Christmas Week is Here!

Some members of the family thought it never would come, but Christmas break is here.  Unfortunately, Daddy’s Christmas break doesn’t run the full two weeks so I headed off this morning with the unmistakeable feeling of missing out on something–there’s a great deal of holiday fun to be had with the kids at home today.

Not to say that I can’t claim to have already had a hand in the holiday fun…because I came up with the MOST SUPER-FUN holiday decoration.  In fact, I’ve been hesitant to show it because once you know of it, it will make your own celebration feel so incomplete and leave unrequiteable yearning in your heart.


Without further ado….

I present to you…

The PuleTide (TM) advent wreath!

Eat your heart out, Bellagio! (pretty proud of my winter roses too!)

It took some tweaking to get things working right.  I anticipated accumulation of rain water so I drilled holes in the candleholders to let it drain (but this didn’t prevent the wicks from getting saturated).  A larger struggle with buoyancy temporarily made it the first sub-aquatic holiday decoration, but switching from an inner-tube (prone to leaks) to foam rectified that situation.  My camera skills aren’t good enough to capture it’s full nightime splendor, but I still think it conveys what your celebration will be lacking without a PuleTide (TM) advent wreath.

And to think–this is Rudy’s first Christmas home, so he’ll probably just take the brilliance of the PuleTide advent wreath for granted!

Last year’s Christmas at UCLA certainly taught us a lesson about not taking things for granted.  We’ve enjoyed being together, decorating, advent celebrations at church and the anticipation of everyone being together under one roof.  In the midst of this, it was surprising to hear Olivia say how much she was going to miss Christmas at the hospital with all the doctors and nurses.  As her older brothers readily agreed, we decided to plan a drive down there tomorrow to check in on our friends and bring some cheer to the families who will be spending this year there.  Keep an eye out for us, UCLA friends!

Last year’s Christmas in the ICU made an indelible impact on us as it shed new light for us on the incarnation–that God’s son came into the world in all it’s chaos and uncertainty.  In the midst of stress and anguish, there can be beauty and joy because of His presence.  We’re so glad for that.

Last year’s circumstances didn’t leave me much room to unleash my creativity on things such as the PuleTide advent wreath.  In an attempt to pass the hours in Rudy’s room, some of you might remember I worked out a new take on a familiar Christmas classic.  I read it over again this weekend and it brought forth tears of gratitude and empathy for the kids and families that will spend this Christmas in the hospital.  In honor of them, I’m reposting it here again.  Even if you aren’t spending Christmas in a place of your chosing, may you find peace, comfort and hope there.

Twas the night before Christmas, in the CTICU on 5 East,
A few creatures were stirring, because they never cease;
The fluids were hung by the bedsides with care,
In hopes that all would remain peaceful there;
The children, not “nestled” but comfortable yet,
Saw lots more than sugar-plums thanks to the meds;
Dr. Ryan in his coat, Dr. Andy in clogs,
Kept quiet watch as they checked patient logs;
Far up on the roof there arose quite a clatter,
But they wouldn’t have heard what was the matter.
Nurse Susan at her station would not have noticed,
Her attention on Rudy was lovingly focused.
The flat helipad with its lights flashing on top,
Made landing much easier than most other stops,
The touchdown was simple, but the rest was quite hard,
For patients and visitors with no proxy card,
But this one was different and he knew some tricks,
The card readers and elevators were no match for St. Nick.
He stuffed his sack fuller than he ever had yet,
For scores below worried that he might forget;
To the 5th Floor through the stairwell he came with a bound,
Right through the alarmed door with nary a sound.
Yes, dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
But he cleaned himself up because they don’t allow soot.
Into the PICU he walked without ringing,
Quietly as the pumps and the vents did their singing.
His eyes kept on twinkling; his dimples still merry,
But tender concern showed behind that nose like a cherry.
While the nurses’ attention was never averted,
Somehow he slipped into each room unobserved,
He’d given up the pipe as he’s now much the wiser,
And at each door he carefully lathered with the sanitizer.
The belly like jelly still shook only slightly,
As he kept his voice quiet and laughed only lightly;
That wink of his eye and the twist of his head,
Assured the small patients they had nothing to dread;
He spoke soothing words along with his work,
Being careful to turn with nary a jerk,
After carefully laying what he’d brought on the bed,
He’d give a small whisper and a pat on the head;
Without any rush he went door to door,
Making sure he missed no one on the entire floor;
He returned to his sleigh and offered a prayer,
That these little ones wouldn’t be much longer in there,
As he prepared to alight from this special stop,
The children were assured he hadn’t forgot.
So he loudly exclaimed as he drove up into the air,
“Be home next Christmas, and I’ll see you there.”


12 thoughts on “Christmas Week is Here!

  1. Very impressive but must be tough to light. One question, “Where is the center Christ candle?” Too much of a design challenge, eh?

    1. As tempted as I might be to retort with a sentiment about picky critics, let’s just say it leaves me something to innovate for next year. Besides, if Jesus is in my heart, who needs a candle?

  2. You are just unbelieveable! Love the PuleTide Wreath. Did you light a new one each week from afar or does it float to the side for the special event? What a wonderful poem and such a gift you all have been to me and all the other blog watchers. Looking forward to seeing Rudy and the entire family in January. A very Merrry and Blessed Christmas to one and all. Please give Rudy a special hug and kiss from me.

  3. If we only had a pool to sport such a decoration. You put us to shame.

    Merry Christmas to Rudy and all the Geylings. Hope we’ll see you in town for a visit in the new year.

    Prayers, hugs and kisses as always.

  4. Wow! PuleTide. See what you can come up for gray, rainy and dank, K? You must have been an altar boy, Rolf! Or a budding pyro?

    Wow…a year ago you guys were doing vigil @ UCLA! We are so glad you and the family are enjoying Christmas at home this year with an ever-growing-and-getting-stronger Rudy! The kids must be so content!

    Our thoughts and prayers are with all you Geylings!




  6. Sweeet!!! You rock Rolf and I’m glad that I have such a genius as a President! That is a beauty in deed; to top off the excitment and splendor of it all Trish needs to put on her mermaid costume and swim up through the center of it……perhaps on New Years Eve after a glass of champagne or two. So glad that you are all home for Christmas! I love you guys, K

  7. Olivia missing the hospital? That’s hilarious….goes to show that Mom and Dad worked hard to make a very tough situation a joyful one. You are the best….love the Puletide decor! Merry merry Christmas from the Vans!

  8. OH! You are so right! I am wailing and gnashing my teeth in despair at my lack of Puletide (TM) Advent Wreath!! BUT the beauty of your design is that by a complete Christmas Miracle, I am simultaneously OVERJOYED at the glory and wonder of the Puletide (TM) Advent Wreath! I love love love love love it!!!
    Merry Christmas to all the Geylings!
    Much love,
    Michele Fitch

  9. If my pool wasn’t frozen solid I would put in my order for a Puletide Advent Wreath right away! You are too clever!

  10. We all miss you so much and are so blessed to have you in our lives! thank you for reminding everyone the true meaning of Christmas. Unconditional Love. We all want it and all we have to do is give in order to recieve. Love to everyone. It is the easiest gift to give at this time of year. Go Rudy Go!!!! xoxox

  11. Rolf, Trish and family,

    What a year it has been and the journey you have been on! God has really seen you through what is an immense trial!! Merry Christmas to all of you and all the blessings for a healthy new year! May God’s peace continue to be with you!!!


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