Clothes always seem like a safe bet, but not very exciting when you’re five. My grandniece and older sister like to wear tulle dresses. I’m assuming because they take ballet lessons. I like the more modern outfits. I bought her a cute red sweater dress with gold thread woven throughout the fabric. It also had leggings. That to me is the perfect wardrobe ensemble – a dress with leggings, but of course it looks much cuter on a five year old. Then, I bought her a pink knit cap with matching gloves. As expected, she wasn’t too thrilled about the clothes, but the jewelry box impressed her. Yay! A win for great Aunt Laura. I also gave her a Frozen birthday card that sang a song from the movie. I haven’t seen the movie, but I think I’d better. It’s been out for several years and the merchandising is still making the creators a ton of money. Somebody had a great idea! Not so great for my grandniece’s parents. I’m sure they’re tired of hearing the Frozen song, which plays every time the card is opened.

The bittersweet of Christmas is the loss of my mother six years ago. Her birthday was Christmas Eve. To celebrate, she always had a smorgasbord set up in the dining room with ham, and turkey and the most delicious crabmeat balls I’ve ever tasted. Those never remained long on the buffet table. She also loved to bake and made an incredible New York cheesecake that, again, was the best I’ve ever tasted. Christmas Eve was an open house at our house, with family and friends dropping in throughout the day. We had a piano in the living room, so someone would play Christmas carols or other songs and we’d sing and talk and drink eggnog. The children didn’t drink the same eggnog as the adults. My mother loved to be around people. She was gracious and kind and always smiled. Joy radiated from her. My mother was the middle child of nine children. Her family was poor and didn’t celebrate birthdays. Because her birthday was the day before Christmas, she said it felt like a birthday party for her. Her brothers and sisters loved her. Although no one has ever said, I often thought she received special treatment because of her Christmas Eve birthday. Maybe that’s why she made sure Christmas and birthdays were special for us. What a special memory she left for her six children, her ten grandchildren and now six and counting great-grandchildren.

I hope you had a chance to read the Crystal Creek Boxed Set. It’s a set of the first three books of the series, and it’s still on sale at a bargain price. At this price, it’s a great idea for an e-stocking stuffer. I appreciate your support.

With the fast approaching holidays, I hope the season finds you in good spirits with wonderful holiday plans that bring joy as you wind down the year. Have a wonderful holiday and a great week!



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