Christmas Greetings from Punta Cana

Friday last week was the end of the school term and I left work quickly after school to go home and pack. After spending Christmas for more than a decade in the cold temperatures of a Canadian city, my husband and I decided we would spend the Holiday basking in the warm temperatures of a Dominican Republic resort. Our Christmas this year is quite different from years past and it feels strange not following the traditions that my family and I have created over the last fifteen years. We have had some good family time so far and are making more family memories.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. And if you don’t celebrate it, may you enjoy the day anyway with family and friends.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

A Visit by the Classroom Elf

This week Jean-Jean, the classroom’s Elf on the Shelf, made an appearance. As per tradition, I read the story about the elf to the children on Monday and some children in the class shared stories about the elves that are visiting their home.

Each morning I place the elf in a different place, often linked to what the children are currently doing in class. I remind the children that they are not to touch the elf as he will lose his magic and return to the North Pole. Those children who have an elf at home already know about this admonition.

As always, there are children who don’t believe – which is okay. However, there were some children this year who decided to touch the elf in order to test whether he was magic or not. So Jean-Jean was put away much to the dismay of some of the children. Hopefully the class, as a whole, will learn the lesson to follow the instruction given and not spoil the experience for others.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf who visits your home or work space?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Pausing for Remembrance Day

This morning the final preparations for our Remembrance Day assembly took place. This solemn event always brings tears to my eyes and today was no different. The pause at 11am makes me grateful for the fact that I currently live in a peaceful country.

I would like to take this moment to thank all those who have fought for our freedom; and those who continue to help those around the world who cannot stand for themselves.

what do you do for Remembrance Day?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

A Family Smile

There were so many things that made me smile this week. Besides being Christmas – a holiday during which I spend time with my family – it is also my birthday. The reason for my long-lasting smile this week is my family. Not only did my husband and children spend time with me over Christmas, but they also spent the day with me on my birthday.

Christmas began as it always does: with me spending some time on the sofa reading before my family awakes. I always enjoy this time in front of the Christmas tree. After sending Christmas messages to my family in South Africa, I relaxed a little with my current read. This year I decided to get brunch ready before waking up my husband and children. The kids are older now so they are not impatient to open the gifts. We spent a lovely time at the table chatting and catching up with our son who is visiting for a couple of weeks.

After brunch, we got ready for opening the gifts. We normally spend quite a bit of time doing this as we open the gifts one at a time and discuss what has been given. We always have a number of laughs – and this year was no different. This year I got everyone a couple of Christmas socks. Of course these were pulled on quickly to show a little Christmas spirit. I am sure the socks will be worn during the year and I will be seeing them in the wash. If not, I am sure they will be brought out again in December in the lead-up to Christmas. After gift opening, we relaxed a little and read. No-one was up to playing board games and we decided we would watch a movie after supper. We did so, and it was the end to a perfect day.

My smile continued two days later with my birthday. When I woke up, I read the messages that friends and family had sent me from all over the world. Then, of course, I spend a little time reading. Then it was time to get ready for lunch. As is tradition, my family and I went out to a buffet lunch to celebrate me being a year older. Upon entering, we were impressed with the effort the restaurant had made this year with the decorations.

The food was also delicious this year. Last year we were disappointed as some of the dishes were dry. This year, overcooked meat was not an issue. Eating out with my family and chatting with them was the best gift they could have given me. I really appreciate that they spent the time with me, especially now that they are older.

After lunch, we went to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns. We had to see this show en famille as all three children had watched the movie with Julie Andrews repeatedly when they were young. They knew the songs – and even some lines! The 4pm show was popular and many families were waiting in line to enter the cinema. There were even some older people waiting in line – curious, I am sure, to see what Disney had done in this sequel of a well-loved film.

My day ended perfectly with a gift from my children – a gift w hich shows that they listen to me and know so well what I would enjoy. We watched Crazy Rich Asians togetheron Christmas Eve and I had said I needed to read the stories because I loved the film so much. Et viola! My first reads for 2019 are now waiting for me next to my bed. Today I hope to complete my current read so that I can begin this trilogy soon – though some more family time and smiles are prepared for the next couple of days.

I hope you enjoyed your Holidays as much as I did. It was definitely something to smile about!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

This year’s Christmas tree.

While waiting for my family to awake, I am sitting on the sofa reading and enjoying some quiet time in front of the tree. As I look at what is in front of me, I look forward to the opening of gifts. Not because I want to receive things, but because I enjoy the family camaraderie and the look on my family’s faces when they open a gift that they will enjoy. We have experienced some wonderful laughter in these moments, as well as some tears. I love Christmas for the family time that we spend together – a time that begins with brunch and then the opening of gifts.

Reading while waiting.

So I wait until all my family are ready. And while I wait I immerse myself in my current read. I look forward to to a relaxing day, even though I will be making Christmas dinner. As it is just the five of us, it is not stressful at all.

Enjoy your day with family and friends.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

A Holiday Door

Last week Friday, we completed the Holiday Door for our classroom. The children this year were very eager to participate and worked hard on their colouring.Our door is a combination of Christmas with the Santa theme, and Hanukkah. To make the wreath, the children traced their hands and then cut it out. The little elves on the door (which were coloured in and cut out by the children) have each child’s face in it.

The door may look busy but I love the way it looks. It is one of the first things I see when I enter the school and it always makes me smile. It is the perfect way to begin my day.

Do you decorate your door for the Holidays?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Norm’s Thursday Doors challenge)

Christmas Window Display

Each year the retirement home near the supermarket I go to, decorates their front window with a Christmas theme. This year, they are displaying the mail that is sent out to Santa.

I cannot help but smile each time I pass the window. The person who works on the display is definitely innovative and does a wonderful job.

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileHave you seen any good Christmas displays in your neighbourhood?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Music Monday: Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas is my favourite holiday and I love seeing the Christmas decorations spring up everywhere. Our apartment is too small to contain a huge Christmas tree so I particularly enjoy seeing the beautifully decorated ones in the mall.

Whenever I see the huge trees, the following Christmas song pops into my mind:

I will enjoy all the trees I see around this season – and maybe this will be the year I go and see the big one in the city centre 🙂

Do you enjoy seeing Christmas trees?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Christmas Carols

This time of year I enjoy listening to traditional Christmas Carols. I put on a CD I bought years ago for my children and sing along with my favourites. I enjoy Joy to the World, a carol I used to sing when I was a part of the high school choir.

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing is my favourite – I love singing the chorus with gusto:

Angels we have heard on High would have to be added to my list of favourites

The first Christmas carols I learned were Away in a Manger

And of course Silent Night

While I wrap gifts, tidy up the place for the 25th, and prepare our meals I will be listening to these hymns that were written to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Which Christmas carol is your favourite?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

True Love

Today, on Valentine’s Day, the talk of love abounds. Gifts of chocolate and flowers are expected – as well as dining out. But do these things reflect true love? I think of a poem written centuries ago that describes what true love is:

Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds, 

Or bends with the remover to remove: 

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests ad is never shaken; 

It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. 

Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’scompass come; 

Love alters not with his brief hours annd weeks, 

But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 

If this be error and upon me proved, 

I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 

William Shakespeare

I believe Shakespeare wrote true words. On this day we should not be looking at the breath of first love as an example of what love is. Instead we should be looking at those people who have loved over the years in spite of the difficulties they have encountered together. We should be celebrating the love that has supported the other, the love that has grown stronger over the years.

On Valentine’s day I do not receive flowers, nor chocolates, nor a Hallmark card. But what I do know is that my husband loves me in spite of the difficulties we have experienced. I have grown older and shown the many sides of my personality – and he continues to love me. He shows me support day in and day out; and not only on the day that has been set aside for commercial purposes.

On this day I have a Valentine – and my husband has one. And the love received from our children is an added bonus.

What do you think of Valentine’s Day?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016