Art and Positive Thinking

Welcome to my Renee Loves Art blog!

My focus is exploring, creating and reflecting upon the positives of life and connecting them to my art whether it be photography, pen and ink drawings, watercolour paintings, mixed media, digital media or any other possible media I dive into!

I hope you join me on my art adventure!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Positively Remembering Santa Lights

Even though Christmas is still a fair distance away, recent photographs of the Northern lights by Terri Mappin, a fellow blogger and photographer, have triggered some very positive, deeply special Christmas Eve memories. Please allow me to share them with you.

One of most special memories of being with my family was on a Christmas Eve many years ago when my eldest son was about five. We were just arriving home late from spending the evening with my husband's family playing pool and sitting around the very whitely decorated Christmas tree listening to very old Christmas music... Rocking' Around the Christmas Tree, Charlie Brown Christmas music, Silver and Gold, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Burl Ives, Gene Autry...

 And we looked up into the night sky and witnessed white Northern lights dancing merrily across the sky. We stood there silent, in the calm cold darkness, just looking up and my son said, "Those are Santa Lights!" We all agreed that indeed they were and went inside and dreamed of Santa coming!

 It was one of the last Christmases we spent with my husband's mom and all of his grandparents all together. Since then, Christmas Eve has never been the same.  They have all passed away, and we try to continue with some of the Christmas Eve traditions, but we just can't seem to replicate those special feelings we once had back then.    Each had their special little contribution.

Jeff's mom's warm hugs and enthusiasm.

Nana's smile and her special stories of Jeff and Terry-Lynn growing up.

Grandfather and his love of playing piano music.  

Bumpa and his little quiet raspy laugh.

Grandma Bruins and her lutefisk, and "Things like that" comments. 

The whitely decorated Christmas tree has been tucked into the attic and replaced with a small table top predecorated tree, the front room in the old one hundred year old house is less crowded each year, Chinese food has replaced the lutefisk, and we don't always get together since Terry and her family moved to Calgary and Jeff's dad has a lady friend with her own family.

We have tried to make new traditions with all of the changes over the past 16 years, but things never seem the same as when we were younger and more of our family were around.

I am grateful for the memories and the photographs and to Terri Mappin who inspired me to remember and celebrate our past!  Here is to the Santa Lights!

If only...
The photographs and story are soul property of Renee Dowling.
Please contact her for permission to use them in any way.


  1. OMG Renee! I am so happy my photos of the northern lights could trigger these Christmas memories for you but alas, the sharing of your photos from the past, triggered many for me!!! Christmas at my Grandparents farm west of the Hat, my 'Mama,' my great grandparents my Great Aunt Beulah and my 'Mom,' all of which are no longer with us and the 'lutefisk!' Yes, the lutefisk!! I will admit my 'Mama' only made it once but it is a memory that none of us will ever forget! Hahaha! The photo of your Grandfather playing the piano and memories of my Great Grandmother playing her accordion! Family gathered in the living room talking, laughing and food, food, and more food!! Christmas cards hung on string and strung across the ceiling like streamers!

    Christmas is not the same as years past and it is frustrating and sad that we, as people have somehow lost the family togetherness we somehow had years ago. I've always wanted my boys to experience that kind of Christmas and it doesn't seem to happen. Family is scattered and priorities have so changed. What used to be a gathering of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins is now just immediate family.

    Funny, I still remember when the controversy over Sunday shopping started. First on Sundays, then 'Christmas hours' ... and the down hill slide to 'all the time!' Growing up, stores weren't open, Sunday was family time, things were shutdown at Christmas. The mighty dollar has replaced family and we've been brainwashed to believe we 'need things!' So many of us have resorted to shopping malls and gadgets to entertain us! Sadly, shopping malls and 'things' can't replace family nor the memories that families build.

    My wish ... may the Northern Lights shine and a few young children spot 'Santa's Lights' while taking a special moment with their family that leaves a lifetime of memories!

  2. Isn't amazing how people can connect and effect each other?

    I totally get what you are saying. Our family used to get together with all of our aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents too. One year my cousins grumbled about having to get together and next thing we knew, our grandma passed away, and there were a lot of regrets for not getting together more.

    I remember the shopping debate too. I refuse to go shopping on Boxing Day...I feel so greedy and materialistic after having just opened Christmas gifts. I usually avoid shopping on Sundays too.

    Your wish is a beautiful thought and I hope it comes true for many youngsters too!

  3. such a beautiful way to remember your loved ones. We still celebrate Christmas with the entire family every year, only last year was the first time that me and my husband and kids weren't there, because we moved to Australia. We skyped that day with everyone, but it was not the same at all. We would've liked to crawl through the telephone line .... Feeling very nostalgic reading this, because we won't be there this year either. It's difficult when family moves away ....

  4. It must be really different to experience Christmas away from family and on a new continent in the summer!


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