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Just one of the amazing ice sculptures on display at Gaylord ICE!, National Harbor, Maryland, November 2011

Just one of the amazing ice sculptures on display at Gaylord ICE!
National Harbor, Maryland, November 2011

“Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us…” 
Winston Churchill, in his Christmas Eve message of 1941

Have you ever wondered how many things we do “for the children” are actually an excuse for us to have some fun?  Never is this happy proclivity more obvious than during the holidays.  I hope you are able to indulge in some childlike fun, whether or not you have actual children around to share it.  A good shot of youthful delight is a great emotional immunization for the coming winter.

One year ago today:

Live faithfully a hidden life


  1. We are always the same age inside no matter how many wrinkles we get. Enjoy!

    • I agree. I’ve known many people who were 20 going on fifty! I’d rather be a kid, at least when it comes to having fun at Christmas.

      • Now, THAT’S the holiday spirit in action!

        • Ho-Ho-Ho! 🙂

  2. I had never read Churchill’s message from December 24, 1941. Of course what they had before them was more than Winter. Is “youthful delight” more of a pre-innoculation; or could it be one ingredient – continually mixed into the milieu of the season of long, dark nights and bright, crisp days?

    • I hope it would be an ongoing thing. As with a good immunization, ideally it would stimulate the body’s (mind’s) natural defenses against threats, on call to be available whenever needed!

  3. merry

    Julia, good morning. thanks for the photo. I love and enjoy Christmas…the lights, sounds and tastes…the excitement. Guess there is some child left in me. 🙂
    Christmas Blessings to you, Jeff, and Matt. and to baby Grady & parents.

    • Thank you Merry – with a name like yours, you would have to be at least a little bit of a child at Christmas time! I know a lot of British people say “Happy Christmas” but I guess the phrase “Merry Christmas” came from Dickens so it’s British too? In any case, I like it. It has a nice sound! Thanks for your good wishes, we wish you a wonderful holiday too!

  4. Jenelle

    I just returned from our family’s first trip to Disneyland! While my husband and I have been before, our boys were overwhelmed with shock and awe at the decoration and sheer awesomeness of the parks. Watching them soak up the magic and beauty warmed our hearts with love and joy. Your line of using the line “for the kids” applies perfectly to our trip, haha! Julia, you’re so right and it’s so much fun enjoying holiday pleasures. I was able to catch up on the posts I missed and I thank you for the bright and festive pictures and wonderful reminders of what this time of year means.

    • Thanks Jenelle! I have heard that this time of December is a great time to go to Disney, between the worst crowds at Thanksgiving and Christmas and still when the decorations are out in full glory. We have been to both Disneyland and Disney World several times, but I still love the California version best. It’s so much smaller but just has that original touch of Disney himself and all the nostalgia. Plus I loved, loved, loved the CA adventure park and wasn’t happy to read they were re-doing it. Soaring over California is my all time favorite ride in the world. I bought the CD just to have the music but it makes me too homesick to listen to it. I haven’t forgotten about sending you an ornament to replace the one that got broken in the mail – we’ve just been tied up here at the hospital, but hope to be home SOON! Hope you have the best Christmas ever!

  5. Jack

    Back in the olden days of vinyl albums, we wore the grooves out of Mame’s, “We need a little Christmas”. My parents were big Broadway fans, a young married couple in NYC. My older brother, younger sister and I know every song from many 50’s, 60’s musicals, a rarely used but nonetheless impressive (and useless) product of our upbringing. And yes, we need a little Christmas right this very minute. As if we can stop it!

    • WOW, I am always learning stuff from these comments. I have always enjoyed “We need a little Christmas” but never realized it was from Mame – I have not seen that musical although like you, I can sing the entire score from so many others since my parents were also fans. My siblings and I are more familiar with “Camelot” and “Man of La Mancha,” which were particular favorites of Daddy’s; we grew up listening to their stirring songs. I also loved “My Fair Lady,” “Oliver!,” “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.” Then later we added “1776” and of course “Phantom of the Opera.” I have a strong preference for Lerner and Lowe; I always found their lyrics so impeccably perfect. “1776” has equally clever lyrical agility. I would never call that childhood gift useless! I have sung my own blues away many times and I’d be willing to bet that my siblings have too. With so many scores floating in my head, there is a song for any mood. As Arthur and Guinevere sang, “That’s what simple folks do…” I will have to get a video of Mame and watch it, if only for that song. My sister and I were talking just recently about how much we love it. Thanks for bringing back some happy musical memories.

      • Jack

        I wouldn’t dare match musical wits with you! Or wits of any other kind for that matter. Blessings.

        PS: We took our 3 daughters and now 16 year old son to Les Mis and Phantom in London about 9 years ago. He remembers:

        1. The swinging chandelier in Phantom
        2. Nothing in Les Mis. It’s referred affectionately in our house today as The Miserable, for that’s what he thought it was. But he dug the London Eye, remembers vividly. Go figure

        • He has the opposite taste as I do (and I suspect many of us over 50!) I was totally unimpressed with the London Eye and had no desire to ride it, although I used to love Ferris Wheels best of all. At my age, what I thought was that they really messed up the landscape! But I know many people are crazy about it. I have STILL never seen Les Miserables but I do want to see it, since I love the story so much. “Bring Him Home,” “On My Own” and of course “I Dreamed a Dream” are all such lovely songs; I’d want to see it for those alone but I think I’d enjoy the whole thing.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, love the term “emotional immunization”! Bill and I are planning that on December 21st, when Ashley and Stephanie come home with our 6 grandchildren for a Christmas Pajama Party in “Sleepy Hollow”, the name for our guest downstairs. It’s their domain from teenage years so it does have memories. It will be fun for all…..including Bill and me! I so hope that all is well! Love, Sheila

    • “Sleepy Hollow” – how perfect! I know your kids and grandkids will be telling stories about it. I hope you have a ton of fun! We are doing OK. It’s been a very different holiday season but I told Jeff last night, I hope I will always remember it as one of the best for us because it was when he got well. We hope we will be going home on Monday and then the fun can start in earnest as I wrap presents nonstop!! Y’all have a blast on the 21st! Thanks for stopping by tonight to say hello. Sorry I took so long to get to the comments today — LONG day!

  7. Beth

    Julia, I recall listening to a Judy Collins album at your house. The song I remember most is the Whale Song. Do you remember it?

    • I not only remember it, I sing it all the time! (Minus the whales in the background, of course.) You can enjoy it here. That album was called “Whales and Nightingales” and I remember pretty much every song on it. The only one most people might remember is her famous a cappella rendition of “Amazing Grace” but my favorites were some of the others. I still have that album, and sing the songs a lot. In fact, I sang them as lullabyes to Grady recently, as I used to do with our sons. Probably my favorite is “The Patriot’s Game” but they’re all great.

  8. raynard

    Julia, I heard a Christmas carol sung by Elvis the other day. Is it me or 1 it sounded just like”Little teddy bear & Jailhouse rock and 2 I thought he”left the building? I digress be blessed

    • “Jailhouse Rock” is my all time favorite Elvis song. “Suspicious Minds” is my second favorite. I think Elvis left the building years ago (via the bathroom) but there are still lots of people out there who don’t seem to believe it…

      • P.S. “In the ghetto” is probably my third favorite.

  9. I might have said this before here, but celebrating Christmas really helps us northerners get through winter. Especially when it starts snowing in October and doesn’t really melt entirely until mid-may. We used to celebrate much bigger when we were younger. With Christmas parties including a Santa at the neighbours at the lake. When everyone had little kids it was a bit different. Even so, Jim and I always look forward to surprising each other with little things and enjoying a few days together doing movies, dinner out with friends and visiting family.

    • I can imagine that the holidays would be even more important with a long, cold winter ahead. The older I get, the more I like the notion of Christmas as a slow-paced, relaxing time such as you describe, filled with little treats and special moments. I am one who was always happy to see my kids get older; little ones are fun, but very high maintenance! 🙂 I guess that’s why grandchildren are so great – all the fun without the exhaustion!

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