Saturday, December 24, 2011

FYI: It's a Merry Christmas

I have always loved Christmas. I have loved it's true meaning--a baby born in Bethlehem. And I have loved all the well-meaning accompaniments too, the occassion to give generously to family and friends and to share with strangers, the music, smiling at fellow shoppers, even the hub-bub of the mall with your list and a limited time to check it all off.
It has certainly changed over the years...

I used to spend a lot of time winding the retail aisles but for several seasons now have done all my shopping online. I talked my husband into meeting me with our girls at our local mall to see how some of the stores were decked out and get just a little taste of the holiday energy. I was missing it a bit. It was fun. The highlights were when our girls saw Santa exiting for a break and he waved at them, and when they got to test out a loungey couch at Crate&Barrel by jumping around on the cushions shouting "this is the most awesome couch ever!" The store was very kind about it.

I have always relished picking out gifts for everyone, making as many of them as I could, and wrapping them beautifully. Since college I have picked a wrapping theme each year using the same papers on all my gifts. I've loved the way they looked arranged perfectly under the Christmas tree and they usually sat there a few weeks before Christmas.

It is Christmas Eve and I've just started getting presents wrapped and placed under the tree. As in years past I've had fun with a mix of papers and toppers. This year's selection includes kraft paper, white paper, burlap, red velvet ribbon, red satin ribbon, felt snowflakes, glitterly snowflakes, crochet twine snowflakes, and plain ribbon. It's too bad they won't have sat around for long before they are torn open, but instead of wrapping I've been picking up toys off the floor, vacuuming spilled cereal, doing lots of laundry, shutting between school and lessons, reading some books, and trying to keep one of my children clothed.

Typically I like to bake five or six different kinds of Christmas cookies to have on hand for family gatherings. This year I luckily froze some from about a month ago, which are thawing on my counter right now, and managed to make two other kinds: sugar cookies (I wasted half the batch before realizing I'd only added half the flour they called for) and a new ginger cookie recipe (which doesn't look anything like the picture). Baking with the girls is a risky business but they did look really cute in their Santa aprons and they told me "Mom, you are so nice!" So I didn't really care how the cookies turned out.

We've added Christmas decorations to our tree very carefully so as not to make a bad choice and I've set out silver bowls of glass ornaments for more sparkle. It's been fun over the years to have things arranged just right. But, the bowls of glass ornaments disappeared about the time Audrey was two for obvious reasons and this year as we got ready to decorate the tree the girls got into a bag of ornaments they've made the last couple years, which are typically relegated to the tree in Audrey's room, and hung them all over. Not at all what I have done in years past. And absolutely perfect. (I didn't bother with the tree in Audrey's room.)

On the whole I would say I've exercised a lot less control over the look of Christmas this year. And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. What could be better than three energetic girls bulldozing through the house, arranging and rearranging our nativity, singing Christmas carols, dumping huge mounds of decorating sugar on cookies, and wrapping miscellaneous household items in boxes they label "to mom and dad merry christmas"? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing could be better!

This doesn't mean I didn't experience a frustrating moment or two. And I have hardly any handmade gifts to give. But it's a more than fair trade-off.

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season with family and friends and whatever traditions you cherish. Thank you for your visits and for what you share with me. I wish you peace and joy this silent night.

My "FYI" posts share news or a perspective about something that's been on my mind. You can read them all here.


Dorota said...

Niech te Święta przyniosą Ci w prezencie to czego najbardziej pragniesz.To "coś" nie musi być ani widoczne ani dotykalne...może nawet nie pachnieć.Ale niech będzie CZYMŚ bez czego nie można i nie warto żyć.
Zdrowych i pogodnych Świąt życzy Dorota z Sielankowego Dziergania

Annelies said...

Precious.....and from one Annelies to another (G), I wish you a joyous and blessed Christmas. XXX

Dagmar said...

Merry Christmas Annelies,
When I read your blog and I do so often, I am always touched and full of admiration of all that you do with and for your family...all the love your put into what you make..I thought I would share this blog post of the Yarn Harlot with is so true about what is made by hand!
love and blessing to you and yours,
Sweet hugs,

Tammy said...

Merry Christmas, Anneliese! I hope you and your family have a wonderful day!

sarah k said...

ahhh...thank you for sharing these thoughts. It's so easy for me to feel sub-par because I didn't do any special christmas baking...or forgot to take a picture with the presents under the tree...or didn't get around to having my little kids "shop" for each other. Thanks for sharing that your Christmas celebrations aren't quite "picture-perfect" either...and yet are more truly perfect for that very reason.

Anonymous said...

Blessings and a Merry Christmas, Anneliese, to you and your precious family!
You are such an inspiration to me...thank you for all you share!
Love, Joy and Peace,

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas! I'm so glad to have found your beautiful blog this year!

Tara said...

Thank you for the beautiful post on Christmas with your children. They do change you, and the way you do thIngs like Christmas, but the joy they bring is so sweet.

needlekrafter said...

What a lovely family photo for Christmas, and a celebration of all things precious. Wishing you all love, joy and peace in the coming year.

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