Saturday, January 3, 2015

Merry Christmas 2014


My kids comment that they wish it came "six or seven times during the year instead of just once." I know what they mean: the traditions and gifts and sparkle of Christmas are so fun and so special that it would be more fun to have it more often.
Except that it actually wouldn't be.

If something is special, it's because it's rare and it's anticipated. Traditions aren't really traditions if they become part of the routine and norm. And gifts aren't held with delight and thankfulness when they are frequent.

The most wonderful time of year!
Once again our family opted to stay home rather than travel north to visit with extended family. As hard as it is to be away from grandparents and cousins on special holidays, there is something really wonderful about establishing our own traditions and claiming the day for our family to enjoy in our home. 
And, because grandparents are amazing, they all made time to come and visit within a week after Christmas anyway. The Type A in me was annoyed to have my tree still up and lingering in the living room; my kids were simply ecstatic to enjoy three separate Christmas celebrations. All of us, though, were happy for the chance to be together with family.
Christmas Eve was spent at home in new jammies and in a candles-only living room. We feasted on an array of appetizers (who knew Jax could put away several pigs-in-a-blanket?!) while watching a Christmas movie.
Once kids were in bed and actually sleeping, Grady and I got busy wrapping bikes for the boys and a play tent for Annalyse. Easier said than done, I assure you.
Christmas morning dawned with bright sun and set the tone for a cheery day. The kids were ready for gifts by 7:00 but Grady and I managed to convince them to wait (patiently) until 8:00. Then, it was one person at a time as each one opened a gift.
Jax cared very little about anything happening once he realized he had a new ball to play with. Torn wrapping paper and a new ball - what could possibly be any better?
After a breakfast of monkey bread (a tradition for Grady while growing up) and "Christmas juice in the fancy glasses" (which is simply cranberry juice in water goblets), bacon and eggs, it was time to open stockings. More little treasures to enjoy! And because anything that is wrapped is more fun to get, opening three packages of bubble gum is actually exciting stuff.
Soon after stockings, a mysterious clue was discovered that sent the kids on a scavenger hunt around the house to find their final Christmas gift. This is always the highlight of Christmas Day and my kids anticipate it for weeks leading up to Christmas. For your viewing pleasure, you can see our Christmas 2014 Scavenger Hunt here. (You're welcome... maybe.)
Once the boys opened their new bikes, they couldn't change out of their pajamas fast enough and get outside to ride them. Remember that bright sun I mentioned? Thankfully the temperature was mild and my boys spent the next hour learning how to change gears and perfecting the art of wheelies, which, by the way, still needs a lot of perfecting.
Annalyse lined her new tent with baby dolls and a tea set, while listening to CD's on her new CD player. Jax was ready for his morning nap and Grady and I could finally sit down and enjoy our coffee. Except that just as we did the boys needed help with their bikes and Annalyse needed help with her CD player. Plenty of Christmases in years to come where we can relax...
After Skyping with far-away family we loaded up the van and spent the next hour joining friends to deliver groceries and gifts to someone who would have otherwise spent Christmas alone and hungry. Thankfully my boys demonstrated quiet self-control, Annalyse was talkative as ever, and Jax was happy to be passed from one set of arms to the next. And, all of us left feeling blessed having had the chance to brighten someone's day.
Christmas afternoon was a mix of playing with new toys and enjoying basketball games, after first gathering to read and discuss the Christmas story. It's fun to have reached the stage where my boys can read the Scriptures and Annalyse knows the details of the story. Rather than being a very simplified away-in-a-manger story, the Christmas story has begun to hold deeper meaning and context for my kids.
Our final Christmas Day tradition was making personal pizzas - a messy and fun ending to our day.

That evening as I tucked four heads into beds and enjoyed quiet time with my husband, my heart was full. I have so much, in every sense. "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15
From our family to yours, I trust you had a special Christmas with your family. Enjoying one another. Opening gifts. Eating yummy food. Following simple traditions.

And reflecting on God's great gift of Jesus, Emmanuel.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas. Wish we were closer. Love seeing pictures...the last one with flour all over your kitchen counters makes me cringe. ;-)