Thursday, January 13, 2011

How the Grinch Served Chestnuts

I'm happy. It's the New Year.
You see, I'm afraid I'm one of those who finds the holidays stressful.  Now that they're behind us, I'm happy.  Don't get me wrong - I love the special time with family, converting the cottage into a twinkling haven of sparkly lights and candles, the joy of baking and cooking, and staying inside where it's warm and cozy while it storms outside. It's just that I have a big teensy weensy problem with the hype and commercialism.
Romana, a woman who was very dear to my heart, often described the traditions in her home as a child growing up in northern Italy. They didn't have very much, and their custom was to sit around her father's chair and listen as he read stories to the children on Christmas eve.  On Christmas morning they woke to find socks for each of them, filled with fruit and nuts.  In the evening they enjoyed a special meal together by candlelight. She never had a tree until her new fiance Everett, a soldier from the United States, went into the forest and cut one down and brought it to her family as a gift. Some of my favorite memories of Christmas are of Romana sharing this story with us as we sat around my table with roasted chestnuts and wine. 
With the start of the new year, this time of reflection and resolution, I find my ideal of how 
a holiday should be and the challenge ahead of growing a young retail business a fascinating paradox. It's going to be an interesting ride, this 2011. You might want to stick around and see how it turns out.  

                     new possibilities 
                                                                         new experiences
                                                                         new challenges
                                                                         new journeys
                                                                         new dreams
                                                                         new chances
                                                                         new beginnings
                                                                         new endings
                                                                         new lessons
                                                                         new miracles



  1. Poppy-so glad to see your post. A lovely post at that. I couldn’t agree more although I definitely fall victim to all the hype. My dad had very little growing up with a large family of 9 children. They too got fruit and nuts-usually an apple or orange and some walnuts. The special item to him was the piece of hard peppermint. He loved it until he passed away. He always loved Dolly Parton’s song “Hard Candy Christmas.” and that’s what he had. I think your friend’s recollections make me long for that type of Christmas myself. Happy 2011 and I’m glad you’re here :)

  2. I came over for a visit, you have a very pretty blog and your pictures are beautiful.
    Blessings to you,

  3. I love the idea of "news" instead of resolutions... I think I need a little "new" in my life too...


  4. Hello Poppy!
    Very nice to meet you. I feel as you do...that the holidays are so commercial now and somehow have lost that feeling of what it was like when we (or at least me cause I'm old ;) )were children. I lived with my grandparents and father from 7 to 17 and it was more the feeling of excitement of just being together and preparing for the holidays that was the best part. Our tree (real) never went up until the week end before Christmas or the week before depending on what day Christmas landed. The week between Christmas day and New Years day was just as exciting. Like Amy's Dad I used to get a special orange that came wrapped in green paper and a candy cane and some toffee that my Nana had made in my stocking. These are the special things I remember...not the main gifts under the tree. I think we all need to get back to a more simpler way of celebrating the holidays and remember that it is family and friends that make the holidays special...not so much the bright lights and presents. I hope your New Year has been a good one so far...all the best to you and your family for 2011.
    Maura :)