If you are ready to move on into 2023 without any more Christmas hullabaloo, maybe go ahead and skip this post.

I don’t blame you since we’re practically half way through January!


I’m just trying to keep up though, and want to remember how this year this little fact hit me more than other years:

Christmas is crazy.


But really, I don’t know how it is in your neck of the woods but each year I feel like I get bogged down a tad bit more with the Christmas minutia.

As responsibilities and family seem to expand, I keep promising “next year will be different.”

But then Christmas Eve comes.

And we turn off the lights and light the candles for our “Jerusalem supper.”

(This year my brother and his family joined us and I loved that.)

At dinner we talk about the pieces of the nativity Lucy has placed carefully on our plates.

And fill up the stable that starts out empty:

And somehow holiness seeps in.

And all that minutia doesn’t seem to matter any more.

We had the perfect Mary and Joseph this year (even though we don’t totally act out the nativity any more):

The last few years, in lieu of the acting out of the nativity which we did with delighted children for so many years, we snuggle close and watch “The Christ Child” depiction of the nativity:

We were going to wait to do our traditional sibling gift exchange until we were reunited with Elle and Carson the next night (so we could all be together…they were with Carson’s family for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning).

But we were feeling like we needed a little extra magic on Christmas Eve (the sibling exchange ALWAYS does the trick), so the the kids who had kids to give to at home went ahead and exchanged.

And yep, brought that Christmas spirit right in.

I love that there are not only those skilled in “gift giving” (choosing the perfect gift for those they love), but there are also those skilled in the gift of “gift receiving“…showing how much gratitude and delight that gift gives you.

Love that these kids are good at both.

We had a little Christmas PJ fail…I usually can wrangle up some good coordination for this. But not so much luck this year:

And we still survived:)

We got to FaceTime with our two who were missing:

Dave read his traditional “T’was the Night Before Christmas”…

The girls and I were invited to a service of Midnight Mass from those who ran the homeless shelter we worked at earlier in the week:

(Love exploring how other religions worship, and I love every year when I can go to a midnight mass.)

Max and Abby preferred the opportunity to morph into “Santa’s helpers” getting stockings ready. Gosh, I love when kids are so helpful! Those guys are the best!


I must admit I was complaining a tad bit when I realized church was at 9:00 on Christmas this year. I mean, I do love being at church on Christmas, but 9:00? That’s when all the magic should be happening around the Christmas tree. (Well, with littler kids the magic happens closer to 5 or 6am, am I right??) But with big kids, it was smack-dab in that opening-gifts space.

But instead of the magic happening around the Christmas tree, some magic happened sitting in the choir with my girls who agreed to sing with me.

I love them for that. Nothing like singing to bring in the Christmas spirit.

And then when your Lucy writes this during sacrament:

I just love her.

And of course, presents did just fine to wait.

The big kids didn’t get much under the Christmas tree this year since their gift was ski passes we’d be using the next week. I thought it was so sweet that Claire got a little something for Grace even though she wasn’t on her rotation this year:

And I love that Dave thought of this gift for Peanut:

(I know we’re crazy, but maybe that was everyone’s favorite gift. Ha!)

I didn’t take very good pictures of anything else except for this:

Our DVDs transferred onto flash drives. WOOHOO!!! The kids are always wanting to watch old family movies but we can’t seem to figure out a DVD player, so wouldn’t you know it, but a blog reader offered to transfer them this way and I love her for it!!! I gave a copy to each of our married kids too, and man alive, we had fun watching that old footage over the break. That is a precious gift for all of us and it reminded me I need to do better at recording these days!

I didn’t even get a good picture with Nana and Papa who we invited over for our traditional eggs Benedict, but here we are with all-hands-on-deck to prepare brunch:

After that we bundled up and headed up to Utah where we met up with our two missing kids and started into “part 2” of the sibling gift exchange:

Pretty delightful again.

Isn’t giving just the best?

The next night these kids gave Dave and I our gift they had been prepping for. Lucy had exclaimed how excited she was a few times through the Christmas season as these seven were thick as thieves planning and preparing for all the parts of the gift they wanted to give us.

It melted my heart as they lugged out that bucket full of carefully picked gifts.

Oh how I love them and their hearts.

So, back to what I was saying in the beginning: all that about getting bogged down with the minutia of the details of the “to-dos.” And then those little things seep in that diffuse the stress and worry (there was a lot going on outside of Christmas this year too), and make you realize that what you’re so worried about isn’t really the important part after all.

Isn’t it the same with most things in life? Even though most of the ins and outs may not go as planned, and there are some hangers in the works here and there (not mentioned), I’m grateful for the chance to look back and see the “glistening whole.”

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  1. What a special holiday! So glad you were able to see all your wonderful kiddos! I love that you and your husband decided to gift the ski pass- what a fun way to have an experience as a family while still keeping it in mind for the kids that it’s a gift and that money doesn’t grow on trees 🙂
    I’d love to hear about how your kids do gift rotation (budget, who they draw, etc) and what some of the items are that they chose for each other! Always looking for ideas for these types of things.
    Wishing you and your family abundant health and happiness in this new year, especially as you enter the new phase as grandparents!

  2. I so enjoy following your blog! Could you please share your recipe for your annual Eggs Benedict and Hollandaise Sauce.

  3. Thank you for a peek into your beautiful Christmas 😊 I’m a Mum of two young boys (6,3) and I’m trying to foster a spirit of gratitude in them, as well as being good receivers/givers. Do you have any good resources/tips to help? Thanks again for sharing your life, I love the new podcast 🥰

  4. Oh thank you so much for recording and putting it om the blog. It was the next best thing to being there. We had no idea what had happened before we saw you at BCRANC. What a beautiful Christmas with all those big kids!

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