Lens-Artists Challenge #178 – You Choose

christmas, santa, peppermint, tree
Swinging Santa

“December isn’t magical because it sparkles. It’s magical because it changes people’s hearts … at least momentarily.”

Toni Sorenson

So here we are in December – already! As 2021 draws closer to a close, many of us are busy with things like shopping, wrapping, holiday preparations or perhaps (hopefully) with traveling and visiting or hosting family. As such, the Lens-Artists team is inviting you to post on a subject of your own choosing. Feel free to use your imagination to take your post anywhere you’d like – we look forward to lots of variety! Personally, I’ve chosen to focus on some fond Christmas memories, both for the fun of it and to help myself get into the spirit of the holidays.

red and green, christmas, decorations
All Things Bright And Beautiful

“When you live gratefully and joyfully, every day is a holiday.”

Marty Rubin

Christmas was always very special while my four brothers and I were growing up. While young we were in bed early on Christmas Eve, eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival. Once we figured out how Christmas morning really happened we’d wait for our younger siblings to nod off, then tiptoe downstairs to help mom and dad with the real work. We believed Santa brought EVERYTHING. Imagine putting up and decorating the tree, bringing down the presents from their hiding places, putting together bikes and train sets and heaven knows what else, all beginning at 9 pm on Christmas Eve!

pine cone, tree branch

“Whatever the grinch can steal, it’s not Christmas”

Sophie Kinsella

Once we were all old enough we attended Midnight Mass as a family and afterwards each opened one of our gifts. Those days are long behind me but are alive and well in my memory. The season included treats like a Christmas calendar that we took turns changing each day, the annual visit to Santa, and moving the Mary and Joseph statuettes around the house every evening until they reached the manger Christmas Eve. Somehow baby Jesus was always there on Christmas morning. No Elf-on-the-shelf back in those days!

reindeer, Rudolph, red nose
Rudolph??? Is that YOU???

“Every day is a gift. But some days are packaged better.”

Sanhita Baruah

Every day is indeed a gift – but some create memories that last a lifetime….what greater gift could there possibly be?! We look forward to seeing what the week will bring as you gift us with posts that suit your own fancy. Please be sure to link them to this one, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you in the WP reader. We thank you for sharing your celebrations last week in response to Amy’s challenge, and look forward to next week when Patti will be back at the helm on her Pilotfish blog. Until then, please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the holiday season.

223 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #178 – You Choose

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  6. Hi Tina

    This is a great challenge you’ve hosted! I like that you’ve said you chose images that help get yourself get into the spirit of the holidays. They do inspire. “Rudolph??? Is that YOU???” is absolutely outstanding. The expression in that buck’s eye speaks volumes, and however did you get him to stand still long enough for you to plant that red nose on his snout?

    Here’s my entry for 178 You Choose this week:

    Beautiful Great Blue Heron… Contortionist?

    Best, Babsje

    • Thanks Laura – I assumed that was a wide-spread practice but I’ve never spoken to anyone else who did it so maybe it was unique to us. In any case, it was a highlight for us as children. We felt very special on the evenings when it was our turn to take them to the next place in their journey to the manger.

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  11. Tina, as always you manage to share some wisdom and beautiful pictures to go with it. We had Santa and Christ in our lives as children. We didn’t really need Santa because we were blessed with three sets of grandparents and one additional great-grandmother. They gave us more presents that any children would ever need, but we never complained about it!

    One of the traditions we had was to pile into our car and drive to see all the beautiful lights and decorations around town and clear into the country where people would decorate their entire flat acres with homemade statues and Christmas symbols lit with thousands and thousands of lights. We attend church on Sunday, but I don’t remember any Christmas eve services until I was older.

    Have a wonderful continuation of your celebrations for Christmas 2021.

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  19. Beautiful words and pictures, Tina. You never fail to deliver something really special with your posts.
    I think next year I am going to throw in the towel and buy an artificial tree. It looks like we won’t be in FL much for the holidays, but I really miss decorating. I’ve decided my minimal efforts just don’t cut it; plus I can’t bear the thought of coming home to a dying tree and all the dropped needles. I need a tree in large part, as you will see in my post, because our ornaments represent so many special memories.
    So from one mixed holiday family to another, Happy Holidays – ALL of them!

    A Trip Around the World, on Our Xmas Tree

    • Thanks so much Karen – your note made me smile as we are in similar situations across the board! Loved your “memory tree” approach. After all, that’s really what Christmas has become as our families have expanded and the holiday is typically celebrated elsewhere. Happy Holidays (all!) to you too!

  20. I really like your post and pictures about your childhood Christmas memories! It reminds me of happy times in our house when everyone was expecting Santa and then all of the excitement of seeing gifts on Christmas Day. Such priceless memories to have!

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    • Many thanks Sarah – I do love Christmas although it seems we decorate just a bit less each year. We’ve always traveled for the holiday since my brothers all have little ones but this year we’re staying close to home. I’ll be sad Christmas Day but happy not to be dealing with the holiday travel rush for a change!

    • I have to comment here, Sarah, as I cannot comment on your blog! It does not work writing there right now, and I have had the same trouble with two other blogs. Interesting games, and spectacular of course. Everything they do has to be. My husband, who also went to North Korea, talked much about the games – and you attended them! Great to see the film clips – and sad too. As you say, with no contact of the rest of the world, they have little to compare with.

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  24. Sounds like someone is ready for Christmas …

    One of Ginny’s friends was Jewish. And, as you know Hanukkah comes before Christmas. She asked him if he, his brother and sisters get the day off if it fell on a weekday. He said they did; it is an excused absence. More importantly, it is the best of both worlds with the two weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s.

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  32. Tina, I enjoyed reading about your childhood memories! Mine are very similar except we helped pick out the tree and decorate it. Our Santa gifts were never wrapped. All of your quotes are wonderful!

    • Well that is VERY interesting that Santa didn’t wrap his presents. What a clever fellow he is! I think today most all homes do their own tree but my parents were really emphatic about that initial WOW as we first came into the room.

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