MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

(WARNING: Picture overload today!)

“Shepherds, Angels, Innkeepers, Kings… From the very beginning, Christmas has brought people together…”

I hope today has been merry for you, spent in a way that brought you much happiness. I’ve had a busy, wonderful week, filled with family, fun, love, and FOOD! I feel as if I have eaten enough this past week to last me the rest of winter!

Made a day trip to Winston-Salem, NC last Thursday to bake with my sisters. Our annual Holcomb Sister Christmas Baking Day. My older sister’s kitchen smelled like Dewey’s Bakery (for all you Winston locals) as we sifted, stirred, mixed, dipped, and baked fudge, peanut butter balls, thumbprints, molasses cookies, and 7-layer squares. All the time talking and laughing. A lot! Oh and a bit of singing Christmas carols, off-key of course. After the last treat was taken out of the oven, we prepared a big tray of goodies to take to Mom’s caregivers, who so appreciated being remembered. They love Mom, and for that, we are very thankful. But how could you not love our sweet Momma? She is still the sweet, grateful, mild mannered lady with a soul filled with grace. We also went with Mom to a Christmas concert by a string quintet of violinists and cellists from the local high school (my alma mater!). These high school juniors and seniors were so thoughtful to give up an afternoon to play for the residents, a full hour of every Christmas carol imaginable. It was much appreciated by everyone in attendance, including my sisters and me.

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”

Said goodbye to my sisters and mom and headed back to Charlottesville, knowing I would see them again 2 days later. Listened to Christmas music all the way home. (No surprise there!) And yes, Saturday morning I headed back to Winston for the weekend, for our Holcomb Christmas Gathering. While my sister and my younger daughter went to an exhibit at Reynolda House, I spent the afternoon picking up a few last minute gifts – mainly Moravian cookies to share with my team! Finally found them at, you got it, Dewey’s Bakery! My brother-in-law and I met my older sister and younger daughter at a neat brewery before dinner. Okay, so maybe, I got wine at the brewery, but it was good wine! And dinner at Quanto Basta was wonderful. Late to bed but early to rise, my older sister and I headed to early church, only to arrive to find NO ONE there. Discovered that there was only 1 service Sunday morning. Back home to grab a bite to eat and try again an hour later. Walked in to have the first usher ask me where my Christmas Sweater was! Told him my sister refused to sit with me if I wore the Sunday one to church! (It was a great one – see below – wore it for my favorite little people!) Wonderful to be a Moravian again and see Moravians I have known forever. This is my home church… the one I have been a member of for 62 years. Baptized, confirmed, married, and had all of my children baptized in this church.

After church I picked Mom up and brought her to my sister’s (where I changed into my Llama Christmas Sweater!). My other kids, future daughter-in-law, younger sister, nephew and his family arrived shortly thereafter for our Holcomb Christmas celebration. Everyone I love most in the world was together at my sister’s. Life does not get any better than that, y’all! We laughed, played with Jack and Izzie, opened presents, and had a wonderful meal together at my sister’s beautiful table. Had so much fun that the time got away from us and everyone left later than planned… meaning my younger daughter and I didn’t arrive at church until right as it was beginning. That’s right, I went BACK to church for the Moravian Christmas Eve (early) Lovefeast. It is just not Christmas for me without that service: my once-a-year Moravian coffee (very blonde y’all – the coffee that is – brewed with cream and sugar), the Moravian bun (no beef!), and a lighted beeswax candle dressed in red crepe paper. The beeswax symbolizes the purity of Christ, the red crepe paper the blood of Christ, and the lighted candle the light of the world. All of my favorite Christmas carols were sung. Best time of the year to be a Moravian! And yes, we hit the road home to Charlottesville after the service, visiting with church friends, AND stopping by to see my younger daughter’s picture still hanging in the church from 30 years ago. Yes, 30 years ago! What a precious treat every visit to New Philadelphia. And what a wonderful weekend.

“Christmas magic is silent, you don’t hear it, you feel it, you know it, you believe it.”

With Christmas falling on Wednesday this year, my sweet son and his fiancee stayed in Charlotte and spent Christmas with her beautiful family. Of course, this meant he missed out on the 8 am Christmas morning run! That’s right, my daughters and I got up to go for a Christmas run this morning. First time I have run for 30 minutes without following the walk 2/run 4-minute plan. And it was wonderful! Did have to stop a time or two to catch my breath after a big hill, but honestly, it was a great Christmas treat for me. My younger daughter texted her brother to say we were making her run for her presents! Not true! Well… We were all glad we ran together, after it was over, of course! And it made our traditional brunch of breakfast casserole, fruit, and sugarcake more appreciated!

We opened presents, played with my granddawg, and loved on each other before my older daughter and son-in-law left for Christmas dinner at his parents. That left my younger daughter and me alone for the rest of the day and the week. And we plan to make the most of it. As I am finishing the blog here, she is napping before we head to the movies. We have had some late nights, early mornings, and busy fun-filled days. Visited a winery Monday to pick up her wine club box, and enjoyed a glass and the beautiful day and view, before she met friends for dinner. Christmas Eve we left home at 5 am to get to my older daughter’s cycle class at our Short Pump club at 6:15 am (best way to start the holiday off!). And we were all up late last night after Christmas Eve dinner, church, and late night Christmas movies. She’ll head back to Charlotte this weekend, and my Christmas decorations will come down. Once Christmas is over, and my kids are gone, I am ready to welcome in the new year.

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”

I hope your Christmas was very merry and meaningful for you. If you are like our family, you have prepared, been served, gifted, and eaten wonderful food this holiday season. Not only have these foods/meals fed us, the spirit of sharing time, love, and thoughtfulness nourished our soul. I also hope you got to spend special time with those you love, and that you have made plans to do that as we welcome 2020, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Merry Christmas from my beautiful family…

Best,

Leslie

PS: Sadly, the 2019 annual 25 Days of Christmas Sweaters has come to an end. It has been fun sporting a different Christmas sweater each day of December, and so much fun to share with you and read your comments! Below are the last sweaters of December:

 

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