Well here it is ... the first day of the Cross Country Christmas blog hop and Gudrun has a wonderful quilt-as-you-go project for you. Maybe you'll be able to start crossing some names off your gift list?
At our home here in White Bear Lake, the holidays begin when we pull out the Dept 56 houses! Bob's mom gave me the first piece shortly after we were married and our collection has grown quite a bit. We don't always put out all them but we do put out the North Pole village each year.
The fall Teddy was a year and a half old, my mom died. Around Thanksgiving, my dad gave us kids some money from one of her accounts. Part of me knew I should put it in the bank but the other part of me wanted to spend it on something really fun. I didn't want it to be just anything ... something that would remind me of my mom and all the special Christmases she had given us.
Dept 56 had introduced the North Pole series earlier in the year. Bachman's was doing some special pricing for purchasing the whole group. Yike ... I was so torn ... three little kids at home and I should be practical ... but boy that set was sooooo cute! My best friend, Fay, came up with the perfect solution that satisfied both needs. Off I went (by myself) to the store!
With those three boys it was easiest for us to go to the early Mass at St Mary's on Christmas Eve. Kids in the car and I had to quick run back into the house ... with Bob tapping his fingers on the steering wheel waiting.
While we were in church trying to keep the boys in line and still maintain a Christmasy feeling, Fay and her family let themselves into our house ... carefully unpacked all of the North Pole pieces ... layed out the scene on a cabinet ... lit them up ... turned on the tree lights ... and then took off for their own church service. Did I mention she vacumned before they left?
When we pulled back in the drive Bob just couldn't believe that 'someone' forgot to unplug the Christmas tree before we left. Ha ... the tree was on just so I could see the faces of the boys as they spied the North Pole village on the table. Shock. And awe. And magic! The elves that often visited in those weeks before Christmas really outdid themselves. I'll tell ya ... I get weepy just remembering!!Neither Fay or I realized what a priceless gift her idea would give me. Of course, the fact that I pulled something off without Bob knowing is also part of the fun. Not easy when you consider that everything from Bachman's was packed in purple bags.
We've put the village out every year since then ... adding to it a little bit as more pieces were introduced. I can still see the magic in Teddy's eyes ... standing on a chair to peek inside the windows of the workshop ... Santa's elves really were inside building toys you know!
Shortly after the following Christmas, Fay died from cancer, right before her 40th birthday. She was such a great pal ... suggesting I put part of the money from my mom toward the North Pole set and the rest in my savings account for a rainy day. And then offering to pull off the surprise for my family at the busiest time of the year. I think of her ... and my mom ... often but especially each time I remember that Christmas!