But if leftovers are remnants, parts and pieces lingering from a bigger entity, we all bring them home every day in the fragile form of memories. The best ones are lovingly collected and revisited time and again. They are shared, compared, and recorded.
I have leftovers filling my heart right now. Christmas 2013 has gifted me generously with moments to actively celebrate what I expressed gratitude for at the Thanksgiving table one mere month ago....faith, family, friends, and the peace, love, and security that each one of these brings home for safekeeping.
Doctor James Dobson believes that "a family should maintain a variety of traditions that give each member a sense of identity and belonging." Amen! This year we honored not only traditions of the past, but new ones as well, recognizing that the youngest among us are growing in capability and enthusiasm for the season.
Aunt Christy initiated "Cousin Movie Night" early in the month of December. Before "snuggle-up-in-your-sleeping-bag" time arrived, she made sure each kid was "decorated" suitably for the event!
Wearing the "Cousin Christmas Jammies" that Aunt Mary Jo provides annually, the kids gathered around Aunt Christy so she could help them make a festive jingle bracelet. (Nothing to worry about, grandma - the boys loved them too!) These were simply fashioned from bells and a chenille stem....a hint, perhaps, of the Polar Express movie that would round up the evening's fun....?
But whoever heard of going to the movies without a snack in hand - or, in this case - around one's cute little neck? Aunt Christy provided a gourmet spread of colorful cereal, candy coated pretzels, and sugary rings to string on ribbon lengths long enough to carry an "all you can eat" feast that would last all night!
Cousins, happily belled and "necklaced," await the next event - grandma's very unordinary rendition of The Night Before Christmas.
I think mice are rather nice. Their tails are long, their faces small, they haven't any chins at all.....Okay, those words are not original with me. They belong to Rose Fyleman.
But these are my own....
Their cute little faces
show up in places,
where the story goes wrong,
since they just don't belong!
Pulling up her best dramatic flair, this grandma commenced turning pages of the timeless classic. Who would have guessed what was to occur once "Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse" was read? From behind the book came a series of "whooshes!" and staccato movements that suggested one thing alone. There were, in fact, mice who were still stirring! To the sounds of delighted laughter - while no doubt looking like a peddler just opening her pack - I tossed each child a finger puppet mouse. It was "edge-of-your-seat" fun from that moment forward. They were instructed to listen for the randomly inserted word, "mouse," as a signal to raise their little critters high and cheer loudly for the joy that is Christmas!
"But a miniature sleigh with three tiny mice!"
"To the top of the house....look! There's a mouse!"
"In the beard of his chin peeked a wee tiny mouse!"
I've gotta be honest. The picture above was posed after the event. Actual story time action was pure unbridled enthusiastic exuberance! Far beyond what I expected from this sacrilegious tweaking of a story no one usually dares tamper with! Try it yourself next year and see!
Hot chocolate was served in Aunt Mary Jo's kitchen after story time. It was creamy, steamy, and delightful, loaded with mini-marshmallows and capped with a mountain of freshly whipped, sprinkle-topped cream. Once Bree sipped the top ounce from her mug, it was evident that this experience would not be like any other. The tippy tops of two tiny ears came into view. Hmmmm.....What's that? Well, drink a little more, sweetie! The pair of tiny ears was soon joined by a poking pink nose!...and then a set of beady black eyes!
To the surprise of everyone - except "know-it-all" grandma, of course! - a sassy little mouse peered up at them from a place he will forever abide, venturing out but once each year when little girl cousins gather to sip hot Christmas chocolate and recall discovery of childhood magic in the bottom of a ceramic mug.
It's nothing new for me to guide the three oldest grandkids in the making of gifts for mommy and daddy. We do seasonal workshops and wrap what we make. This time we kept everything simple. There was so much else going on!
For mommies and aunties we made paper Santa necklaces strung with sparkly pom poms to wear on Christmas morning. For grandpa, daddies, and uncles we decorated foam cover notebooks with self adhesive stickers.
And then we wrapped what we made - with lots and lots and lots of tape!
Teddy agreed to model one of the handsome necklaces headed for mommy's stocking!
Grandma constructed the basic Santa head. Kids cut triangle hats with scissors, punched red stars, selected color, size, and order of red and green pom poms, drew eyes, and glued button nose and tiny white pom poms to beard. Grandma connected everything on Baker's twine threaded on an extra large needle.
And I should mention that our wrapped gifts each sported their own hand punched star tags!
|"I think we're done here!"
May your New Year be full of sumptuous leftovers - more than enough to bring you joy and every good thing you wish for!
Folkmanis field mice finger puppets can be found here on page 9.
"Holiday Mouse" mugs are sold online at Hearthsong and Magic Cabin toy retailers.
Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. (1983). Dr. dobson's principles of parenting.
Retrieved December 22, 2013 from
PoemHunter. Mice. Retrieved December 22, 2013 from