In Memory of Kay Kim's Blogs

Christmas Is More Than A Season, It’s An Emotion

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” –Charles Dickens,  A Christmas Carol.

Kay's Memory Tree

Kay’s Memory Tree


Christmas is more than a season, it’s an emotion.


It’s a gentle heat rising from your pink painted toes to the top of your head,  it’s the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg and Tabu perfume wrapped into an entire childhood.


It’s walking into Grandma Pearl’s lit up house on Christmas Eve clothed in a red velvet dress, black tights, patent leather shoes, and all of your Italian Aunties’ galloping up to give you gigantic hugs.


The aroma of Lutefisk stings your eyes, but you don’t care.


Turkey browning.  Glazed ham baking.  Pumpkin pies cooling.  Sweet butter melting over mashed potatoes.  Stuffing piled high in lime green bowls.  Mandarin jello jiggling.  Gravy simmering.  Mouths watering.    Ahhh,  I remember.    E v e r y t h i n g.

Kim,  Alan,  Kay.  MAGIC

Kim, Alan, Kay. MAGIC


Christmas is about Auntie Bonnie, whom resembles Sophia Loren,  kissing you fully on both cheeks with her large cranberry lips and you grasping onto her real fur coat that smells of wind and woodstove and Virginia Slim cigarettes.


The tree is straight outta ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ spilling over with silver tinsel and fluffy angels who have earned their wings.


Your older cousin,  Caroline, whom you idolize,  is singing Silent Night, and Uncle Nook is smiling because her voice is pure sugar.


Christmas is not external,  it’s internal.


It’s about being ‘home’ even when you’re gone.


It’s about exchanging gifts of candles scented in vanilla and caramel with your sister at Barnes and Noble while splitting double chocolate peanut butter cheesecake & taking turns reading the first sentence from random books,  then deciding which one is worth buying.


O’ the love is overwhelmingly intoxicating and beautifully suffocating.


Christmas is fire burning inside, darkness transforming into light,  the dead resurrecting into your empty chairs….


And God whispering,    “You.    Are.    Never.    Alone.”


—–Sweet,  Readers,  my wish for you is a fire burning inside,  not only at Christmas,  but always.   What are some of your favorite memories or traditions & favorite holiday songs?   Merry Christmas,  Darlings.  xxxx    See you in 2015!


—-My favorite Christmas Songs:  O’ Holy Night  &  Have You Heard?

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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

    This is sooooo beautiful, Kay. What wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing. I could smell the candles and taste the mashed potatoes. I remember when kids would dress up in red velvet and Mary Janes. And I remember large family gatherings like yours, though mine would often dissolve into alcohol-induced bickering. Still, there was lots of love. Merry Christmas, my friend.
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  • Reply
    Elephant's Child
    December 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Merry Christmas dearheart.
    I hope that love and laughter continue to find a home in your world.
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  • Reply
    lisa thomson-the great escape
    December 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I have goosebumps! Thank you Kim for this beautiful reminder and written to make me feel I was right there with you and your family. My favorite Christmas memories are my Grandma coming to stay with us and my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins coming for the WHOLE day. We had a kids’ table and always made a mess. I was one of the youngest so sometimes I didn’t get the jokes. My Aunt always made a jello/marshmellow dessert that was so unique to us. My mother never made that dessert and it was only the one time of year we could taste it. Keep the fire burning…indeed in our HEARTS. xoxo Merry Christmas, Kim!
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    How I love that old photo of you, Kay, and Alan! And I, too, have Italian aunties who smelled like spaghetti sauce and loved to give big hugs and kisses.

    I remember Midnight Mass — bundling up in coats, trying to stay awake. I remember one of my uncles singing “O Holy Night” — what a voice he had! I remember the adults gathered around my grandma’s kitchen table playing penny poker while we kids went into a darkened bedroom and played seance, ha! And I remember many years not having a lot of money, but always having a lot of LOVE!

    Thanks, Kim, for nudging my memories and for sharing your own. Enjoy your break and have a wonderfully Merry Christmas!
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  • Reply
    Ellen M. Gregg
    December 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Oh, how I love… Yes, Christmas is an emotion; one so deep and intense that I find myself in tears at the first note of “Silent Night” – a favorite hymn.

    My favorite Christmas memory (cue the song “Somewhere in My Memory” from the movie Home Alone – a favorite modern classic) hasn’t happened yet. Every Christmas memory is my favorite, because it’s steeped in tradition and faith and gratitude and love and peace… Heavenly peace.

    I have dozens of favorite Christmas songs and hymns. In addition to the two cited above, I’m a huge fan of:
    Linda Eder’s version of “The Little Drummer Boy”
    Faith Hill’s “A Baby Changes Everything”
    Amy Grant’s “I Need a Silent Night” and “Breath of Heaven” (“Mary’s Song”)
    Michael Crawford’s version of “Joseph’s Lullaby”
    Michael Ball’s and Elaine Page’s version of “As Long as There’s Christmas”
    The Boston Pops’ and Tanglewood Festival Choir’s version of “Star of Bethlehem”
    John Denver and the Muppets’ version of “The Peace Carol”
    The Carpenters’ version of “Little Altar Boy”
    Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
    Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”
    Sarah McLachlan’s “Song for a Winter Night”
    “Angels We Have Heard on High”
    “The Coventry Carol”
    “In the Bleak Midwinter” (Julie Andrews’ version is glorious)
    “Joy to the World”
    “O Come All Ye Faithful”
    “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
    …and many, many, many more.

    Merry Christmas blessings to you and yours, Kim. xoxo

  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    What a beautiful post, Kim.
    This brings back so many wonderful memories.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and a bright and beautiful New Year. xo.

  • Reply
    Susan Macaulay (@AmazingSusan)
    December 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Lovely <3

    This is one of my favourite relatively recent memories:

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  • Reply
    Balroop Singh
    December 21, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Kim,

    You have awesome memories and that is such a lovely picture! Yes, that attitude is very clearly in your eyes and your mannerism.
    I also love that quote from A Christmas Carol, a play I have taught many times.
    I don’t have any such loving memories, so I feel you are really blessed! Thanks for sharing.
    I am building up new memories…with my little grandchildren and feel I can learn about Christmas celebrations now.
    Merry Christmas!
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    This is beautiful, Kim!
    I wish you a Merry Christmas and all my blessings for the New Year! xx
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    We, Three Kings.
    Bourbon balls.
    Powdered sugar dusting everything.
    Taffeta dresses, Mary Janes and cable knit tights.
    “Let’s Make A Deal” to exchange gifts from others with my sisters for a better fit.
    Hand sequined stockings (boots) my great-grandmother sewed… all 100+ of them.
    Jewelry on the tree.
    Margaritas on the patio after the sugar plum fairies go to work.
    The hugs which are soft and warm enough to glaze creme brulee.

    Happy Christmas, Kimmy!
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  • Reply
    Carrie Rubin
    December 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I have so many old memories of Christmas and so many new ones, too. That’s the beauty of the holiday. As we get older and the people in our lives change, we can start new traditions and build more layers of memories.
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  • Reply
    Valentine Logar
    December 21, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you for these memories Kim, mine are different and not quite so cherished. I think I will hug yours instead.

    Blessed Christmas. I adore you.
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  • Reply
    Sue Williamson
    December 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I love this and can see every single minute of it and more.
    Remember chestnuts on the old stove?
    You truly do have a gift.
    I also love the pic of you Kay and Allen. Too sweet.
    Have a wonderful and merry Christmas.
    Love to you and the family.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Christmas is the beauty of your heart. You spread the magic. Keep it up!
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  • Reply
    Anna @ shenANNAgans
    December 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Merry Christmas to you too Kim! Thank you for your thought provoking and beautiful posts this year, I feel blessed to have you in my world. Hope Santa brings you all the things you wished for. Giant hugs and loves from Australia (via Asia). See ya in 2015. xoxox
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    You’re wonderful, Kim. Adore the photo. Everything is already there, the love, caring, unity. xxx

    A favourite memory for me is getting a record of Christmas carols from a local service station (gas station) in a Christmas giveaway. It included The Lord’s Prayer sung by Barbra Streisand and a carol I’ve forgotten played by a pianist called Vladimir Horowitz. I played those two songs over and over again. Still remember the magic of that record.
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Beautifully written. I could taste, smell and hear it all.
    Enjoy the season and the closeness of family and loved ones.

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  • Reply
    Jennifer Wolfe
    December 21, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Yes. Christmas IS emotion…and the emotions change as we change. Childhood memories, some reignited for our own children, memories of my Christmas proposal, memories of Christmas when my heart was breaking. This year, Christmas is joy!
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  • Reply
    Beverly Diehl
    December 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I love the way, in just a few words, you can call up all the tactile, olfactory, and other sensual compenents of the holiday. Beautiful.
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Yes, yes, yes and yes! And thanks for bringing back that essence of Tabu!
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  • Reply
    Kristi Campbell
    December 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Christmas is “about being home, even when you’re gone.” THAT> that in all of the ways. So much love to you my sweet friend and OMG the 80’s. Um Tabu?? Gross but also fabulous.
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  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    December 21, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    This is so beautiful, Kim. With tears in my eyes, I wish you and yours a peaceful and happy holiday season!
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  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    So beautifully written! Wishing you a magical time full of joy and good things.
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  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    December 22, 2014 at 1:19 am

    A very Merry Christmas to you lovely Kim! May it shine so bright and envelop you in its warmth. xxx
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  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 3:23 am

    You’ve evoked the real spirit of Christmas, Kim, and now I’m picturing you in a pretty red velvet dress and smelling Tabu. May you have beautiful holidays.
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  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Such lovely and sweet memories Kim. Love this photo!
    Christmas is not just a season or a day. It shines throughout the year, in your worlds and in our hearts.
    Melodies, midnight mass, warm home, gingerbread, gifts under the tree, getting ready for bed and being the first to wake up in the morning, laughs and smiles, serenity. Being together. These are the memories I treasure. For the past 6 or 7 years, Christmas has lost its magic. I am ready to make a change this year, a blessed and needed change for me and my little one!
    May you have a merry christmas Kim. Enjoy, rest and know you and your family are on our prayers.
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  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 4:30 am

    I squealed with delight when I saw the image at the top of your post Kim! How incredibly special you featured the angel I sent you. Thank you for the love my dear. I absolutely love how you write about Christmas. I am going to read this post again and again and again!
    Sending you much love across the oceans for a beautiful love filled happy Christmas with your wonderful family. I am looking forward to catching up with you next year.
    Love, love, love
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo
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  • Reply
    Susan Casey
    December 22, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Ohhh….I loved this and these beautiful memories….I felt like I was right there smelling those smells.

    My favorite memory…me and my four brothers lined up on the stairs by age Christmas morning. My father stood at the bottom of the stairs and took our picture while telling us that Santa left quite of load of gifts for us:-) It was always so thrilling!!

    Happy Holidays, Kim…sending you much love today and always!


  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Kim I love this paragraph:
    ‘It’s about exchanging gifts of candles scented in vanilla and caramel with your sister at Barnes and Noble while splitting double chocolate peanut butter cheesecake & taking turns reading the first sentence from random books, then deciding which one is worth buying.’

    And, Kim, I love this post : ) And it’s funny, those cigarette smells remind me so much of our Christmases, being over at my Aunt’s. Everybody smoked, and as a kid, running through all of the smoke hanging in the air & never caring. : )

    My cousin bringing over his stack of albums, and playing music all Christmas Eve night long: Beatles, ABBA, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr : )

    When we were getting ready to close/sell my Aunt’s house, I happened to be there alone one afternoon, and just closed my eyes, stood in the dining room, and remembered all of the smells, us kids running around, the noise, swirl and happiness of the holidays there.

  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Christmas is sitting on my grandmother’s lap and feeling like the most special little girl on earth. Thanks for this darling.

  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

    You have and are such a gift, Kim. This is so beautifully written, if gave me goose bumps.

    My favorite good memories of Christmas are the years my grandfather would surprise me. We would go to my step-father’s mother’s house for their celebration, and when we came back late that night my grandfather would be on the porch saying, “Oh my goodness Jeanie, you JUST missed Santa! He came as we were leaving.” Then I would go in and see everything set up for me, with every little detail done to perfection. Life was good.

    Have a fabulous Christmas Kim!
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  • Reply
    Hotly Spiced
    December 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    What lovely memories. I love your Charles Dickens quote and it’s so true that Christmas is full of feelings and emotions. Merry Christmas to you and all your family xx
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  • Reply
    Annette Molitor
    December 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Awww, so BEAUTIFULLY worded Kim.

    Blessings to you and yours this holiday season.

    Little Chickie

  • Reply
    Annette Molitor
    December 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Awww, so WONDERFULLY worded Kim.

    Blessings to you this holiday season.

    Little Chickie
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  • Reply
    Choc Chip Uru
    December 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Your wording is so perfect in this post Kim, thanks for sharing your memories 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you my friend!

    Choc Chip Uru
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  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Yes Kim, I remember all those smells and all the good times we had at Christmas. I haven’t
    seen those pictures of you Kay and Al so long, it brings back such good memories.
    I remember all the songs we played Brenda Lee____Bing Crosby_____ Elvis____Dean &etc.
    A well done blog Kim.
    Love You So Much

  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Merry Christmas, Kim. Oh, Holy Night is my favorite too. I feel like I won the lottery whenever it comes on the holiday station.
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  • Reply
    nan @ lbddiaries
    December 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    “It’s about being ‘home’ even when you’re gone.” “O’ the love is overwhelmingly intoxicating…” Such perfect words! This is one of my favorite 2014 posts! And boy do I agree with your dad’s music choices!!

    My fave hymn is O Holy Night. I can’t even sing it without choking up, which is slightly embarrassing in front of the congregation (smile). I can’t even hear it without tears. Phew.

    Rum balls. Fragile meringue cookies with or without nuts, cinnamon, chocolate chips! Mom’s buttermilk candy, o yum. And her divinity? Divine! I sure miss her at this time of year because she broke out the entire Christmas cookbook.

    Our holiday tradition? Christmas eve we’d all gather together for snacks – healthy and not-so! I loved the jar of cream cheese with pineapple smeared on celery. Or peanut butter. Or….

    I love you dear heart.
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  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    This is awesome, Kim. I didn’t have a big family but you sure did bring back a lot of memories. Absolutely on It’s a Wonderful Life…and Christmas Vacation too. You dinner has my mouth watering. A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family! 🙂
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  • Reply
    December 22, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Such beautiful memories, Kim….the food, the family, the love. Wishing you a most glorious holiday. xoxo

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 1:24 am

    A wonderful post and so true! Christmas holds so different meanings for each off us. Oh, that we could go home again and celebrate once more the Christmas of our childhood, and be with our loved ones once more, the ones no longer here. For me, it’s about the music and my mother’s decorations. We’d celebrate on Christmas Eve. These are the memories I treasure. Merry Christmas, Kim!
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  • Reply
    Renee Johnson
    December 23, 2014 at 4:40 am

    Oh, sweet Kim, you have made me cry…again. This time it wasn’t just for your loss of your beautiful sister Kay, but for a few of my own. This will be the first Christmas without my mother. My sister and I still have her house and we are still planning the annual Christmas Eve gathering, though I have no idea how we are going to hold it together. I am sure we will be sharing our memories, those wafting through the house like the scent of your Tabu. I wish you every happiness this Christmas, and hope we both get through it with some new memories to reflect on. Absolutely beautiful post!
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  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Merry Christmas and all of the evocative lines in your post has me taking my own trip down memory lane. My family used to play poker after eating and I remember sitting under the table and feeling lucky when someone would “accidentally” drop a coin. It was also a good time to spend with my closest cousin, but she passed away almost five years ago, and I really miss her this time of year.
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  • Reply
    Eileen Hopkins
    December 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Poetic and poignant – you really nailed it! Thanks for stirring up the memory pool for me!
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  • Reply
    Totally Caroline
    December 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    So beautifully written, your spirit is infectious 🙂
    Happy holidays darling chicky!!!
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  • Reply
    December 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    A trip down memory lane that I so frequently travel Kim. I thank God every day for these memories and this family. Grandma Pearl would be so proud of your expressive words that transcend us back in time like it was yesterday.
    I love you, Merry Christmas to you all.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2014 at 4:57 am

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Sending love
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  • Reply
    Meditating Mummy
    December 26, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Just beautiful Kim. I love the photo of you, Kay and Alan. Food and family are memories wrapped as presents. You never forget. My favorite Christmas songs are O’Holy Night and Little Drummer Boy.
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  • Reply
    December 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Love that old photo of the three of you. Pure magic!
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  • Reply
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes
    December 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I love this post! So beautifully written. It makes me want to spend some time just reminiscing busy Christmases when I was young. I hope my kids are making the same kid of wonderful connections with their extended family.
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  • Reply
    December 28, 2014 at 8:49 am

    What lovely thoughts and terrific photos. I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas, and best wishes for a terrific 2015!
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  • Reply
    Bryan Jones
    December 29, 2014 at 2:34 am

    A beautifully evocative post that captures those personal memories of the season. One of my more recent special memories is from around 17 years ago when my 3-year-old daughter was rendered statuesque by the sight of her Christmas presents, while my 7-year-old son repeatedly offered to open them for her!
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  • Reply
    December 29, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Hi, I love Christmas and all the memories it gives, it is a season of gratitude, blessings and love. Thanks for sharing a very beautiful post. Happy Holidays to all your readers.
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  • Reply
    December 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Kim, you have such a way with words. Somehow I got “unsubscribed” and have re subscribed. I came by to say I hope you had a Merry Christmas and that 2015 is good to you and your family.
    you described my perfect Christmas, I come from a small family and raised my son as a single mom but we always had wonderful Norman Rockwell Christmases when he was growing up, we lived at a lake and the snow would lay heavy on the cedar boughs, people would walk to the local little church for Christmas Eve services (the church was so small that one year the sunday school Christmas pageant only had 2 performers) groups people would be waving and wishing Merry Christmas to each other as they walked. It was magical and my son has many fond memories.
    For years my abusive ex destroyed every Christmas, the last time my son was home at Christmas was 2008.
    This year he was there, with my granddaughter, it was a glorious day, spent at my mom’s it was imperfectly perfect. I tell people that it was the kind of day you want to bottle so you can relive it later again and again. My son confessed that he put on a tough front all those years because he had to be away for work but he was miserable missing Christmas. I found myself sitting and watching him, my granddaughter and the rest of my family and just soaking it all in, counting my blessings. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes, I just wanted to give you a huge hug because I can only imagine how much you must miss Kay at this time of year. Reading your words also made me realize how close I came to never having another Christmas with my family and renewed my determination to keep breaking the silence surrounding domestic abuse.
    Your are a wonderful lady and I admire your strength. Much love to you across the miles.
    Carrie xxxxoooo

  • Reply
    January 3, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful treasured memories with us of the Christmas past. I love all food, but especially holiday & seasonal feasts the best! Mashed potato and lashings of butter included! Always a pleasure to share in your beautiful story, xo
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  • Reply
    January 22, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Yes it truly is. Coming together for this joyous event gives us a feeling of happiness, joy and love. Family and friends are what makes this season/emotion so much more meaningful.

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