The Gift of Christmas

Christmas Yawn

This is my brother on Christmas morning sometime in the 80s. There was some debate as to whether he was screaming or yawning at the pants he opened on Christmas morning. I took it right to the source yesterday and he said, “What are those made of? They’re shiny.” Then he confirmed he was indeed yawning.

From there we went in to talk about the ornaments on the tree that we have given each other over the years and as we laugh an joke and make fun, it’s increasingly clear that the gift of Christmas is sharing it. The Christmas presents are a yawn compared to the people you spend it with. I should also mention while I’ve been writing I’ve been wearing neon orange springy pig tales and no one has said a word. This might be one way you know you’re at home with the people who get you 🙂

I have to get back to the fun, but I’ll leave you with this from Dr. Seuss:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”


Mail Mail it Never Fails…

Well, we have done it. All of the Christmas presents are sent and all of the Christmas cards are mailed!

In the last few days we have gotten so many great notes from friends, pictures of new babies, new slippers, and a heavy box of homemade rum balls and other surprises that really touched my heart. The mail is a wonderful thing. For less than fifty cents, you can get a message to anyone in the country in a day or two. Think about how nice it is to open the mailbox and see a non-bill: a letter, a note, a card, and on really lucky days, a package.  It’s wonderful to open the front door or the mail box and see familiar handwriting.

Flat E whAt Christmastime last year we had a really special visitor arrive in the mail. Flat Ellaleigh came to visit from Tennessee. She wanted to see what life was like in Washington, D.C. so she could go back home and tell the real Ellaleigh about it. Flat E, as we called her once we became friends, took us on adventures all over town. We saw the White House in lights, we went to see A Christmas Carol at the Alexandria Little Theater and to a Washington Wizards game. We took her to the Botanic Gardens to see trains and trees and to the art gallery where she briefly got lost, but thankfully was found. When it was time for her to go, we packed her up with pictures and postcards and we sent her back home.  As a single piece of mail, Flat E connected family across miles. That little flat girl brought a lot of joy and fun on this end, and I would imagine she did the same when she arrived in the mailbox back home. She gave us a reason to spend a frost bitten evening glove in glove taking pictures in the lights. She put smiles on the faces of those who passed us posing and angling her into photos. You can’t do that with an email.Flat E

This year, more than ever it seems like the days of daily mail delivery may be numbered. Canada, a bastion of all things polite, is already getting ready to say goodbye to mail . And before too long Amazon is planning to skip mail delivery all together with drones  that remind me of The Jetsons.  But this year, you still have time to connect with someone by taking a minute to reach out to with a card or a note. Let someone know they are special enough for you to send them a letter. I for one, would love to hear from you and I am sure there are so many people who would like to hear from you too!

Photo Credit: Donielle Scherff

PS: Unhurried or not, I am glad not to have to go to the post office again for a while. Just remember when you are there–Santa is watching. Be nice.

Sing Choirs of Angels: Enjoying Trinity Choir from Home!


When I was 20 or so I was an apprentice at the world-renowned Spoleto USA arts Festival and it was a pivotal experience for my life and my career.For a handful of jam-packed months I rode a rented bike all around the Charleston peninsula ferrying keys to festival artists and  taxi-ing myself to all of the incredible events and performances that I got to attend for free.   I got glimpses of dressing rooms and the hidden corners of historic theaters and performance spaces I was in the midst of beautiful parties, astounding talent, and the inner workings of America’s preeminent performing arts organization. I learned from the very best teachers at the top of their careers how to expect perfection and make it happen. This has served me well and I look back on the experience so fondly.  

My wheels were complete with a bell and a basket.

My wheels were complete with a bell and a basket.

I would return as an apprentice the following year and as a patron for many years after that. One of the most special part of the experience were the friends I made–some of them have gone on to  dedicate their lives to their art. One such blindingly talented person is Luthien Brackett. When we met she was a member of the Ryder College Westminster Choir.  Today, Luthien and a legion of other powerful, angelic voices now make up the choir at Trinity Church in the financial district in Manhattan.

Through the power of the internet, you can get swept up in what really sounds like a choir of angels singing while enjoying this very snowy day. I know I am.

Click here to hear the Trinity Choir performance of Handel’s Messiah.

Holiday Plant Care | Melinda Myers Shares Her Houseplant Survival Secrets

As I am planting amaryllis #2 I am noticing that a. my house is starting to look like a florist, and #2, the poinsettias are in need of water…or maybe more light. Something.

I am glad I found this before they die on me 🙂

Garden Variety

Gardening expert Melinda Myers offers a little expert advice with GV readers on caring for some often-difficult holiday houseplants.

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