12. The weekend of Thanksgiving I was swamped. But my girls (9 and 6) were ready to decorate. So I let them. It kept them busy for an afternoon. Turned out they did a great job. I love the way they put the greenery on the banister. Plus my eldest came up with a cool place to put our stockings above the fireplace even though we don’t have a mantel yet. I let go of the control and the results were great. Praise the Lord.
11. Snow. Lots of snow. Well, up until like the day before Christmas. While it lasted, it forced us to take our time when we left the house. Made my kids smile. Very festive. These are good things.
10. When I finally got the tree up, it stood there for a week with ⅓ of the lights not working. Finally got the tree lit and brought the ornaments up from the basement. Eddie dumped most of them on the floor before I could get around to hanging them. That day when the girls got home from school I told them to put the ornaments on the tree. Results = room got picked up and tree got decorated. Double score.
9. My siblings and I couldn’t make a decision about gifts this year. Exchange? Homemade gifts? Nothing? While this felt a bit stressful at first, it resulted in some [hilarious] phone conversations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. It allowed each of us to peer into one another’s lives and connect in a way we hadn’t in a while. Thankful.
8. Somehow managed to neglect putting our nativity up. Finally remembered like 4 days before Christmas. This year the 3 year-old is being trusted to not destroy it, so for the first time in his life I put in down low. This meant he could help set it up. To my delight, he took great care with the pieces, crowding them all around baby Jesus, as they gaze upon him in wonder.
7. Watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas with my 3 year old almost daily. I pulled it out at the beginning of the month and he took to it right away. Since then he has watched it. And then watched it again. And again. Good things about this:
a. Get to hear Linus orate Luke 2 in the middle of my day.
b. Eddie thinks the whole movie is hilarious, so I get a lot of 3 year-old laughter. Always great.
c. He’s been saying “Oh Brother” just like Charlie Brown does about Sally, but about his own family.
It cracks me up.
d. The other day we were snuggling while watching it and I realized: these opportunities are here on a
6. I still had Christmas shopping to do 2 days before Christmas. But if I didn’t, then I would miss out on the annual Finish-It-Up Shopping Trip with my Mom. We usually spend most of a day and night scrambling to get done either the 22nd or the 23rd. Typically there are a lot of laughs and we get some good deals. This year was no different. Loved it.
5. Never got around to putting together a Christmas card. That was a bummer, but it’s not like I had an AMAZING picture ready to go. We tried to do pictures of our family and/or our kids on at least 4 separate occasions. Nothing really spoke to me. Upshot: Probably saved a solid $50 and I’m not scrambling to use every “spare” minute to finish addressing envelopes. Plus I have some hilarious pictures of my kids.
4. For the first time in 4 Christmases, our family was healthy. #4 on this list is not ironic at all. It’s just straight up – I’m so glad no one in my immediate family vomited this year.
3. I put about $150 worth of gifts on a credit card. The great thing about this is that ALL THE OTHER GIFTS WERE PURCHASED WITH CASH. This is a huge deal and, while I didn’t make it 100%, it was still groundbreaking for us. This is the first year we really followed thru on the thing we’ve been talking about doing for the last 10 years. I highly recommend it.
2. T’was the night after Christmas and my kids were up till 10. Could be worse, but I know we will pay for it tomorrow. The thing is, we got home, and even though my kids were exhausted, they started playing really nicely together with some of their new toys. ALL 3 OF MY CHILDREN. Talk about a Christmas miracle. Husband and I looked at each other like, uh, do we break this up or just wait for the meltdowns to begin? We opted for an escape into the bedroom with our computers, pajamas, and some uninterrupted conversation. It was crazy! Eventually the 3 year old came in rubbing his eyes, and I headed upstairs to get him tucked in. The girls came up shortly after – WITHOUT ARGUING – and everyone was asleep within 20 minutes. Tomorrow morning we may have a crabby crew, but it might be worth it for the peace on earth that existed in our house for 40 minutes tonight. Perfect way to end our day.
1. It’s been a really tough year. But when relationships survive the havoc life wreaks (and pretty much all of my relationships have been sustained, by the Grace of God), those relationships come out stronger. Those people emerge closer and more thankful for what they have sitting right in front of them. Not for what might be waiting around the corner. Not for what they wish for this New Year’s Eve. They thank God for what they have and hug it tighter and love it more. Thank you, Jesus.