“A Few of My Favorite Things”

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale

It is difficult to believe Christmas is just a few days away.  It seems like only yesterday the peonies were blooming. So, before another day slips away, I thought I would share a “few of my favorite things.”


I love Christmas and every drop of magic the beautiful season holds.  From glorious store windows to the smell of wood smoke curling from chimneys. Even the mess in the kitchen from baking cookies.  I love it all, and everything in between.  

And, there is my special fondness of gorgeous packages which have been lovingly wrapped.  I love to look at them and wonder – “What could that be?”  The child in me  always shows up at Christmas.  


But I especially love what I refer to as “Elf Work.”  I once belonged to a Secret Elf Society.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Our society had 12 members.  Members were carefully invited, because no member could ever disclose the names of the other elves, or names of those our elves may have helped or were planning to help. Our belief was, ” It mattered not that a name be attached to an act of love, but that our actions lifted spirits and offered hope.” 


Sometimes we placed an entire Christmas, (tree, lights, presents and food) on the porch of a family who needed a helping hand. And, we hung gorgeous prom dresses on the front doors of many a princess who thought she would never own one, and delivered lots of bicycles at birthdays throughout the year. There were winter coats placed in strategic locations for the homeless and money for gas, along with a nice lunch placed at the door of someone who needed to travel to check on a loved one.  I lost count of the gazillion loaves of nut bread baked, tied with a pretty ribbon, and left on the porch of anyone we knew who could just use a sweet surprise. And, we always left a card which read: “Always Believe, Love Santa.” Even, if the delivery was made in June.

I can’t begin to tell you the fun we had, the strong friendships we formed – not to mention the wonderful fellowship we enjoyed.  Truly, we received far more than we gave.

They say, “What goes around, comes around,” and I now know that includes Elf Work.  The other evening our door bell rang and it was the gorgeous daughter of a lovely Elf named Suzie. You see, Elf Suzie is Belgian.  She made and brought to us, a tin of Galettes. Galettes are a Belgian waffle type cookie, most usually made at Christmas, and absolutely delicious. And, if you haven’t tasted one of these little gems since the early 1980’s, they are even more delicious.  My husband, who is also Belgian, and I so enjoyed this special treat. A kind and thoughtful treat from an Elf – just because.  Now, there is a real twist to this story. So be sure you remember the name Suzie, because you will want to read (later post) “The Story With a Twist.”  Elves are always at work – even when they are no longer with us. 

But, with all the things I love and enjoy about this season, Margaret Hendley so elequently expressed my feelings about one of my “most favorite things” when she said:  “At least once each December I take a few precious moments to sit alone in our darkened living room, illumined only by the lights of our Christmas tree, and in the quiet, remember the voices of those I love who are all now silenced, while I ponder the mystery and wonder of this most blessed of celebrations.”

Wishing you and yours all the joys,blessings, and wonder of this most glorious season !


Always Believe !

Love, Sandra 


Photos:  Facebook, Pinterest, M.S.Lambiotte


17 thoughts on ““A Few of My Favorite Things”

  1. What a wonderful post, Sandra. It captures the spirit of the holiday perfectly plus all the wonderful favorite things. All that is missing, really, is the schnitzel with noodles. Happy Holiday!

    1. Amalia, so happy that you visited today and enjoyed the post. Although I have heard of schnitzel with noodles, I have never had the pleasure of eating this lovely dish. Would you share your recipe?

      Happy Holidays to you and your family and a Happy New Year!

  2. I love this, Sandra! I do exactly that last thing described, in the wee hours of Christmas morn, after I’ve cleaned up from all my family guests on Christmas Eve. This year I’m hosting 32 of my immediate family siblings and theirs, and I look forward to that time spent alone by the tree, thinking [mostly] of my parents and others gone. The galettes are another fond memory for me as well. Our ballet director, Andre Van Damme, and his wife (Maggie) were Belgian, and Maggie would make them each year – so good, and such a good memory of years spent dancing under their tutelage. The story of your secret elf society is intriguing, and I look forward to the story you mention will be coming.
    Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel!

    1. Dear Rita: So happy to see you here and that you enjoyed the post. I thought of you the other day when I was a bit tired and I wondered, “How does Rita prepare for her large family?” I am sure there is great love that goes into everything you do to prepare for so many people you hold dear, and the beautiful memories you create for them. I was so excited to read that you know about Galettes. There are many Belgians in West Virginia. Most in this area were glass cutters. At one time there were 5 major glass factories in Clarksburg. My husband has all his dad’s glass cutting tools. What I am most interested in is your dancing career. I would love and enjoy hearing much about it. To me, ballet is beauty and grace. I so admire the dedication and hard work of a dancer.
      Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas !

  3. Sandra, how I enjoyed reading your favorite things! I love the quietness of an early morning with only the lights of the tree twinkling as I sit and reflect on all of my blessings and remember all of those who are no longer here, especially my loving Mother. Your magical elf work brought so many people joy and hope and I am sure blessed you! Wishing Michael and you and all of your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year! Thank you for sharing beauty with me this year and I look forward to 2018 as you share your beautiful blog!

    1. Dear Pam: Thank you so much for your beautiful words. Yes, it is during Christmas that we especially miss those who are gone – but they are forever with us in our hearts and in our beautiful memories. I especially thank you for the inspiration that you provide to me and so many others every week. I look forward to our continued friendship in the New Year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. I know precious Ella will be a delight.

  4. What a beautiful post Sandra. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas

    1. Dear Brenda: I thank you, more than you know, for all your support and kind words. Wishing you and your family a Beautiful Christmas and everything wonderful in the New Year!

  5. Dearest Sandra,
    Words are inadequate to describe the joy, beauty and love you bring to those of us who are so grateful for your inspirational blogs and your beautiful facebook postings. In a world filled with so much discourse and disappointment, you are indeed a sweet escape. Please know how much you are admired and appreciated for all you give to others.
    I hope to get to Clarksburg sometime in 2018 and I would adore to meet and share a cup of tea with you my friend. I wish you and Mike a most blessed Merry Christmas and happiest of New Years. And yes, I do believe.
    In gratitude and love,

    1. Dear Judy: I can’t begin to thank you enough for your beautiful and kind words. You truly are your mother’s daughter and a precious gift to me. I can’t wait to meet you and sharing a cup of tea with you would be simply the best. I hope it is in May when the peonies are on stage. You would love them.
      Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. Blessings for everything wonderful in the New Year.
      Love and Hugs,

  6. I know I’m late commenting here but I was struck by your post and hope better late than never is ok. I always enjoy your posts with your beautiful writing and photos and this one is especially full of things to appreciate. I love the beautiful tea room picture, the gorgeous cookies and wrapped packages.
    Your story of the Elf Society is amazing. How special. Those galette cookies sound great and what a sweet story.
    Every morning since our tree went up until today I sat with coffee looking at the tree lights enjoying my prayer time. I always reflect on the ornaments and either where I bought them or who gave them to me. Margaret Hendley’s quote is beautiful.

    1. Dear Bonnie: I am thrilled with your beautiful comments and never worry about being late to comment. Life does take over and often we do not see something as soon as it goes out. Just so happy you enjoyed the post and that it touched your heart.

      Wishing you and your family a Happy and Joyous New Year !

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