Lens-Artists Challenge # 128 – Here Comes the Holiday Season


“A holiday is an opportunity to journey within.” 


How lovely of Ann-Christine to offer us an opportunity to remember holidays past and to think about those of 2020 and the years ahead. For me, the holidays cover a wide range of traditions. Our kids and my husband’s family are in New York, and we begin the holidays celebrating Chanukah with them. From there we head south to New Jersey where my large family has gathered for Christmas every year until this one, no exceptions. Unfortunately this year it’s zoom calls all round instead.


“One candle can light another. See how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” 

Moshe Davis

My parents, who sadly are no longer with us, always made a major fuss for Christmas. With 5 children, so long as any of us believed in Santa there were neither gifts nor a tree to be seen before Christmas morning. As we grew up, it was a big treat to pretend to sleep until the little ones dozed off, only to sneak downstairs to help mom and dad decorate the tree and distribute the gifts. Imagine how tired they must have been on Christmas day! Once we’d all grown up it became our tradition to attend Midnight Mass followed by hot chocolate and shared memories of Christmases past.


“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” 

Janice Maeditere

Last year our visit to New York, in addition to precious time with family, included a stop at the Oculus, which was beautifully decorated for the holiday. To me it looked like a Currier and Ives painting come to life. I’ve included a small part of it in the image above.


“Often, it is through simple and unrecognized miracles that we are able to feel the warmth of hope and light.” 

Rabbi Rafael Goldstein

Our family hosts in New Jersey really get into the spirit of the holiday. They prepare a full dinner for 26 of us, including our libations of choice – fully dressed for the occasion 😊. We all participate in a “white elephant” exchange – where we try to present an original or humorous gift to the person whose name we’ve drawn. That’s my husband below, who once received a framed magazine cover with his head and mine attached to muscle-bound bodies. If only!


“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” 

Marjorie Holmes

Before heading north, back on Kiawah much of the holiday revolves around golf. In addition to the ladies-only Holiday Mixer I featured last week, we also have a couples ” Santa Open”. We begin with a pot-luck dinner at the home of a participating couple. It’s followed the next day with the first of two days of golf . We finish with an awards dinner at a local restaurant ending with some enthusiastically if poorly sung Christmas Caroling 🎶🎶.


“It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.”

Agnes M. Pharo

That’s me above and with my husband below, during last year’s Santa Open. Sadly this was the first time in 20 years we were unable to hold the event. But like many things we’re hoping it will be back in 2021.


“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. “

Helen Keller

We look forward to sharing your holiday memories and plans. Remember to link them to Ann-Christine’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. I’ll close by wishing everyone the happiest of holidays, Covid notwithstanding. Remember that by staying home the loved ones you save may be your own. Surely they are with you in spirit as you are with them.

The Lens-artists team will be enjoying a holiday next week and will return on Saturday, January 2. I’ll be your host here on Travels and Trifles and the challenge will be  “Favorite Photos of 2020”. Until then, we thank each and every one of you for your support and creativity as our community has grown throughout the year. Wishing everyone a joyful holiday and a Happy New Year. Here’s to 2021!

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111 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge # 128 – Here Comes the Holiday Season

  1. Pingback: Beautiful Great Blue Herons’ Whimsical Holiday Retrospective | Babsje Heron

  2. Pingback: The Journey is a State of Mind: Guest Hosting for #WQWWC #5 New Beginnings | A Day in the Brine

  3. Being able to read this on Boxing Day is nice, your opening quote even more important this year: “A holiday is an opportunity to journey within.”
    While this year was more quiet, it was still so special. Wonderful photos you have showing the great feeling of the season, with my favorite being the White Elephant gift, sometimes they are just perfect and provide laughter for the day and for years that follow 🙂

    • So true Randall. As a fortunate family we are blessed to have few real needs so we have chosen to make Christmas a fun challenge as far as gifts are concerned. It is the gift of being together that is most precious – especially now that it has been denied in 2020. Here’s to a future of togetherness for us all.

  4. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-128-The-Christmas-Season – WoollyMuses

  5. ALWAYS a pleasure to read your blog post and see such beautiful photos. In India ..we too celebrate Festival of Lights ( knowledge over darkness). see my Diwali blog at leisure. Merry Xmas and safe , happy New Year

    • Many thanks Svetlana – it was fun to think about holidays past and to look forward to holidays future. As for this year…..meh! But still it’s nice to feel the holidays around us and the music does always make me smile. Wishing you a fabulous 2021!!

  6. Dear Tina ji, Happy Holidays Merry Christmas and a Hopefully Happy New Year Insha allah. In much grief for the tragic loss of our son in law in the prime of his life yet our faith teaches us that this is the harsh reality we must accept.Life moves on as has moved on since life itself began. Covid 19 has killed many. Sharing my Alphabetic post.

  7. Nice family traditions, They are grand. But, I must say you had a killer body on the magazine cover, lol. 🙂 Being a Navy man, I do notice things like that. 😉 😉

    Deborah and Elizabeth got to celebrate Christmas twice, once on the Roman calendar, the other on the Orthodox calendar, which observes it shortly after the new year begins. Andrea comes from a strong Greek Orthodox family, so our girls got a bit of both religious traditions. And, when George and Angela celebrate Orthodox Christmas, they made it into a grand affair. My mom and dad had to attend because they are family too. After dinner, before dessert, George had my dad and the three sons-in-law join him on the back porch for cigars. Though dad and I had “smoking experience”, lighting up a cigar was fairly okay for us. Madolyn’s husband and Bella’s husband aren’t smokers. Fun part was watching George trying to teach them how to smoke. George must’ve known somebody to get Cubanos (from Cuba) for the occasion. Talk about a smooth smoking cigar, with none of the odor associated with cigars. Even after Andrea and I divorced, they always made sure I was part of the family celebrations. And, when I married Laurie, they made it known she and Tara are part of the family too. Lots of stories I can tell you. (I don’t think WP has the bandwidth to handle all the stories, lol.)

    Have a great Christmas Week!

    PS – I didn’t get to making Christmas cards this time around. Instead, they will be New Year’s cards. If you want one, let me know. 🙂

    • LOL, if only David! Even in my best years I didn’t look quite like that! Lucky you for having such a big and friendly family. Many others would envy your ability to mix with your ex’s. Ours is big as well and while it might make some a bit crazy, we love our get-togethers. Wishing you all the best for the holidays and into the New Year.

  8. All roads lead to the gold course, Santa on the driver’s seat. Thank goodness we have all this new live connector in social media where we can have a party and there is app for that. Merry Christmas, Tina.

    • Thank goodness indeed Perpetua – the internet has truly saved us during the pandemic. This year Christmas day will probably have network traffic much more than in the past. Both because families will be connecting and because those who are normally online typically take Christmas day away from their computers. There is indeed an app for that! Merry Christmas to you too Perpetua, and a joyful New Year.

  9. Your decor looks wonderful, Tina, and your traditions sound glorious! For years we’ve stayed in San Diego during Christmas but those days are gone for a while. Hard to maintain your own traditions when you travel. I sure like the idea of golfing on the links during Christmas though! Merry Christmas 🌲

    • Thanks Terri – truth be told tho, the decor is my sister-in-law’s. Since we travel (usually) for the holidays ours are quite minimal. The good news though is we don’t have the “tear down” issues many of our friends do LOL. Happiest of holidays to you too.

  10. A wonderful heart warming post, Tina! I love your C&I presentation of the Oculus, a fun take on the nostalgia of Christmases past. May you enjoy 2020’s version and best wishes to you and your family for 2021!

  11. Beautiful traditions and lovely memories, Tina! Yes, we are hoping for a Better New Year, but until then, lets get festive with what we have. Love that “Christmas Card” from Currier and Ives – but I think most of all I loved your stories of how the holidays usually are held with you. And being a cover girl?! Great! My mother was a cover girl once in the 50’s. But yours was great fun! Merry Christmas and wishes for a Better Year, 2021, Tina. Thank you for for another great year together! ♥ Take good care of each other – the whole family.

    • Thanks very much Sheetal – the white elephant became a bit of a necessity as our family grew LOL. It’s become a fun tradition which we’ll miss this year among many other things. That said, we are happy to be healthy and looking forward to a much-improved new year! Happy Holidays and all the best for 2021

  12. We will be staying in Arizona for the holidays and “Zooming” for Christmas. It will be only the second time since we retired that we’ve not headed back north for the holidays. Take care and Merry Christmas!

    Your team needs a well-deserved holiday break. For all of you on the LAPC team: Thanks for spending the year coming up with weekly challenges. Have a safe and happy 2021!

    • Many thanks John – like you, we are staying put. Sad but necessary if we are to enjoy the holidays for years to come. We sincerely appreciate your steadfast support of our challenge, and especially your taking on the guest host role. Wishing you much happiness this holiday season and a safe and happy 2021 as well.

  13. This internet thing, I think it has a really good part, it allows us to know how close we can be with people from all over the world. How much we have in common, especially when we talk about feelings, because we may have different customs, but when we talk about family, friends, longings and love… we all understand each other very well. And when these feelings are shared, it makes us feel less alone.
    Thank you very much for sharing your Christmas with us. Best wishes for these dates and especially take care of you very much. 🙂

    • That is so true Ana, at heart we are all much the same, and sharing does help us to feel less alone. So long as we stay away from the “fake news” sites we’ll all be fine. Wishing you much happiness and a much improved 2021.

  14. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #128: Holidays – Calling-all-RushBabes

  15. Hey T-Bear, Loved these. Particularly the last couple which brought fond memories of years gone by. And had a chuckle at the muscle thing. What a handsome duo. Love ya. Happy Hols Dar

    Sent from my iPad

  16. Merry Christmas, Tina. I’m so happy to have met you all and view all your beautiful pictures. Your picture in the center of the mall looks unreal. If it weren’t for the life-like people in the picture I’d swear it was a Hallmark scene My husband would buy it and put it under the tree along with his other houses and his train. Each picture is festive in its own way with it’s special memory. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

    • Thanks so much Marsha – the scene was so like a Christmas card – I’ve never seen such a festive array! A Happy Christmas and New Year to you and yours as well. Post a photo with his trains please!

      • I will look through my photos. Do yours hide? Mine seem to. I remember certain pictures and go back where I think they are stored, and I can’t find them. This year will be subdued more because we are moving Dec. 23 from Cindy’s house to ours than COVID. Lots of love to you and yours for Christmas and to all the Lens-Artists. 🙂

  17. Happy Holidays, Tina! Love your quote from Moshe Davis, “…you are such a light” is such a meaningful way to end his words. And your lead photo – Santa Reigns – has such a sense of immediacy that I swear the scent has crept into my room.
    Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays. Thanks for the many inspiring posts from all of the Lens Artists this year.
    Heres my submission for this week:

    Best, Babsje

  18. Pingback: Beautiful Great Blue Heron Wishing Peace on Earth (Not Art Nbr 26) | Babsje Heron

  19. Stay safe and well this holiday season Tina and hopefully 2021 will see a turn for the better. We are lucky enough to be able to spend Christmas with our family in NZ but we’ll be thinking of all of you who can’t. All the best.

  20. Lovely post. I will miss traveling to upstate New York this year for Christmas, one of my options for family including Alaska, California, South Dakota and Minnesota. I try to rotate each year. Have a merry Christmas and a wonderful 2021.

    • Thanks so much Anne, glad you enjoyed. This yearI’m afraid it’s no family at all but at least some of our friends are in the same situation so we’ll be sharing the holidays with them. All the best to you and yours for the holidays and into the New Year

  21. A beautiful set of photos, Tina. Love your traditional family gathering and Santa event, I am sure they will be back next year. That framed magazine is so humorous!! A great photo of you and your husband. 🙂 We are staying home for Christmas and look forward the celebration in 2021.

    • Many thanks Sharon – and the same to you and Bill. I’m guessing you’ll be among the few lucky ones to be with family this year – at least I hope so. Have a wonderful 2021 as well.

  22. Tina–this was so much fun! I love that magazine cover, too! Back in NJ, we used to go to my paternal grandmother’s house in Newark. When she got a bit too old to do the cooking for her 4 kids and their families, my uncle used to have her at his house in Fords and we would all go there. Sadly, too many of them are gone and I don’t go back to NJ anymore. You know how to make the most out of the holiday! Have a wonderful Christmas, Tina! 🎅🤶🎄

    • Thanks Lois – yes traveling the NY/NJ corridor can be quite a challenge during the holidays but being with family makes it worth doing. I will miss them a great deal this year but not the road time!!! Happy Christmas to you Lois and all the best for 2021

  23. Christmas is such a jolly time for family, Tina. I love your family traditions of traveling up and down the states. Even though living apart, getting together for Christmas keep us close together. Sorry for missing the golfing fun this year just like everything else. What a fun magazine cover with you and your husband on it. Happy Holidays!

    • Many thanks Miriam. Honestly, the traveling over the holidays is very stressful but the end result of being with our families makes it worthwhile. You do not even want to THINK about traffic in the northeastern US during the Christmas holidays! All the best to you this holiday and in the new year.

      • Exactly, Tina. One year it was snowing in Portland, OR, on the day of y daughter flight coming to CA. The flight was canceled. But there was another flight coming via Seattle. I asked her to cancel and rebook the trip at a later day. I didn’t want her to get stuck in Seattle all by herself.
        We now travel to Portland for Christmas because they now have two very young kids. We canceled our trip this year though.
        Happy Holidays to you and your family!

      • Mother Nature often interrupts our holiday plans Miriam, but never as aggressively as this year! Sorry about your cancellation this year, ours is also cancelled. But we are happy to at least have zoom as an option. All the best to you and yours this holiday season Miriam

  24. Love seeing you as a Cover Girl for a magazine and as an avid golfer. Here’s hoping you’ll have that Santa Open next year. And, oh my, how I love that Currier and Ives set-up in the mall! What fun! It’s interesting to read how people are celebrating Christmas or any holiday this year, but I’m thinking we may all have something in common: it will be different! Wishing you and your husband the very best no matter where you are or how you celebrate. Happy Holidays!

    • Many thanks Rusha – we did get a hearty laugh over the magazine cover! That year one of my brothers gave his sister-in-law a photo of himself (he’s 60) sitting on Santa’s lap. She displays it every Christmas and we all laugh all over again. you’re so right. This Christmas will be very different. But we can look forward to many more in the future, fingers crossed. All the best to you and Bert this holiday season.

  25. What lovely family traditions you have Tina. Hope you enjoy the festive season this year however you can and that next year we will all be living a little more normally. I would like to think that this year people will realise that it is not the spending of loads of money on gifts that often get discarded, or too much food and drink that make us grumpy and tired, but that the season is for sharing and caring and loving. The simple things in life. But I suspect, much like everyone was enjoying the first lockdown and the wonderful changes it brought to the natural world, but went straight back to driving and flying and shopping once it was over, that Christmas will return to normal next year with all the unnecessary excesses.
    Stay well xx

    • Wouldn’t that be nice Jude?! I fear the human memory is a bit shorter than we’d like though, so it may be that next year is more over-the-top than ever since everyone will remember missing this year’s festivities. Time will tell. In the meanwhile you be well too, and enjoy the best of the Holiday Season and a wonderful new year.

  26. Wishing you and yours a Happy/Healthy Holiday Season & Happy/Healthy 2021! I love how you started your post with a traditional looking menorah (or Hanukiah as it is called in Hebrew which denotes that it has 9 candlesticks for Chanukah/Hanukkah vs. a menorah which is the 7 branch one from the Temple times).

    • Thank you Chava. I had no idea about the 7-branch menorah but now that you mention it, my husband reminded me that our guide in Israel told us the same thing. Wishing you too a wonderful Holiday and a wonderful 2021. Let’s hope we’re rounding the corner to a better year very soon.

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