Norton Family Merriest Moments Christmas Tradition

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Norton clan! 

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We kick off our family holiday season by sitting down as a family; me, John (hubby), Connor (26) and Alec (22), to get our Christmas card together.

It starts out as a time to reflect on the past year and recall what we are grateful for and what have become our Norton Merriest Moments. 

We started this tradition rather than writing a Christmas letter, it was hard enough to get the boys to sit down and think of their Merriest Moments, much less get them to commit to write part of a Christmas letter….

Let me give you some background on this…so when we sit down as a family to eat a meal, we started sharing what we were grateful for for the day.  Now it didn’t have to be a life-altering, earth-shattering thing to be grateful for, all it was was a moment to find goodness in that day.  This way if it was a particularly hard day at school for one of the boys, or a trying time at work for us, we would have to pause and find gratitude in something, anything, for the day.  It could be, “I am thankful for the dessert mom made,” or, “I am thankful for my friends,” even, “ I am thankful that Cooper the Wonderdog didn’t poop in the house today!”  This tradition continued when friends joined us for dinner as well.  At first the guest would be self conscious about the whole grateful thing but after time, returning friends and family were looking forward to the “what are you grateful for today” moment at the Norton table.  So many times this opened up conversations that would not have been had. One special moment for a friend of my son’s and his mom who were at our house for dinner, for the first time in a very long time, the son said he was grateful for his mom.  Seems small right?   Not to that mom who was so happy to hear something other than grunts from her teenage son.

OK and THEN it morphed into “Sunday Steak Nights.” That, has taken on a life of it’s own at our house.

The Norton table is open every Sunday night to friends, family, coworkers, strays and people needing a fix of love.  Some Sundays there are 2 at the table some Sundays there are 12!  And the “what we are grateful for for the day” goes on and on and on.  So fun!  The more people at my table the more grateful I am!  And there is always somehow enough to go around, a little like the tale of the loaves and fishes.

So back to the holiday tradition…we wanted to have a family holiday card to be about what we were grateful for, since it’s kind of “our thing” now but we wanted it to be what we were grateful for for the YEAR!

It got crazy long so we shortened it for the holidays to: The Norton’s Merriest Moments

 

For 2016 the Norton Merriest Moments are:

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2016 Merriest Moments Continued

Past Norton Merriest Moments

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2014 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2010 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

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Wrapped Up in Love

When it comes to wrapping presents, there are two types of people in this world: Those who LOVE to gift wrap, and those who HATE it.   I’m in the LOVE it category. I rarely use gift bags, and shopping for ribbon and paper is as much fun to me as shopping for shoes and bags.  I adore the prepping, the doing and the giving of beautifully wrapped gifts.

When I was in my twenties and pursuing a career as an actress I would take on side jobs to help pay the bills.  Well, you can imagine how over the moon I was when I found a part-time job wrapping gifts at Dayton’s Department store in downtown Minneapolis.

I remember going in for the interview, the interviewee ask me a few obligatory questions, then walked me to the wrapping counter where all the wrapping supplies were, she handed me a gift box and said “wrap this”.  I said, “Game on!” I love to wrap and I had been doing it for years, so I felt confident in my abilities.  She walked away, came back in a couple of minutes, right when I was finishing up.  She picked up the wrapped gift, examined every angle, she looked unimpressed and said “It’s ok, we can work with this, if you want the job, you’ve got it.”  I started my new job wrapping gifts 2 days later, got a lot better with her help and experience.

I worked 4, 6 or 8 hours shift (depending on my availability and seasonal demands) 2 to 3 days a week for several years, and I had the dry hands and paper cuts to prove it.  All these years later I still love to wrap presents.  I thought it would be fun to share a video with a few tips and tricks I learned from that job.  These tips will make wrapping fun, easy and impressive at the same time.

Tools You’ll Need

Sharp scissors, clear gift wrap tape, tape measure, sturdy box,  ribbon ( 1.5 inch wide wired ribbon is my favorite), stapler with staples loaded, and gift wrap (I like a thick premium wrap, but any will do), find a clean table top, counter or kitchen island.

Sit back, relax & wrap!

Once your you’ve got the tools and space you need, put on some holiday music, pour your favorite beverage and get in the holiday spirit.

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