Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Grow a Candy Cane

    Today the Scribe and the Hippie both woke up at the butt crack of dawn (do you like how I added that--it's practically swearing--Lola that was for you).  Anyway, the Scribe set up her easel--the gift Fishducky gave her.  (She's been painting all morning.)  The Hippie sat next to me and asked in a very sweet voice, "What are you going to blog about today?"
    "Maybe my gig last night.  Or the time I played the violin at a celebrity's party.  I'm not sure, though.  What do you think I should blog about?"
    She paused her DSI and smiled.  "People don't want to read about the violin.  You should write about . . . me.  Why don't you write about the magic tree and the year the candy canes grew."
    "Oh."  I laughed.  "How could I forget that story!"
    So, this is for the Hippie, my blonde, curly-haired princess:

The Year the Candy Canes Grew     

    I was pregnant with the Zombie Elf. All the Scribe, the Hippie and I wanted for Christmas was a tree, but since Cade worked out of town for weeks at a time, I didn't think it would happen.
    Then, to surprise all of us, my dad showed up with the most beautiful, real tree.  I hugged him because he's better than Santa.      
    After he left, the girls asked what we could put on our tree.  I raided the pantry and the house; we didn't have much that year.  Our ornaments were in one of the many boxes we'd packed in the garage.  The only things we really had were some butterfly lights the Scribe had around her room, various sizes of candy canes (about a million of them) and a couple packages of popcorn.
    "This is a magical Christmas tree," I whispered.  "Why don't we do something special.  Let's put candy canes, butterflies and popcorn on it."  Among others, I had those tiny candy canes, the ones banks give out.  Those were the only ones I took from the pantry as we put them all over the tree along with some strings of popcorn.
    "Are you sure we should put butterfly lights on it . . . for Christmas?" the Scribe asked.
    "Of course," I nodded, "those are Santa's favorite.  It gets so cold where he lives; he hardly ever sees butterflies."
     "Oh, that's awesome."  
    "And it is beautiful," the Hippie agreed.
    So, a day and a night passed and by the time I could admire the tree, all of the candy canes were gone!  The girls went to sleep, and like an elf in the night, I put more candy canes on the tree.  They were a little bigger than the bank candy canes--still red and white.  I didn't think anything of it until the girls woke up the next day.
    "The candy canes grew!" They said to each other.  
    "Plus, we ate all of them and now they're back."
    "What do you think will happen if we eat these ones?" the Hippie asked, and the fun began.
    Each day they'd eat a few candy canes and every night the Mama Elf (me) replaced the missing ones with new, bigger or more colorful candy canes from the pantry.  
    It was hilarious and those girls had more fun than you'd believe.
    Now, Christmas Eve came, and I wanted to cry.  Like I wrote before, we didn't have much money that year, just a bunch of candy canes, hot cocoa and radio music.  
    I remember getting up really early and praying by the tree.  "God, please help my girls have a good Christmas."  When I opened my eyes, I saw all those colorful candy canes and butterflies on the tree, that's when I knew what must be done.
    Have you ever had a brilliant idea, something Steve Jobs would have been proud of?  Well, that's what I felt happened to me.
    I found what money I could, bought some discounted lawn decorations as well as some toys from the dollar store.  That Christmas Eve, Cade smiled as we wrapped the gifts.  "You really think they'll believe your trick."
    "Absolutely."  I smiled. "This will make their Christmas unforgettable."

    When my girls woke up on Christmas morning, "Santa" had done a number on our front room.  Huge lit up candy canes hung from the tree.  Popcorn strings were everywhere and a bunch of presents (they had no idea cost a dollar each) were under the tree.
    "It's the Christmas miracle!" the Scribe said.  "The candy canes grew really big this time and then they turned into lights!"
    "Yeah," the Hippie nodded, "I sure hope Papa will buy our tree next year, too."

    It still makes me happy because we had no money, yet it's one of the most memorable Christmas's I've ever had.  Thank goodness for candy canes and thank goodness for a father who always knows how to be there when it counts.
    Thanks, Dad!


  1. That's such a great story. It's funny how the best memories happen on accident. :)

  2. Tell the Hippie that this was the perfect post!! Absolutely perfect. ;)

  3. That's a lovely story, but I must thank you for the butt crack of dawn. What a gift. I'm about ready to cry. I'm such a bad influence on all my friends. It makes me so freaking happy.


  4. What a beautiful message Elisa! It's always a joy to stop by and see what magical creation you have compiled for us each day!

    I love the magical growing candy canes! My kids would love to do that. I will have to keep that in mind for next year!

    We've had a few of those Christmases where money is quite tight..this year being one of them again. We were able to budget just enough that the kids each had $5 to spend on each sibling, and the husband and I had $20 to spend on each child and on each other. probably more than what you had the year of the magic candy canes, but still quite the cut back from previous years. But by magic miracles; we were blessed when people anonymously donated gifts for my children; included the much needed snow pants, gloves, and hats! Our Christmas tree was well stocked on Christmas due to the charity of others; and I'm ever grateful! I truly love Christmas, not for the presents, but because it is a lesson every year when I see the goodness of complete stranger's hearts!

    So my question..how early is the butt crack of dawn? haha. In our family tradition (on the husband's side) they always get up at 4am to open presents...and then once all the presents are opened they put in a movie and everyone falls asleep again. it's crazy, but fun.

    Your VB Friend
    JadeLouise Designs

  5. Thanks for the reminder that the best Christmas memories are not the presents that cost a lot of money. The happy, magical miracle of the candy canes will be remembered for a lifetime, and that is priceless.

  6. So fun :0)

    P. S. The butt crack of dawn . . . I've never had someone ask me what time that actually is LOL! I'm going with this answer: it's the time the sun first shows itself over the mountains; sometimes--like a butt crack--just a tiny bit of visibility can be too much :)

  7. If anyone could make a wonderful Christmas out of almost nothing--it is YOU! I LOVE YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY!!!!

  8. haha never had anyone ask the butt crack of dawn before either. Such a nice little miracle as well, those are the moments that will be remembered.

  9. Fabulous story. I just love that.

  10. Meh, "tushy buns" crack of dawn just wouldn't have worked in this instance.

    Precious story and I love that this is one of your kids' favorite memories!

    It's the simple things in life, right

  11. This is such a wonderful story. Your children will never forget this and they may just pass this on as a tradition to their children.

    This story is also a great reminder especially in this age of excess we live in that it's the little things that are bigger than life and much more important.

    Thank you so much for sharing this blessing,

  12. You are too much! I knew you that year. Why didn't you say something you knuckle head! Leave it to you to make it magic though. You truly are a champ my friend.

  13. Steve Jobs would be so proud, and you should be too! Some of the best ideas seem to come when the mainstream resources are not at our fingertips. Thank you for reminding me.

    Happy Holidays
    Lisa, Madi and Abi

  14. What a magical memory for your family! Less is definitely more, and bigger is better...lol

  15. I love this story.

    And yes, I am about 60% of the way through your book. But I have to say, I'm a bit irritated. I get about 3 or 4 pages and find myself talking to you, as if you were here with me. And then I read about 4 more pages and want to comment.

    Truely frustrating, I tell ya.

    Mostly, I love the way you wrote it true to journal style, as if you were actually talking to the reader. Love it!

  16. That's a great story. Makes me almost want to start giving my kids some wonderful memories, as opposed to always trying to freak them out. :)

  17. Long read, will definetaly finish later.

  18. That is probably one of the most precious stories I've heard you tell, Elisa. Totally made my heart all warm and gooey inside! :)

    Your children are lucky to have you as a mother, and I hope that one day I'll be able to provide such wonderful experiences for my children like you!

  19. That goes down as one of my favorites, Veal! I feel like you should post this one, every year. You're such a good mamma, and all your beautiful babies are so lucky to have you and Cade.

    This year, while I watched proud Pappa Bear carry Sundance around, letting her pick out something she liked from the toy store, I couldn't help thinking how lucky she and all the other little kids are who have parents to watch over them on Christmas. That's the most important thing, by far...

    I hope you guys had the BEST Christmas!

  20. Love this story! The magic of Christmas - specifically the kid kind of magic - is what I love about the holiday.

    Isn't it amazing what you can find at the dollar store? All 6 years of college I took a tag from the giving tree that they put out in the student union building or a gift bag for either a boy or girl. Last year, my grandma gave me $10 to help fill a bag. I went to the dollar store first and used the entire $10 to fill a bag. I sure hope the girl who received it loved what she got as much as I loved picking it all out :)

  21. *Sniff* that was just so sweet


  22. Wow what a story loved it and what a magical Christmas............

  23. What a great story! It's awesome to give your kids memories that they will talk about to their children! You created family history!

  24. What a lovely Christmas story!! :)

    ~Sweet blessings,

  25. What a magical and touching story! I love this one! It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy. I think sometimes the best Christmases are full of surprises- just like this one was. You were so clever to get those yard decorations! Awesome! Your girls will remember that Christmas forever! On a side note- I decorated my tree this year with butterflies- because it just looked different and special. I can only imagine how great your tree looked! What a fabulous dad you have!


  26. Very cute story! Thanks for sharing. Visiting from vB :)

  27. My husband and I have had one of these Christmases earlier on in our marriage when we barely had enough for food, let alone presents. But God is faithful, he always send angels when we need them most. Ours came in a form a perfect stranger who gave us a tree, presents for the children and $200 for a Christmas feast. It was such a blessing...I hope you and your family had a very merry Christmas! (btw I'm back =D but you can probably tell by my posting a comment =P )

  28. Elisa, I loved this story! It's so true that the small, thoughtful things are the best. I know as a kid, I just liked unwrapping something, and saving the bow. It didn't matter what was inside:)

  29. Truly, I love, love, love your stories. :) You inspire me as a mother.

  30. Loved your story!
    The lean Christmas's are the ones we seem to remember the most.
    We were living in Texas in the 70's,and my hubby was in the Army. We had 3 kids at the time.

    We had no money for presents or a tree. A neighbor gave us a little fake tree that was a foot high with little bulbs the size of your pinky on it that didn't light up.

    We wrapped 3 of the kids little used story books in newspaper and that is what they got for Christmas.
    Friends invited us for Christmas dinner and we had a good time. It was a lean Christmas but we were together.

  31. That is a wonderful story, you really do have a heart of gold. Happy New Year Elisa!

  32. This is such an amazing story with such love... a mothers love. I am so glad you and your girls look on it with with happiness... I know the hard times.. I understand 100% and those times are the absolute best times some times.... the most magical.... I love your posts!

  33. Isn't that what Christmas is about? The little things hold much more meaning.

  34. Wow, that would be a fantastic and memorable Christmas for sure! You're such a great mommy!