A Holly Jolly Christmas – Away!

I hope your holidays were as wonderful as mine! What did you do? Have a traditional Christmas holiday with friends and family? Or did you try something new like I did this year?

Some of you may recall that last Christmas my husband passed away.  Considering that this would be an emotional time for me on the first anniversary of his passing, my mother suggested that we get away for the holidays and make some new traditions.

We weren’t sure if it was going to be possible but at the last minute (and because of understanding family members) we were able to get out of town for the entire holiday!

We didn’t go far (just across the state to Fort Lauderdale, one of my favorite places in Florida) but it was like another world compared to Ocala and it was a break I really needed.

We stayed in a great hotel, got the royal treatment and had an incredible dinner at Sublime, a gourmet vegan restaurant. Father Christmas himself could not have delivered a more appreciated gift.

On Christmas day we drove down to Miami Beach and checked out the festivities on South Beach. Surprisingly – everything was open! Shops and restaurants and tons of people were at the beach too. Back in Fort Lauderdale things were much quieter, there were only a few places open for dinner. We ended up at a retro place called Moonlite Diner and it was fantastic. The entire day was leisurely and relaxed, the first time in a long time that I felt this way.

It is good to be back though since I missed my Lucy and my mother missed her kitty too. We also missed family time but fortunately we will be able to have our own holiday together when my brother comes home next week.

I did get one unwelcome parting gift however from my holiday away – a Christmas cold! Oh well, you can’t have everything!

Faerie Christmas

This is is something for Christmas that I do every year and I wanted to share it with you. It’s my Amy Brown Faerie Diva Christmas Tree. I have been collecting Amy Brown Faerie Diva’s for several years now and put this faerie tree in our front window.

It is very special to me and was a wonderful source of comfort to me last Christmas at such a difficult time. Isn’t it wonderful that faeries can bring so much happiness to those in need?

I think Christmas faeries are as important as Christmas Elves!

Charitable Acts

Do you really need another pair of slippers for Christmas this year?

Even though Black Friday turned out fairly well (considering the economy) this holiday season, charities are feeling the lack of funding now more than ever. I counter that we all can do something. No matter how little it may seem to you, the truth is, every little bit counts.

I’m sure you’ve seen the collection boxes for Toys for Tots – you can pick up a new toy, even just a small stocking stuffer at Walgreen’s or Wal-mart for a couple of bucks. There are also giving trees this time of year for seniors and for needy children and teens too. It doesn’t take much to get a tag from the tree and purchase a nice item of clothing on sale to give to someone who really needs it.

Ask yourself what you need and then decide if you can go without this holiday season. Then spend that money on someone less fortunate. Give it to a complete stranger. Give it to charity.

Or take things to your local Goodwill, I’m sure you have stuff around the house that you can take there. Go through every room. Take things you haven’t used or worn in a year and give them away.

In my town we have a hospice store that we donate to. They actually have pretty cool items to purchase from the generous donations that people make. It gives you such a great feeling to know that you can make a difference.

Don’t forget the animals! Donate to the Humane Society and ASPCA. Visit your local animal shelter with a couple of big bags of pet food. They will be so appreciated this time of year. You might want to visit with the doggies and kitties that are still there during the holidays. Even if you cannot support another pet in your home you can still give your love and compassion to them.

Perhaps you can make a new tradition where every person in your family puts in $10 and then you decide where to send the money. Wouldn’t that be great?

There are so many ways to give. Just open your heart.

The Magick of Bayberry

I have a Yule Bayberry Prosperity spell that I have been using now for well over a decade and it always surprises me every Christmas to see bayberry candles and realize that most people don’t recognize the significance in Colonial America that bayberry had.

I love the smell of bayberry. It is Yule to me, through and through. My mother always burned candles from Williamsburg on Yule and the scent takes me right back. It’s difficult to find “real” bayberry candles anymore but Yankee Candle Company has a nice one although it does contain additional scents.

I’ve been offering my own family Yule spell for five years now to happy clients all over the world and since I only make a few candles (with bayberry essential oil) you might want to consider it.

Information on bayberry candles:

“Bayberry wax was Colonial America’s contribution to candle making history and became an important tradition there. Looking for a more economical alternative to beeswax colonial women discovered that a lovely wax could be obtained by boiling the grayish green berries of the bayberry bush. More economical than beeswax, better smelling and burning than tallow, bayberry became another alternative for candle making in colonial times.

Unfortunately, it takes about 15 lb of bayberries to make 1 lb of Bayberry wax. Collecting all those berries was very time consuming. Also, bayberry wax candles are very brittle and are prone to “blooming” or forming a white powdery residue on the outside of the candle after it’s stored for a few months. So, bayberry wax never caught on as the main source of candle making wax.

Yet, every colonist who could afford to do so would burn at least one Bayberry wax candle during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve the burning of a bayberry wax candle was considered good luck. It brought you health, wealth and prosperity for the coming year. A popular colonial saying was…

“A bayberry candle burnt to the socket brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket”.