Old Christmas and the Woods in Winter


The first Sunday of the New Year dawned bright and clear.  I love Sunday mornings-I am never as inspired or as reflective on any other day.   Maybe, “There is something about a Sunday”, after all. 

Christian and I had coffee together . . .and a heart warming conversation.  Christian has never been one to chatter, even in his childhood.  In a crowd, he mostly listens.  No one has ever accused him of being loud or overbearing.  It is not his nature.  He has never been impulsive, but instead seem to digest information.  He is fiercely independent and anything shallow and worldly, is uninteresting to him.  Under such circumstances, Christian is one of my favorite people to converse with. 

After the “grand finale” of last year, with Daddys’ health scare and losing the much awaited sell of the rabbitpatch, car repairs at Christmas ( which seems a trend for us) . . .well, against the odds, I told Christian that I felt very optimistic about our future.  Christian said he too, had been feeling the same way.  Then we had a deep conversation about the last few years and how every part of the past, which seemed to halt our progress, was actually pushing us on in our pursuits.  I realised that , little by little, my heart had changed, and it seemed to happen while I was unaware!  Christian believes that each act was needed for us and was never against us, as it really seemed some times.  How beautiful and moving, I thought.   I asked Christian, when did he know for sure, that we ought to sell the rabbitpatch for sure . . .He said “the day, that I walked in the sunroom and water was pouring in.”  I laughed til I cried.  Christian is funny, too.

5c7f2fbd360172b03ae1fc469c535e71It is the time of “Old Christmas”, now.   It is hardly celebrated, at all these days and what a shame, I think.  I always think I will pick up, where Miss Sylvia left off, but  haven’t yet.  Miss Sylvia was a dear friend and neighbor, who hosted an “Old Christmas” party every year.  We all left our decorations up, until after the party. Now,  without Miss Sylvia, Farm Life was quiet on the night of “Old Christmas” –  and it made me miss her all over again.

I vaguely remember this holiday, as a child.  “Old Christmas ” parties have dainty foods and children receive small tokens to commemorate when the wise men visited the Christ child.  Next year, I hope to “practice what I preach” and host a small gathering. I will use fancy dishes and serve tiny pimento cheese sandwiches , and Martha Washington candy and all the other “old fashioned” delicacies, that I grew up with . . .and  in this way, I will tell the story of “Old Christmas” .



Monday came along and that changed everything. I did see the sun rise and it bathed the quiet pastures and fields in glory.  When I behold such remarkable beauty, I feel like I have been gifted.   My perspective shifts and worldly cares are “put in their place” .  The handiwork of the “Master” has always done so, for me.  Even as a very small child, I had a young walnut tree that I would confide in, on a regular basis.  No one taught me such a practice and I didn’t know of anyone else, who did such a thing.  

In my teenage years, I took to long ramblings in the woods.  It was not always because I was feeling sullen or rebellious for I rarely was.  The woods that had been my playground, still comforted me and inspired me.  It was like “going home” when I walked ,where I used to run.  Life was changing, as it does on the eve of adulthood and though I was having a fabulous time,  I longed for things that remained as they were.  Unlike people, trees are constant and not given to whims, nor guided by moods.   

In my childhood, my cousins and I would spend many winter days in the woods, disturbing the peace of the pines. Often we had several ponies with us and a dog or two.  We stumbled on an old steel once, another time a school bus and old houses.  To say  we were a bit uncivilized, would not be  a far stretch . . .but we were happy and though we were scratched by briers and wore our clothes out, we thrived in the freedom.  We knew when we smelled supper cooking, that the shadows would soon fall and we knew exactly where, too.

I did not stop my ramblings upon adulthood, but instead took my children to the woods regularly.  We walked most winter days and spent many happy hours together.  Winter is the best time to “stop by the woods” for poison vines, snakes and biting insects have abandoned their warm weather posts.  We walked for miles and for a little while, we were the only ones in the world.  

The children, hardly remember the many vacations we took,  . . . but they all remember  walking back to the house, from the woods, by the light of the moon. . . .  . . . .and I remember, too.






17 thoughts on “Old Christmas and the Woods in Winter

  1. I was puzzled by the term “old Christmas” until I realized it was similar to “Twelfth Night.” So there! On this snowy January day I learned something new. Always a good thing.


  2. A wonderful story. The walk in the woods reminded me of times spent with my dad in our natural environment, often fishing, hunting, just being there. Thanks for posting.


  3. Why do we stop doing such things when we become “grown-ups”?
    Why should we be “too big” for the wondrous things that filled our wonder years?
    Who says we can’t run through the woods, be a little uncivilized, mess our clothes?

    Whomsoever is making these rules and saying “You can’t…” must have fallen into the trap of grownup-ness. A time governed by “we must” and “we haven’t” and “it can’t be done”.

    I have escaped the surly bonds of adulthood, and I am pursuing my second childhood.

    Come on!
    Let’s run!
    Let’s run where it seems unsafe and inappropriate.
    Let’s run ’til we fall and hurt ourselves.

    It is no less thrilling than it was fifty years ago.



    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think Christian is a very wise person! Sometimes we think what is working against truly is working for us. And you’re right, it’s the little memories that stick with us, not the forced celebrations that we try so hard to perfect. Have a good new year, Michele!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your childhood sounds like mine. We lived on the edge of town across from a huge grove. We spent more time exploring that grove, digging holes that were supposed to turn into clubhouses (and never did) and catching fireflies and butterflies. I love taking my grandkids exploring when they come to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aww. This is beautiful. By “old Christmas” do you mean like the 12 days and Epiphany? I didn’t do anything for Epiphany this year, but we did keep up our decorations and read a little poetry etc for the twelve days. It was LOVELY. Just slowed it allll down. Next year, I will make a three kings cake, I think. 🙂 I love the stories of you and your children in the woods. We don’t have a lot of woods currently, I love trees so much. I’m not very good at taking the children out with me, ESPECIALLY in the colder months. We do have meadows though and I went out recently with my coffee and it was so magical and soothing. I need to make it a habit to do it WITH my children. I’m so glad you had a nice time reminiscing and thinking through things with your son.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! Michele you have penned what authors have understood and tried to pen for centuries. I believe Robert Frost came the closest. Now he must move over to you. Nature gives us everything important. We just have to look for it. Thank you, Michele.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a compliment! Maybe Nature is here to sustain us and heal us, as well as inspire us. Man can not take credit for forests he did not plant -nor rivers and oceans. I know less than I ever thought I did. I do know that nature is beautiful. thank you so much for making my day! love Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, and I think you said it very well, Michele. Nature plays a huge role in healing and inspiring us. It is so beautiful. I only wish I had really looked when I was younger, like you did. Love, Jennie

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