Slowing down Christmastime

Here we are, just into the second week of December and I am fighting to hold on to my Christmas spirit. Santa still visits our home and I credit that magic and the general joy of my boys with keeping my holiday spirit compass in true north. It’s just that it seemed the moment the last slice of pie was served on Thanksgiving, I was already behind on all things Christmas. How did this happen?
As a child I can remember that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like a magical forever that yawned with days full of happily endless little events leading up to the big day! Now, those few weeks seem like but a blink. One of my main focuses during this time is to really slow things down for my kids. Creating those little holiday joys during these December days, and getting the boys to focus on them. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy doing the Ali Edwards December Daily project so much. It spotlights the little moments of our Holidays. Slowing these down and highlighting the little things is one way I get to make this a season for our family. And seriously, it’s one of the few things that keep me grounded in the true spirit of the Holiday. Simple smiles with my boys, creating the magic for them, special time with my family during a season we thank God for his love and blessings and celebrate all the good He has brought into this world. Heavens knows we need to celebrate the good these days.
I wanted to share with you one of my happy Christmas memories growing up in downtown Brooklyn. Shopping with my Mom and sister and Grandma the day after Thanksgiving at Abraham and Strauss. I guess you could call it Black Friday shopping, but we didn’t know it as that. All we knew was that was the day all the stores decorated for the holidays. Not a moment before. Overnight, lights were hung in streets, store windows were dressed and it was officially “Christmastime”!
Inside A&S,  huge tree hung from the ceiling of the first floor right by the elevator banks that were operated by white gloved gentlemen in elegant uniforms. I can still remember the awe of looking up into the glittering pine, filled with ornaments and lights and toys waiting for the elevator to come. Christmas music played over the speakers and even though there were crowds, we all seemed to be happy. Everyone would look up into that tree as they passed. It was magic. Then ding! The elevators doors would open and the operator would welcome us in.
Once inside, the operators would greet us with a smile and work a huge dial of sorts to open and close the doors.  This day they didnt have to ask what foor we were going to. Seeing my sister and I they knew that we were headed to the 8th floor, of course.  That was Santa’s workshop! Once we got to our floor, the doors would open to a long line and there were displays and tinsel and cotton snow everywhere as we waited patiently between the red velvet ropes to see Santa himself.
Next stop was a little shopping for presents and holiday clothes followed by lunch in the Garden Room.  It was a place where ladies lunched and kids fidgeted- not much fun to be had there and proper manners were strictly enforced.
Finally, lunch would be over and we would take the escalators down to the first floor followed by a loud clackity wooded escalator to the basement, where we would be treated to a bag of Bridge Mix to share on the way home! Now, if you boil this all down, it was a day at a store. But, I promise you, there is nothing commercial about my memories of that day.  I recall the magic, the anticipation, the hand holding, the music, the sights and glitter and excitement of it all and oh! the sweet crunch of those candies.  But maybe, my Mom remembers it differently. Maybe she remembers the gift list that seemed longer than out paycheck, the tiredness she felt after working a full week, the crowds and the fact the Christmas seemed to be coming all too quickly.
After writing this, I’ve come to realize something. Maybe the fact that time has been rushing for me is because now I am the curator of the Holidays. I like that thought.  I can keep pace with this time clock when I focus on the fact that the kids are unaware of the checklists and budgeting that goes on behind the scenes, as they should be- and the end result are memories of everydays in December that were magical because I kept the pace with a smile.
Yep. I like that way of thinking.
what joy will you create today?


  1. Oh how I love this post!! Brings back many happy memories of my own childhood – Mom taking me downtown with her to see the decorations in all of the department stores and their windows. Our favorites were always John Wannamaker's and Strawbridge + Clothiers. While both stores had entire floors devoted to Santa's Workshop, my favorite was always Wannamaker's. After sight-seeing and shopping we'd always go to Wannamaker's cafeteria for lunch and hot chocolate by the Eagle on the main floor.

    I should Google some pics and do a spread about this! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Vanessa! We are definitely on the same wavelength here! 😉 You should Google it! I was thrilled to find the photos here- and it really brought back great memories!

  3. Beautiful! A stroll down memory lane for me, as I was born and raised in Queens NY. Remember all the things you mentioned. Oh, those wooden escalators…I used to be scared of those as a kid! 😉

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