Christmas memories accumulate like snowflakes, or ornaments on a tree. This year was the first that all three children decorated the tree by themselves. Every year they get an ornament, and I write their name and the year on it. It was fun this year to hear my 10,8 and almost 6 year old exclaim as they would hang their own treasures on the tree: “Oh, I remember this one!” and “Look! I was __(age) when I got this!”
The funniest part actually came before the ornaments, when my daughter said “Can we hang the garlic now?” (She meant garland). No vampires for our Christmas!
I remember the year after we moved, and we brought in our artificial tree from storage only to find that mice had made a home in the box and peed all over our tree. Oh, did that ever stink! I figured it would be a tree-less Christmas until my hubby came up with the bright idea of soaking the tree in buckets of pine-sol in the bathtub. Yup, a disinfected tree that really did smell like pine!
I remember the Christmas after my daughter was born six years ago. We had been at Children’s Hospital for a week. I got to bring my precious daughter to church on Christmas Eve. I was overjoyed at this marvelous gift from God who let us keep her after her medical nightmare. That was also the year we were blessed to be a part of the “Family Tree” at church and were given a gift card that was extravagantly more than expected.
Or how about the year when I got the tree up and my little girl managed to not only tip it over but break it in the middle? Irreparable. Had to get a new one. Totally would have expected one of my boys to have done this.
Or the year I invited a friend and her four boys over to bake and decorate Christmas cookies with us. Seven children and two adults in 7oo sq ft of space! One boy said “Wow, this is a lot of work!” It was also a lot of fun.
The kids look forward to Santa Claus coming at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. He didn’t make it last year. Something about falling out of a tree and breaking a leg. Thankfully my kids know the truth about Jolly Ole’ St. Nick and weren’t too terribly disappointed. Before you scold me on that, just realize, they still enjoy the tale and the imagination of it all even though if you ask them “What do you want Santa to bring you?” they will give you a blank stare.
2010 is a lean year. Usually there are gifts already piling up under the tree. I put gifts under the tree as they arrive and get wrapped. We have no place to hide them. It adds to our enjoyment to see the colorful packages under the tree. So far there’s nothing there and the kids are beginning to get a bit worried! There will be something there by the end of this week, not a huge amount but something none-the-less.
My favorite part of the holiday is this: We slow down. We leisurely enjoy Christmas Eve with our church family, and celebrate the magic and wonder of Jesus coming to earth as an infant. We see the lights around town and go home to bed. In the morning we wake up when we are ready, and eventually we make a big breakfast. By 10 or 11 am we might sit and talk again about Christmas and what it means and then open gifts. Maybe later in the day we will visit with family – but generally the best times are just us celebrating our Savior together.
“Every heart that knows His name, lift your voice and sing
To the praise of God with us, this child Redeemer, King
There’s never been a greater love since the world began,
God the Father sent His Son and we held Him in our hand.
He wrapped His love in flesh and blood and took the form of man.”
(Bryan Duncan, “Form of Man”)