Friday, December 1, 2017

Discover the Magic of Children at Christmas in These Beautiful Photos from iPHOTOS.com

Photo of three children with a Christmas giftIt really is the most wonderful time of the year. In general people seem happier, full of the spirit of the season. The business of Christmas is attacked with purpose, yet its peace and joy are felt within. The social calendar is full and tthe vast majority will be anticipated with a festive glee. Some more than others.

This weekend my guy and I are very happy to be heading out to a favourite destination of ours. The lovely Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, Michigan has been on the road trip list virtually every year for decades, going back to when my husband and I first met.

In those days, the charm and history were less an attraction than the annual summer beer festival. With the tunnel-vision of youth when the opportunity for a dash of fun presented itself, our focus was on socializing and partying. A group of us, numbering anywhere from a dozen to 20, headed out, the Friday morning of the second weekend in June,  some in tandem, others too eager to wait, leading the way.

From then until Sunday afternoon when the parade had finally passed us by, we ate, drank and made merry. There was a bit of shopping and a plethora of laughter. It was the best of times: Monday often the worst of times. But we were young, exuberant and healed quickly.  We would dissect the moments that stood out, rehash the events and think of more to come. Thoughts of the next year's visit were already taking shape.

Photo of a child and his father hanging an ornament on a Christmas tree branch
Then one year it struck someone among us that this architectural homage to Bavaria, with its quaint shops and welcoming atmosphere,  might interest our children too. And what began as a frivolous mini-break for lively 20-somethings transitioned into a family excursion, with a few adult diversions in the mix.

The revelation, of course, had proved accurate and the new generation enjoyed, not just the party, but the town.

Of particular interest was the gigantic Christmas store, Bronners. With wide-eyed wonder the little ones gazed at the animated displays that replicated everything from Santa's workshop to a winter wonderland.  If magic was anywhere it was in the air there as we grownups looked anew through the eyes of a child.  With sparkling stars dangling from above and cheery snowmen smiling a welcome,  the youngsters bedazzled.

The next inevitable conclusion then for my husband and me was that we must return for a weekend during the Christmas season. How much more perfect would it be to visit this fantastical place during the holidays.  So much more so that it eventually replaced the summer trip.  I recall one trip in particular, when a friend accompanied us in the hopes that her little one's growing disbelief in Santa would be assuaged by the enchantment.  And indeed it did. Old St. Nick worked his charm on the little sceptic, and let her hold on to the fantasy for a few more years.

There is nothing more marvelous than being with children at this time of year.  That's what makes this weekend's trip even more exciting. The tradition is now being introduced to a third generation, as our daughter and adorable grandchildren have been making the Christmas trip with us.  And the hope is for the rest of our family to jump on board in subsequent years.

With the beauty that is a child at Christmas in mind, please enjoy these wonderful pictures from iPHOTOS.com

iPHOTOS.com Children at Christmas

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Reflections on a Christmas Tradition and Sharing 2 Amazing Snowman Clipart Collections

Clipart image of three hanging Christmas ornaments
"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." — Dale Evans

There is a Christmas holiday tradition, a particular gift for my offspring that I've enjoyed seeking and giving every year since the birth of my oldest child. It started simply enough – a Santa tree ornament for his stocking. However, it struck me soon after that this would be a great idea for every year so he would have a nice collection by the time he was ready to decorate his own tree.

It was just one of those happy coincidences, though, that I selected a bauble the following year that also had Santa on it. Thus a theme had begun and a tradition was formed.

As each of his three siblings arrived I chose a theme for them too.  It continues now, even as they are adults, and such pleasure it brings to see these added to their festive decorations.  It was an obvious no-brainer then that I would continue the practice with the next generation.

Sixteen years ago, we welcomed our first grandchild, a boy.   He, like his father and aunt before him, arrived in December, an extra special gift for the holidays.

There's something really nice about a newborn at Christmas — a bundle of blue or pink to remind us of all the hope and joy there is in this world. And when that new bundle is the first in the family after a long drought it's beyond perfect.

We were fortunate to have this little man visit us often as he grew up, the preferred scenario for first-time grandparents.  He spent most weekends at our house and grew up thinking of it as his other home.  For my husband and me, being with this little dude was the best of gifts.

As sweet a child as you could find, he rarely fussed, demanded little and loved to snuggle. As his Grandma I took full advantage of that latter trait and rocked him for hours. Which by the way never seemed to cause any troubles with him. It sure did spoil me though.

Besides the fact that we fell madly in love with him from the moment he arrived, he also opened our eyes to things we'd taken for granted. We were reacquainted with the pleasures to be found in the world around us — in the wonder of everything.  Even snow.

I remember the first trip into the snow when he was old enough to be aware, the entertainment and giggles  he found in all of that white stuff lying around. I remember the look of delight on his face as he watched his Papa and me build a snowman for him.  These are memories that endure, especially this time of year.

And in building that snowman for him when he was barely a year old I decided on the Christmas ornament theme for him. That year and every year since I have added a snowman to the collection.

So with these memories and thoughts in mind I have found some wonderful sources for snowman clipart:

Clipart image of a snowman

Clipart image of a snowman