Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Unwrapping the Hodgepodge Vol 103

Welcome to the first Hodgepodge of the Christmas season!  I know it's not technically December, but I always feel like the Monday following Thanksgiving marks the transition into holiday mode.  Be sure to add your link to the bottom of my post and then spread some Christmas cheer by visiting the neighbors.  

Only four hodgepodges til Christmas, just in case you're wondering.

1.  With that being said, I think I need to dive right into some Christmas related questions, don't you?  Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow? What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?

I have a bit of a thing for pretty wrapping paper.  The Container Store is super dangerous for me this time of year.  I love the way they display their papers with ribbon and embellishments...definitely makes me want to load up a cart full.   I also love pretty gift bags, especially for awkward items that aren't easily boxed, but I think there is something about unwrapping a beautifully wrapped package that just isn't the same with a bag.  

Did I answer the question?  
Pretty gift wrap.  

Oh, and if we're talking right this minute then 0.0%  

2. What is one item on your Christmas list this year?

A snow jacket.  Some people might call this item a ski jacket, but in my case snow jacket is probably more accurate.  I know I'm getting this one because my mom had me try some on while I was visiting a couple of weeks ago, and then she bought the one I chose.  She'll wrap it though.  

In a box with a beautiful bow.  

3. What makes a home?

I  find the concept of 'home' very difficult to put into words.  

Home is your people.   

Home is also your stuff.  I don't mean couches and tables and such, but rather the bits and pieces that stamp your name on a place...that make you say 'I belong here'.  

Home is a place where it's okay to be raw, open, vulnerable.   To be the real you and yet be loved and cherished because of, and in spite of, who the real you may be.  

It's a lap to fall into.
A safe haven from a sometimes cruel world.

4. Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday today...are you a fan of the Motown sound?  If so who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song?  Here's a list in case you're stuck.

I love the Motown sound, especially the early hits. I don't think I can pick a favorite, but The Four Tops, The Temptations and Gladys Knight and the Pips are high on my list.  I for sure can't pick a favorite song but Just My Imagination by the Temptations is right up there near the top.   

5. Red or green...which one is more prevalent in your closet?

Probably red.  Not a true red, more of an orangey-red which I prefer with my coloring. 

6. True or false-bacon makes it better?  If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon?

True.  I make a lot of Saturday morning bacon and eggs and I love a BLT anytime.  We also eat a lot of Cobb salads and crispy bacon is essential.  

7. Share a favorite holiday memory.

My memories of Christmas morning growing up always start on the steps.  Every year my parents (who had likely just gone to bed) would go downstairs first so my mom could make the coffee and my dad could start the fire.  Then he'd fiddle with the camera for what seemed like for-e-vah and we four kids would squish together on the steps for the traditional taking of the Christmas morning photograph.  So much is captured in that early morning moment...the anticipation, the excitement, and most of all-the love.  

I've carried that tradition on with my own girls and they squish and grumble like we did, but they get it.  They know it doesn't matter if you're celebrating at Mema's house...

c. 1994

or high up on a mountain in the hills of Tennessee... 

c. 2000

You can move across the ocean, but still you can't escape it...

c. 2008

In fact, it doesn't even matter if you're practically all grown up and have cousins visiting for the holidays...

c. 2009

Her mama is my sister and she knows.  

Until you have children of your own you must endure (and secretly love) the traditional Christmas morning, sittin'-on-the-step photo.  I'd bet money that one day in the not so distant future these girls  insist their own children sit there too.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

It snowed here all day yesterday so originally I thought I'd insert a picture as my random.  I spent the day doing a little more decorating and organizing for Christmas and as I worked I played this song once or twice or maybe ten times. I never get tired of Casting Crowns version of this classic carol, and the lyrics feel especially poignant at the end of November in the year 2012.  Definitely worth adding to your Christmas play list...

In our hearts and in our homes and for this nation. 

That's my answer for #2.


  1. I don't quite feel Christmas spirit til my shoppings all done. :) Its hard to shop for my family they dont give me ideas of what they really want. Anyway my mom LOVES the container store and she'd shop there for hours!

  2. This is the third reference to Casting Crowns I've heard in as many days. Not three about the same song, but 3 different ones. Love this group. Oh, and my kids did the sittin'-on'-the-step thing till last year , the first year we were without our oldest because he was , shall we say, sittin' on a different step, one in NJ, and thus ended our tradition. Sniff, sniff.

  3. I love the step pictures! Two things I knew already: about your Mom buying you your ski jacket and your wore an orange-red jacket the day we went to see the Pioneer Woman! :)
    did you enjoy the snow? Lindsey got out 1/2 a day.

  4. I love all the photos of the girls on the steps. A staircase makes a great spot for photos. I have a few of my kids on the steps in the years that we lived in houses with steps. My family has always taken photos at Christmas of the entire group. We have fun getting the camera adjusted to get the shot. Especially finding something to set the camera on to get the height needed and then getting all of us looking at the camera. Needless to say, it takes a few times to get it right.

  5. #3 well said! I agree completely. And my mother will do the exact same thing. Even if I'm with her when I pick out my gift, I can't get it until Christmas morning and it has to be wrapped! :D

  6. just recently discovered Casting Crowns - Jesus, Friend of Sinners - gets me every time ... Thank you for sharing that they also have Christmas songs! :)

  7. Joyce, I have to say that I'm so jealous of the snow you've been getting. We'll be lucky if we get a dusting down here. I love it when it snows around Christmastime! The pictures of your girls are precious and what a sweet tradition. Don't you often wish you could turn back the hands of time? Casting Crowns is one of my favorite Christian groups...what an awesome performance! Really puts you in the Christmas spirit!

  8. We never had a traditional Christmas photo, but I kind of wish we had. I did take a picture of my nieces every year on the mini golf course when we went to the Shakespeare Festival and I love having that collection through the years.

    Thanks again, Joyce for a great Hodge Podge!

  9. I like the traditional Christmas picture on the stairs, what a good idea! Have to save it for the grandkids!

    I agree, home is your People.

  10. We had a step progression as well. The other pictures we had were in our pyjamas for our annual Christmas card.

  11. Casting Crowns is one of my favorite musical groups. Perfect choice for the Christmas holiday.
    I think it's a sweet tradition that you do with your girls on the steps. How did you get them to do it without doing hair and makeup? LOL

  12. So grateful there's no container store nearby me - otherwise I'd be broke earlier! Pretty wrapping paper is one of my weaknesses, too lol

  13. We did the same thing growing up sitting on the steps on Christmas morning....and continue that. Happy Wednesday!

  14. Christmas morning with children is certainly special. I need a little snow here-send some on down.

  15. Sweet Christmas pictures of your girls. I love that song and Casting Crowns and bacon too! :)

  16. Joyce, these questions were some of my very favorite! So much fun to answer.

    Love the stairs and the girls and the tradition being carried on. Cute!

    And, great answer to #3!

    Happy Wednesday my friend!

  17. I hadn't heard the Casting Crowns version before, but I love "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Why did I not think of a traditional holiday photo before? I think the closest we've come is taking one in front of the tree, I'll have to be sure to continue that one. And we also make the kids wait before tearing into their presents. I can still remember one year when we children didn't wait to get into the Santa gifts, and Mom was dismayed at missing the first reactions. I suppose it's in her memory that we wait.

    You've converted me over to the wrapped packages camp, Joyce...they sound more lovely than gift bags!

  18. I love those Christmas traditions. I know all those pictures are a blessing to remember wonderful Christmas moments.


  19. I just LOVE that version of that Christmas Carol ... it and How Many Kings by Downhere are my very most favorite Christmas songs of all ... I cannot hear enough of them during the Christmas season.

  20. Love the traditional "step" pictures!!!

    I've been keeping my Casting Crowns Christmas CD on replay already :)

  21. Love your sitting on the steps photos. We had those too. One Christmas my mom even taped a large paper barrier across the stairway to prevent 'someone' from sneaking downstairs early. Ahem. Thanks, as always, for hosting the party!

  22. I love your answer about what makes a home. What a neat tradition of taking photos on the steps each Christmas morning. I love that song too!

  23. Love your definition of 'home'. And how cool seeing how your girls have changed throughout the years!

  24. What a great Christmas morning tradition, it too me back to Christmas mornings as a child. Though we waited anxiously in our rooms, typically me and my two sisters would sleep in one of our rooms Christmas Eve. Waiting together for the sound of Bells jingling. When we couldn't wait any longer we would send the youngest to our parents room to ask if the bells had rang or not. She would be promptly sent back to us and we would wait some more.

  25. I love your Christmas photo on the stairs tradition! Have all of your homes always had stairs? Now I know your secret for staying in shape :)

  26. I loved reading this post. Everything about it defined 'home.' The photos are precious!

  27. Loved the Casting Crowns song. I loved your post. Great questions this outdid yourself.

  28. I had the same mom. Go downstairs to start the coffee and make the kids wait at the top of the stairs until it was ready. Those were the longest minutes ever.

  29. We have our Christmas traditions also- and that Christmas morning picture is on our list- though not on the stairs. But that's just because we don't have any. LOL I don't know what I was thinking when I accepted the job offer at school...I don't have any time to do the Christmas 'stuff' this year. I need a clone. Maybe, if we were as lucky as y'all, we'd have snow too and then I'd have time off from school and get something done around here! :) I love the Motown sound too! And you named some of my favorites!

  30. What sweet stair pictures! This would have been a great tradition to start... drat.
    I'll have to remember this when mine have Littles.

    If I have a memory by then. ;)

  31. i love the christmas morning photo tradition!

  32. First time answering your questions. Thanks for hosting. Like many of the others I think your on the steps picture is a great tradition.

  33. I liked your stair picture tradition. It reminded me of the one I take each year of my son standing in front of daddy kneeling in the same spot each year. He started sitting in between his knees and now son covers Daddy's face. We figure this year he will grow past Daddy's head.

  34. Oh Joyce, that 1994 photograph is precious. The Christmas bag is becoming more and more popular for its ease and practicality. My BW usually re collects the bags after the gifts are removed and uses them again.

    I enjoyed reading this homey post, please all have a great yuletide.

  35. Looks like we like a lot of the same Motown artists. :-) Thanks for hosting!

  36. I love the container store! Cobb salad is my favorite. I love your tradition on the stairs on Christmas morning. I can't seem to get enough Christmas music this year.