I usually think pulling out the Christmas stuff is drudgery. There is so much to shuffle and move…and I usually do it all by myself. But this year the kids begged to pull the decorations out early…and promised to help the whole time.
Which, surprisingly, they actually did.
And while they did our house welled up with goodness. There’s nothing like Christmas stuff to ward off the fighting and whining…at least for a little while.
We pulled off the Thanksgiving stuff first…
Our front entry went from this Thanksgiving stuff:
…to this Christmas stuff:
We pulled down the Thankful tree:(Lucy was so sad to see it go…or she was just in a bad mood…you never know with that girl.)
And replaced it with the Christmas tree.
Which resulted in our house looking like this for a little while:(that’s a little horn from the tree she’s trying to blow…)
Last year when I pulled out all the Christmas decorations I was a little melancholy thinking it would be the last time I would be decorating this beloved house of ours.
But here we are a year later so I’m cherishing this one more year to have this house just how we like it. Oh man I do love Christmas stuff even if I do complain that it’s a BIG job.
We got to have a visit from some of our dearest friends who were in town for a family party.
Do you think the kids were over-the-moon to see them or what?
(Can you tell who’s the fastest to whip off those church clothes?)
We snuck away one night in the midst of the holiday hoopla with these guys and caught the end of a hot-air-balloon festival. Love them.
Claire got to meet Santa Claus.
…at a cool church party:
I got together with American Mothers association and made more baskets for the women’s shelter we did them for last year. So good to see and catch up with those wonderful ladies again.
traditional gingerbread-house making
With one of our favorite families:
Temple Lights for Family Home Evening
…with good helpers:
Elle’s whiz-bang choir performance
…with Nana and Papa.
Grace’s band performance
I accompanied Elle for her first full-family photoshoot.
seeking out the best light:(Lots more but I don’t want to spill the beans on them all before they send out their Christmas card.)
We had our annual cousin white-elephant-gift-exchange and talent show.
I love watching the adults watch the kids.
Reading Christmas stories under the Christmas tree
It’s our tradition to read one story under the tree each night. Each year it gets a little tougher because there are so many more commitments and recitals and all that jazz. But I love that it pulls us in together and brings in that Christmas spirit when we do it.
I bought this book this year and man alive, I think I’ve read it to Lucy 427 times so far.
But that’s ok because I adore that story.
My very favorites, though, are “The Gift of the Magi”
and “Christmas Day in the Morning”
They have become my kids’ favorites too because for some reason they love it when there are tears streaming down my cheeks…which happens every time I read those ones.
I find my heart racing because there is so much I want to cram into December. So many ideas bombarding me from friends and internet links. So many GOOD things that would surely make our spirits stronger.
But lately I’m trying to just be still and realize that it’s ok if we’re not going to actually pull off that grand idea of feeing the 300 people at the crisis center breakfast on Christmas morning or make those sugar cookies for our neighbors we’ve made every other year because we’re getting in the most important stuff. Fitting in service as much as we can, family secret service and reminding each other of our “gifts to Jesus” we will open on Christmas morning.
Because really, that’s what it’s all about.
And every so often, amidst the swirl of activity around me, the One who’s birth we celebrate assures me in His own way, it is enough.