OLD Home Movies & Ghosts of Christmas Past

For many years I’ve been delaying doing something I really wanted to do; transferring my very old, well okay, archaic, 8mm movies to DVD. I recall first looking into the transferring process back when it would have been put on VHS. It was very expensive, especially when you have reels upon reels of the stuff. So, it was one of those things that had to be put on a backburner because I could never justify the cost. It’s gone down some over the years, but last time I checked several years back it still seemed like for the amount of film I had it would just be too steep and after all, we did still have an old movie projector that worked. Even though it was more than a pain to operate, we’d haul it out every so many years and show some movies. 

When my mom was here over Thanksgiving we attempted to fire up the old projector and show some of these priceless films only to discover the old projector had given up. The hubby convinced me to check into transferring again making the point that some of the films were already forty *cough* years old! Over time the film degrades and once it’s gone, it’s gone, so being something so irreplaceable I decided to just get it done. To my delight, it actually was not nearly as costly as I’d feared. 

The first batch came back and the DVD was filled with Christmases, birthdays and other events of me beginning at around age 2. I teared up when I saw long, lost relatives; my maternal grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even my father, all gone now but there they were on the screen. It was really awesome.
So I’d like to share a little clip with you.

Of course there was no sound back then (something that seems so odd to us today!) but I am so thankful to even have just the video. Those happy family moments are very much cherished. As I continue to make my own happy moments now within my family, I realize just how precious they are. I could write a lengthy and rather sobering post about issues regarding family members who don’t bother to keep in touch or put a priority on getting together or who are just plain unkind. But I won’t go into that because it’s not worth it. As both the hubby and I have learned, particularly with regard to family, you cannot change the way people choose to act towards you, you can only choose how you react to it. As much as it’s painful when some family behave as though they simply “don’t care”, just as with any negative in life, whether it’s a habit, a situation, or even a relationship, you simply have to remove yourself from it. Life is far too short for negativity regardless of where or who it’s coming from.

So as I see these old home movies, I remember the joy and cherish the memories with fondness. And I choose to keep that joy within me and share it with all those who are close to me and who truly have my heart.

Enjoy the Holidays MORE by doing LESS

It would be great to see people just enjoying the holidays instead of actually being stressed and worried about them. At Christmas, as well as other times, we get too caught up in having it all and doing it all, not to mention buying it all.

As a Professional Organizer, I've encouraged people to use simplification, organization and economy as the rule of thumb as opposed to the excess, complication and expense that is so often encouraged today.

A general rule: "if it’s stressful instead of joyful, either find a way to simplify it or eliminate it."

Instead of spending all your spare time baking, decorating and shopping, pare things down to the point you are comfortable with.

DECORATING:

Take notice of any decorations you find you don’t use this year & haven’t used in the past; maybe they are too much trouble to put up or you simply have enough other decorations, but whatever the reason, consider getting rid of them and simplifying your holiday decor.

Then, put everything away in an organized manner after the holidays this year, & make things easier next year.  Use cord wraps to store lights, use divided ornament boxes to house all your ornaments safely, and store all your wrap and bows in a wrap box.

BAKING:

Pare it down: instead of baking several kinds of cookies, bake your very favorite 2-3.

TIP: Put all your favorite holiday recipes in one place, separate from the rest, so you can easily get them out each year without having to rummage through several cookbooks or recipe boxes

SHOPPING:

Avoid the holiday rush, stress and crowds by taking advantage of buying gifts on-line. Shop throughout the year when you see things that catch your eye as the perfect gift for someone on your list, and combined with on-line shopping you can be done before most people even start their holiday shopping.

TIP:  Make lists of not only those you buy gifts for, but what you think they might want or the item you intend to get for them. This will help you keep track as you shop.


GIFTS:

Consider giving useful, & unique gifts to be used and enjoyed rather than giving “things”.

For example, Gift Certificates for:
  • special services (massage, pedicure, etc.)
  • restaurants or coffee houses 
These are always enjoyed and appreciated, where a knick-knack or trinket you pick up at a gift store may not only not be someone’s taste, but end up adding to their accumulation of clutter.

Homemade gifts:
  • various food items
  • a certificate for a free night of babysitting or a car wash
  • an audio or video recording of a parent, grandparent or any family member reminiscing about the past or telling funny stories 
When you simplify some of the more hectic & stressful aspects of the holidays you can concentrate on enjoying your favorite parts and maybe you’ll find you actually have the time to leisurely wrap your gifts by the fire while sipping eggnog when you aren’t running around at the last second shopping, baking and putting up an abundance of decorations.