Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Togetherness

"We were together.
I forgot the rest."
-Walt Whitman

A few years ago we spent the majority of our Christmas season in the car--loading the car, driving in the car, loading it up again, driving some more. Our celebrations were punctuated with long car drives and crabby moods. Until one year a blizzard forced us to hole up in our home, and we haven't loaded up the car again on Christmas. Now we spend the day in jammies and slowly enjoy the festivities at home, just the five of us. And it's really the best thing ever.

Christmas Eve is spent savoring each other. We open the gifts we got for one another; and spend the day playing and preparing. After an early candlelight church service, we have supper with the grandparents. Before tucking the babes into bed, we make reindeer grain and set out cookies for Santa. Since Spencer discovered Santa isn't real, he gets to help stuff the stockings and fill the Santa bags. Then off he goes, too, awaiting the magic of Christmas morning.

Christmas day has no set rhythm. We eat and open presents and play and eat and watch movies and dance and eat some more. The lazy day of Christmas togetherness is my very favorite. And now that it's over, we are already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas magic

"Christmas magic is silent.  You don't hear it--you feel it, you know it,  you believe it."
-Kevin Alan Milne

This past weekend we kicked off the holiday season with some of our favorite traditions. First up, the live nativity. We've gone so many years now, that as soon as the choir assembled outside, dressed as angels, and began singing, Ashton exclaimed: "I remember this song!" There's something so magical and comforting and exciting about experiencing our old favorites year after year. The kids would probably say the cookies in the warm church afterwards is the highlight, but I get chills every time the crowd is invited to sing Joy to the World.

No holiday season would be complete without the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. On Saturday we trudged through the tree farm on a beautiful day. Instead of a white winter landscape, the ground was still green. We are awaiting the first big snowfall, hopefully before Christmas.

It seems we can never arrive at the Christmas tree farm prepared with a measuring tape. Instead of precisely measuring out the height of each tree to see if it'd fit in our living room, Dave reaches up his arms and makes a guesstimate. Last year this gave us a pretty short tree, but this year he was much more successful in his estimation.

Once we found the perfect tree, the kids gave it a welcoming hug and then the boys set to work chopping it down and lugging it back to the truck. Afterwards we had hot cocoa and cookies. It was Jillian's first taste of hot cocoa, and she wasn't too sure what to think of it. Ashton happily accepted everyone's leftovers, double fisting his loot until the very last second it was time to bring the tree home.

We always say we're going to wait the suggested time to allow the tree to settle indoors before we decorate, but our impatience always wins out. We decorated that night. And now our perfectly imperfect tree welcomes us each day as we experience many more of our holiday favorites of the season.