A Day Of Thanksgiving

Where has the year gone?  Didn’t I just write about my Thanksgiving memories, an American holiday that I embraced in my adopted home for almost twenty years?

Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here in the UK, but for my family, this time of year gives us another excuse for celebration: younger son’s birthday.  Once again, all my chicks will back in the nest, which makes this mum very happy indeed.

In California, the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday as it’s now known) was our traditional day for buying our Christmas tree.  In later years, this meant going to a nearby farm and selecting a living tree and reserving it, but we didn’t bring it home until after son’s birthday on the 29th.

Even so, this was very early by British standards.  It was a novelty for me to see so many people putting up their outside Christmas lights and decorating their trees the day after Thanksgiving.  Here, most people wait until closer to Christmas.

I rather liked the idea of decorating early though, and embraced it soon enough.  Now, I keep to my American ways and get the decs up as soon as possible.

Quite what my distant relatives would have thought of this, I have no idea. The story goes that my great-grandfather waited until Christmas Eve before going to Covent Garden (in London) to select a fresh turkey and a Christmas tree.

Later that evening, the family gathered around the tree, singing carols as they hung the decorations.  It all sounds very traditional, Dickensian even, but my blood runs cold at the very thought: how on earth can anyone pull off Christmas with so little preparation?

Although, if you were to ask my husband, he would say ‘Very easily!’  Indeed, as someone who waits until Christmas Eve to do all his shopping, I would say that he has it down to a fine art.

But enough about that.  Christmas will be here soon enough.  Meanwhile, please know that I shall be thinking of those of you enjoying Thanksgiving tomorrow as you tuck into your turkey with all the trimmings.

Our turn isn’t too far off…but a birthday to celebrate first and then I will take a short break from blogging until next week.  I hope that this holiday season brings some time of rest for my friends on the other side of the shining sea…

My cats have the right idea about relaxation:

Yes, right there, that's the spot... (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Yes, right there, that’s the spot…
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

I am so thankful for the many blessings in my life and for you dear family, friends and loved ones.

Wishing all my dear American friends a very

Happy Thanksgiving!!

See you soon…Love Sherri x

 

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in CATalogue, Family Memoirs, Family Traditions, Friendship and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to A Day Of Thanksgiving

  1. You are still with us in Spirit in here the States at Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful time with your chicks!! And give Birthday “boy” our love. ❤ xoxo

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  2. Andy Oldham says:

    Glad you still think of and enjoy our Thanksgiving Sherri! Blessings!

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  3. mihrank says:

    Enjoy Your Thanksgiving! May your holiday be joyful and may happiness surround it, with good things on your table and those you love around it!

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  4. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving early in October and then it’s onward and forward to Christmas. People tend to put their outside Christmas decorations up early to get ahead of the snow and cold.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, that makes perfect sense Bev! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving last month, I only just found out about the Canadian Thanksgiving. As you say, onward and upward to Christmas 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Sherri! Your cats have the right idea. I wish I could learn from them and relax. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes! I’m looking forward to time with family, time off work, yummy turkey, time to read and time to write.
    Happy Birthday to Nicky! xoxo

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jill, you and me both. They have this amazing ability to get so comfortable, I get quite jealous at times 😛 Have a truly wonderful time with your family, and I really hope that you get to relax and unwind, enjoy good food and get that precious reading and writing time in. And I will be sure to send on your birthday wishes to Nicky, thanks so much Jill. Happy Thanksgiving to you and DFD and I’ll be in touch soon… 🙂 ❤ xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Have a wonder downtime. I’ll be thinking of you. On the other hand, I expect lots of bloggers will be taking downtime, at least those in the States. 😀

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  7. I wonder if it’s a geographical thing, Sherri, about decorating early. We didn’t start until well into December where I grew up. I still resent seeing Christmas ads before Thanksgiving. So you can IMAGINE what I have to say now that they have started popping up before Halloween!!

    I rather like the idea of beginning the festivities on Christmas Eve and having such humble entertainment. I think they could pull it off back then because it wasn’t about the shopping, the wrapping, and the stuff they would get. It was a time when a pudding served as dessert. (Have I seen “A Christmas Carol” too many times??) whereas now dessert often has its own table. OK, so maybe that’s not a bad thing. But you know what I mean – there IS something to be said for celebrating in a more simple, homey way.

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    • Sherri says:

      I definitely know what you mean about too early…Believe it or not, I actually found Christmas cards in shops this year in September…what’s with that?
      Haha…oh Shel, I adore a Christmas Carol and that is just what I think of when I hear stories of the way my great-grandparents celebrated Christmas 🙂 My grandmother and mother used to make Christmas pudding (the traditional plum pudding that you pour brandy on and set light to as you bring it to the table) by steaming them in muslin cloths over a double boiler for hours. I don’t know too many people who do that these days. For one thing, the shops are full of them from every size and even taste, even including one ‘designed’ by a chef for the elite by placing a whole orange in the centre and then steaming it (in the microwave of course) o_O Ahh…for the simple days! I hope you are enjoying a time of true rest and relaxation and a very Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you Shel for your wonderful comment 🙂

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      • Thank YOU for that interesting (and educational!) description, Sherri! As you probably know, plum pudding isn’t as popular a custom here. And, I would venture to say, not adhered to all in Oklahoma!

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      • Sherri says:

        Oh Shel, you always make me laugh 🙂 Haha..well, actually, I’m not sure why we still serve plum pudding as the kids can’t stand it, and neither could I when I was young, so it’s just hubby and I, and my mother if she is with us. But nowadays we buy them ready made…just as nice and much cheaper than buying all the millions of ingredients,most of which I would only use the once 😉 Hope you had a super Thanksgiving 😉

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  8. Happy Thanksgiving Sherri and happy birthday to the birthday boy. Christmas has started to start early here as well. Immediately Halloween is over. This was a celebration we did not follow until recently and I wonder how long it will be before we too are tucking into turkey for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with all the chicks in the nest. Enjoy your break and come back refreshed. We’ll walk on your return. ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I do wonder if a version of Thanksgiving will make its way to our neck of the woods. One thing I’ve noticed here for the first time is all the advertising for ‘great deals’ on ‘Black Friday’ tomorrow. It’s not even a holiday here…
      Ahh…thank you so much my friend,..I will be certain to send on your happy birthday wishes to Nicky…and yes, I shall look forward to our walk very much. You have a lovely weekend too and see you soon ❤

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  9. jennypellett says:

    Enjoy your celebrations, Sherri xx

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  10. Mabel Kwong says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Sherri. It sounds like you have a lot lined up during this festive season, lots of loving visits from family, delicious treats and uplifting conversations all round. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas – most of my Chinese Malaysian family don’t see these celebrations as too much of a significant event. Though I remember when I was younger my parents did buy me presents in December, so I did have a taste of Christmas growing up 🙂 The festive season is about slowing down and being greatful for what you have to me today in Australia, on the “other side of the shining sea”, as you put it 🙂

    Happy Birthday to your son, I am sure he will have a very happy special day. Good luck with your Christmas shopping. The bigger the present isn’t always the better. It’s always the thought that counts but I’m sure you knew that already 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much as always for your delightful comment Mabel and I will be sure to send on your kind birthday wishes to my son 🙂 You’re absolutely right of course, what is most important is the time we have with loved ones. For me, every day I get to spend with each of my children is a celebration and a time for joy, thanksgiving and laughter and just being silly 😉 I’m glad you received some presents in December but yes, it is definitely not about the size of the gift but the loving thoughts behind it. Life is hard enough for us all both sides of the ‘shining sea’ so taking these opportunities to slow down and enjoy one another’s company without thinking about all the sales and ‘great deals’ advertised on TV is a true gift. Have a lovely weekend which I hope will be filled with smiles and joy. See you soon dear Mabel 🙂

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      • Mabel Kwong says:

        That was a very heartfelt comment. You certainly love your family, Sherri. And I’m sure they love you too and appreciate it when you are there for them. Don’t think of us but enjoy your time off this festive season and I’m sure you’ll come back with many stories to share with us 🙂

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      • Sherri says:

        Bless you Mabel…have a beautiful week my dear 🙂 ❤

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  11. Rachel M says:

    Happy thanksgiving, Sherri!

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  12. cardamone5 says:

    Happy ex-pat Thanksgiving to you and your family. Happy birthday to your son as well.

    Love,
    E

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Elizabeth…I like that ex-pat greeting and I’ll be sure to send on your birthday wishes to my son! Happy Thanksgiving and love to you and your family 🙂

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  13. Wishing you all the best for thanksgiving, Sherri, and your son on his birthday. It’s a double birthday next week for me and Mister, as we have the same birthday (10 years apart), plus we got married on our joint birthday so it’s also our wedding anniversary. My son is insisting upon taking us out for a meal this weekend.

    You’ll be horrified to hear that we don’t have a Christmas tree, or decorations. But we’re all quite happy with this, as long as the food is good! Sometimes people who have memories of over-the-top Christmas(s) as children, with relatives falling out and arguing, just want something low-key and peaceful. We have lots of music to do, though, including singing carols at The Grand Hotel to the guests on Christmas Eve, so that’s all pretty festive.

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    • Sherri says:

      Many thanks for your kind wishes Sarah, I’ll be sure to send them on to my son 🙂 What a wonderful celebration you have coming up next week…wow! How about that for coincidence that you and Mister both have the same birthdays now shared with your wedding anniversary…and what a wonderful gift from your son 🙂
      it sounds as if you have just the kind of Christmases you all want, and tree or no tree, then that is the most important thing. I do enjoy getting our tree but we have had more than a few disasters over the years…a blog post idea right there, haha 😉
      I have many difficult memories of Christmas, mostly because of my dad’s drinking, yet I also have many very happy ones. I wanted to give my children wonderful Christmases and I did my best (bringing in my British traditions to them mixed in with the American ones when we lived there) but it was so often a time of great stress between my now ex-husband (their father) and I. I’m amazed quite frankly that my kids enjoy Christmas as much as they do, but we have always had low key, restful family times enjoying celebrating and being together and yes, enjoying lots of good food 🙂 To me, singing carols is a huge part of the season and that is one thing we used to do but no longer do sadly, so I think what you do is absolutely lovely. I brought my piano back with me from the States but I haven’t played in years. I do have some Christmas carol sheets of music…who knows, perhaps I shall dust them off this year and bring back something special this year, thanks to you! Wishing you and Mister a very Happy Birthday and wedding anniversary for next week and have a wonderful weekend celebrating 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bless you, Sherri, with all your kind wishes 🙂 Ditto for me re male relatives in the past who wreck Christmas by drinking too much. Hence my desire for peace.
        Play that old piano, Sherri, although you will probably find your fingers don’t co-operate at first, having not played for a long time. I learned up to Grade 7, but you wouldn’t think so listening to me now!

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      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…thanks for your encouragement Sarah…and Grade 7, wow, that is great! I bet you play very well 🙂 I only played songs that I learnt myself from reading the music when my middle boy was taking lessons (I used to play the flute so I had some background of reading music) but now I’ve forgotten nearly all of it, been so long. But…you just never know! Hope you had a lovely weekend, I’ll be in touch… 🙂

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  14. Hee… As I was reading about your great-grandfather heading to Covent Garden, selecting a turkey and a tree, I was thinking “How Dickensian”. 🙂 That’s the way it was done. Of course, they usually had a wreath for the door and a tree (maybe some fresh garland) so you could pull it off easily. Today…I don’t think people could get all their decorations out in an hour or two the night before. It would be incredibly stressful to try.

    Happy Birthday to your son! ⭐

    Enjoy this time with your family.

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  15. Thanksgiving is a special holiday in our family. In addition to the standard turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy, we all agree to bring “new or unusual” side dishes (and copies of the recipe to hand out). We’ve had delicious, strange, and funny side dishes through the years…and lots of laughter to go with it.
    A very happy time with your family, Sherri.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you Marylin, and I shall be thinking of you today as you gather around your family table, filled not only with all those amazing ‘new or unusual’ side dishes (and what a unique and wonderful idea, but then I would expect nothing less from you!) to accompany the turkey and all the trimmings, but also with all the love, joy and laughter shared between you all. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours dear friend 🙂

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  16. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in South Africa; wish we did though. Enjoy the birthday celebrations. ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes…I wish we did too! Still, it’s good we have Christmas to look forward to and thanks very much Michelle, we had a lovely birthday celebration. I hope you had a lovely weekend too 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. We do have so much to be thankful for, so I’ve embraced this great American tradition. We had a wonderful meal with good friends here. I love the photo of your cats. 🙂 xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you Sylvia, and I’m so glad you had a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving. I thought of you, sure that you enjoy embracing ths wonderful holiday. We do indeed have so much to be grateful for…every day of the year 🙂 xx

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  18. Happy Thanksgiving Sherri. I think a grateful heart doesn’t need a nationality to reflect on blessings. As far as decorating early, I must wait til after Thanksgiving. I like the pumpkins, corn stalks, hay bales, colored leaves, everything associated with autumn way too much to jump into Christmas too soon. I hope you have a glorious weekend.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, you are so right Renee. A grateful heart is indeed something we should nurture every single day for all our many blessings. I’m with you and all the autumn seasonal decorations, a beautiful time of year. I always wait until after Thanksgiving and my son’s birthday before getting ready for Christmas…and thank you so much, we did indeed have a glorious weekend and I hope that your Thanksgiving was just the same 🙂

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  19. Hope you had a great day Sherri, it is nice to keep traditions running. Love the cats and often say to mine would you like to swap bodies for the day and I could lie in the sun all day.

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  20. TanGental says:

    This will be a first. Christmas day without either child, off with other halves. They both feel the guilt. Ha! Still it lets me with at Crisis for another couple of shifts and to choose the Christmas movie! Hope thanksgiving is/was (not sure which way is up just now) grand.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…how times a change don’t they? Heap that guilt on, I say… I don’t take for granted for one second having all my chicks home for Christmas…but I do like your idea of being able to help out at Crisis (how many times have we talked about it and never done it?) And as for choosing the Christmas movie, well, that surely is a huge plus 🙂 Thanks Geoff, we had a lovely birthday celebration with my big/little boy, ha 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  21. TanGental says:

    Oh and I’m staying in a hobbit burrow pic to follow!

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  22. Happy Thanksgiving Sherri. Yes, no matter what county we live now, everyday is a reason and opportunity to be thankful for. Love your family tradition of buying a Christmas tree after Thanksgiving. Most would be focus on getting their dream TV and other high tech gadgets but today, I discovered a tradition that creates many happy beautiful holiday memories. Have a blessed weekend my friend and all the best to your family.

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    • Sherri says:

      Absolutely my friend, every day is indeed a blessing and cause to be so very thankful for all we have been given. Yes, I’m afraid that Black Friday has crossed our shores but I can’t stand all the materialism and the way the world is going. Family times such as Thanksgiving and Christmas should be all about spending time together as a family, goodness knows we can spend our entire lives shopping! Ahh…well, I ‘m so glad that I was able to share this tradition with you. We wait a bit longer now in the UK as our homes get quite warm with the central heating and I don’t want to end up with a fried tree by the time Christmas Day arrives, lol 😉 We had a wonderful weekend, thank you so much, and I hope you did too…bless you always… 🙂

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  23. Jennifer says:

    Thing is, the winters here on the East Coast and the tundra of Canada are so long and gloomy that the Christmas lights and trimmings do cheer up the neighbourhoods greatly and we get to enjoy them longer 🙂 Of course, we beat the Americans to Thanksgiving here in Canada – our’s is the 2nd week in October and of course more low key 🙂 xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, that is a great point Jennifer and I do love to see all those lovely lights, so welcoming and bringing such cheer 🙂 I didn’t know about the Canadian Thanksgiving until quite recently. I hope you had a lovely celebration and that you are already enjoying your beautiful Christmas lights… 🙂

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  24. prior says:

    thanks for the wishes – and I enjoyed your post – my mom also used to wait until Xmas eve for the tree – and we did not mind a bit. BUt my husband – not he other hand – he likes to do the outside lights right after Thanksgiving (unless it falls really early like it does in some years). and we tried to move away from having a tree, but my youngest son wanted one still and so hey – why not!! ha! but the outdoor lights have been a special treat because one day about 8 or 9 years ago I was telling my husband he should not waste his time. He does not go overboard – but does hang some lights. anyhow, that same week I was coming home and pulled up to his lights – it was a cold dark and wet day – and his lights brought me so much joy – and I realized how beautiful they are and realized that the sparkles offered a wonderful lift for the month of December – and it helped me to see how worth the effort some things are!! 🙂

    anyhow, happy bday to your son..
    and I loved this
    “all my chicks will be back in the nest”

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…so you see Y, this is what it’s all about, the joy that these lights bring, especially on those ‘cold, dark and wet days’ and how much the tree meant to your young son ❤ I do love that part of the season and I also like to think of the message behind all the lights, as in the birth of Christ and his gift of light to a dark world. And thank you so much, yes, we had a lovely family time…and haha, yes, now my babies have fledged once more and flown the coop but will be back in the nest again for Christmas. So we are blessed indeed mon amie. Have a beautiful week and I'll see you soon 🙂 ❤ 😉

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  25. Denise says:

    Christmas prep is interesting. In the “Mummy blogging” corner of the world, people are talking about the pressure they are putting themselves under to make hand made decorations, just because all the other blogs in their “linky” are. When it gets to that point, I’m afraid I don’t see the point. So long as there is lovely food (I admit that takes some planning and people you love, I don’t see what else you need.
    I am actually puzzling over how I am going to buy a tree next year – how am I going to get it home without a car? And accepting a delivery van just off the High Street could be more stressful than it’s worth…

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…’Mummy Blogging’. Now that is something I am not privvy to for obvious reasons but I’m not surprised at this pressure. I’m so glad I didn’t have, or even know about, blogging when I was a young mummy, the pressure must be intense. I would drop out. Like you, I just wouldn’t see the point. Way too much stress.
      Yes, I can see your dilemma…have you definitely decided not to have a car once you move? Makes sense, I can see that. Are you up for a ‘fake’ tree? You can get some good ones now. Or maybe a small, living one. Says I who likes a nice, big fresh nordmann fir…but we did go down the fake route for years and that was fine too. I hope things are going well for you Denise with the move and everything. I’ll be in touch… 🙂

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      • Denise says:

        Fake tree is so the way I am thinking. Living in the town is much cleaner than the countryside – all the mud and nature, and I am looking forward to an easy life. Obviously you can’t have a fake tree living in the middle of the countryside, it would look silly.
        I look forward to having you round!

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      • Sherri says:

        I think you are definitely on the right track Denise…and yes, I can’t wait to come over 🙂

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  26. Yolanda M. says:

    Our neighbours (bless them all) have got EVERYTHING up and running already – outside lights, giant inflatable snowmen, fake reindeer, Christmas trees up…and I have yet to look at getting a tree. I just can’t do it before the 15th Dec which is when my family in Europe do it. Happy (belated?) Birthday wishes to your son 😀

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    • Sherri says:

      Wow…that is totally Christmased out…if there is such a word! I’ll start getting things out slowly now that my son has had his birthday (and thank you Yolanda for your kind birthday wishes 🙂 ) but I’m going to wait on the tree until the good deals come out 😀

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  27. Marie Keates says:

    We never start thinking about Christmas until after my youngest son’s birthday on 28 November

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Charli Mills says:

    A tad late poking over here, but I hope you got to enjoy your Libby pumpkin pie! It was ridiculous, but I made two pies…for two people! Oh, i love to get out the decorations and the holiday music. My kids all groan. Last year, they were all here so we went out to the forest service lands with our $5 permit and cut down a beautiful, huge tree. It was so huge, Todd had to cut it down considerably to get it to fit in our house! I waited until the kids all left to drag out the lights, the decs, the CDs. I was nearly done when I got a phone call…my eldest and her husband hit a rock driving back to Montana and it damaged both tire and rim. They had to get towed all the way back to Sandpoint and had no cell service until they got to the tire shop that was closed, being a Sunday. So I ran into to town and got them, excited to have them another night. They were shocked when they got to the house! Christmas had arrived! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…oh Charli, you sound so much like me. (And yes, thank you, the pie was delicious and went down a treat!) We don’t get the tree as early as we used to in the States, but we will be getting it this weekend. I love how you get to cut down your tree in the forest like that, and what a wonderful, heartwarming story you tell! Haha…I can just imagine their faces….they left at Thanksgiving and returned hours later at Christmas!!! You’ve got me smiling from ear to ear with it…in fact, I think I’m going to put on some Christmas music right now, just thinking of it. Wonderful 🙂 ❤

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  29. Norah says:

    How nice to have the family together. That is definitely something to be thankful for. I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating your son’s birthday. How lovely to have his birthday as a marker to prepare for Christmas. Seems the timing is just right. Move on from one celebration to the next. You can never have too much to celebrate. December 1 seems to be the day that most families here put up their tree and decorations. I would think that if I waited until Christmas Eve the effort would not be worth it. I was very fortunate to have all my offspring (2 children and 2 grandchildren) here earlier in the week helping to put up the tree. It looks beautiful, especially because they were all here to help! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh..thank you so much Norah, we had a wonderful family time together and yes, now to focus on Christmas! How lovely that you had your family to help you. My daughter, who lives with us, loves to help (she is 22) and we will be doing that this weekend. Can’t wait. I love all the lights and decorations and coming downstairs in the morning to see the tree lit up (hubby gets up very early and turns it on for me). I love too that when my boys leave after the birthday celebrations that it won’t be too long when we are all together again for Christmas. As you rightly say Norah, we can never have too many celebrations 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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