Christmas is not over until Epiphany (January 6, today), the day commemorating the Wise Men, having followed the star, finally finding and gifting the baby Jesus, so let’s just get that straight right now. That said, I could keep blogging Christmas because there was just so much (I wasn’t finished!), but I won’t…for at least 10 or 11 months.
My 12 Favorite Things about Christmas 2010
No. Not really. I can’t be bound. There were more than 12, but I will try-try-try to edit as much as is humanly possible. Please don’t box me in.
I wonder sometimes, how I have any friends at all because I am not great at friendship. But God gives them to me anyway. Denise just gave me a gift bag full of Tetra pens. She found an ebay.com source for these discontinued writing utensils (I’d written a mournful blog about them here), once made in France and available everywhere, my pen-love, my passion, and she just got them for me. Who deserves that? I know I don’t.
Then, my 3rd Thursdays ~ we meet once a month. They are my go-to prayer partners, busy, amazing women, but time. They gave me time. And we met at The Olive Garden and laughed and talked and thoroughly enjoyed steak gorgonzola alfredo, no dainty appetites or feigning diets: we eat, we are merry, together we spread joy.
And the young “Ww/God” group? Show up at my house on a December night and let me dispense advice and cheer them on. I was just in my 20s like 5 minutes ago, right? I feel lucky to be surrounded, I am letting their youth and exuberance rub off on me.
Cards from long-ago friends, sweet letters and notes, catching up over miles and years. At Christmas, I thank God for the friends that decorate my life.
Presents with a Past
Our family enjoys the search for treasure and aren’t afraid to gift something used. The girls have become masters at finding things I or some one else once loved and would love to have again. Daughters Stephanie and Stormie run a very successful business selling hip, vintage wares (www.maydae.com) so it is no surprise. But guess what surprised me the most? Pencils! Anderson-Erickson Dairy pencils! My dad was a milkman when I was little, at an amazing dairy in Des Moines, Iowa. He did his bookwork with these lightweight, narrow pencils and always had one tucked in his ear. I spent hours and hours writing and drawing with them as a little girl. I mentioned how I missed those pencils and Tara contacted the company and they sent some out. I LOVE them! I never use pencils, but now, I shall.
I got old issues of my fav late 80s/early 90s mag, Victoria. There are the cool retro 70s TV trays, and some crazy-awesome orange 70s pottery!
Gifts from the heart
My creative family is so fun. Besides the usual gifts and odds and ends you buy at all the fav stores, everybody throws themselves into love-projects and makes things for one another. I got THE CUTEST stud earrings from Little Bits and Giggles (Jovan’s business), bright turquoisy-blue and Jeanie green. She also made me an iPod cover (very cute!). Stormie embroidered me a perpetual calendar (she embroidered a picture of Steph and Tristan for them and a unicorn for Guini, too…and Tre embroidered old-fashioned kitchen towels for Stormie – what a bunch of loves!). So many cute gifts, handmade with love (CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME).
Oh-oh-oh: platform boots! AND the James Taylor/Carole King Troubadour Reunion Tour DVD/CD set (since I didn’t get to see them live…next best thing).
One fun project was that we all painted Stephanie red-haired-girl portraits. She has an entire art collection now – of images inspired by her likeness! CLICK HERE
Plus other gifts – like my favorite Jack Hayford sermon ever from Tredessa, worship music from Dave and Tara. There is this awesome travel mug and a Starbucks certificate. Jewlery and clothes and books and music (and my husband still is insisting on getting me a new phone (iPhone – because I adore my iPod Touch so), but I haven’t let him yet. We’ll see. Too many wonderful gifts, from so many wonderful, thoughtful people.
My Christmas card.
I just love how it turned out and how I got to preach it up on the card. I HOPE some one read it and was encouraged! Yeah for sweet, longsuffering grandbebes and their ever-enduring parents. Cheers-bells-and-love to Stef and Wrex for the use of the farm and animals (and baby Sawyer to play Baby Jesus!)! Thank-you, Tredessa for snapping madly over the course of the fastest 7 minutes in the world. And thanks to Stormiekins for putting the card together and somehow fitting all my words on there. My Christmas card makes me ever-so-happy!
Gavin & Hunter wrote and performed their worship song at the pj party. The kids made presents for their parents.
Dinners and craft sessions, thrift store shopping and ice skating. Christmas movies and Christmas concerts and Dave starring in the community theater – with family, all the more delightful. Grandbebes everywhere, pj parties and pancakes. We got to borrow the Phipps’ on Christmas since their families are far away. Dana came for a visit from Indiana early in the month. And right after Christmas, Elise-the-Niece and her little sister Christiana from Aberdeen came for a week to hang out. “God sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68.6a
Elise with Stormie; Christiana with the kids on move-in day at Tara’s
I am so blessed. My grown kids still love the magic of a Christmas morning at our house. How cool is that? So, at about 9 am, they begin trailing in and we meet in the living room until everyone arrives. Then the grandbebess line up waiting to go see their “big” unwrapped gifts from Nonna and Poppa. The chaotic joy begins!
9:30 am While the kiddos enjoy the first of the gifts (o, there are more) and the contents of their stockings, breakfast is served. The grown-up-kids are very particular about breakfast and have determined very specific food they must have so I let them. Cinnamon and orange rolls. Little Smokies. Mini-bagels and cream cheese, juices and good, strong coffee – right next to the Hot-Cocoa-Makin’-Station. Eggs and whatever else. We eat, the little ones play.
10:00 am My husband gathered everyone. He read scripture and exhorted the family. He prayed over us all.. Then we dive in to gifts!
10:15 am Paper flies, laughing, loudness. Squeals of “Oh-look!” and “Thank-you, I wanted this.” You hear “I am opening a gift from you,” so no one will miss an important reveal. Paper fills bag after bag, is mounded high. The kids are on overload. Your face gets tired from smiling. I sit is a nice chair and sigh with satisfaction at all the thought and generosity that is shared among siblings on Christmas morning. We open gifts for over 3 solid hours, alternately trying to go just a few people at a time and just everyone tearing in with zeal.
1:30 pm We look at everything and take pictures and smile and play with our new toys. We reveal secrets that almost didn’t make it to Christmas and how we hid things from one another all season long. We exchange gift receipts for wrong sizes and the little ones love the family gift-wrap wars (balling up used gift wrap and declaring a battle with some one lse – usually Uncle Rocky!).
4:00 pm The Phipps’ arrive and there are piles more presents all around. Then a big family Mexican meal and Christmas movies on the big screen until we are so tired we nearly drop.
10:00 pm Silent night. Holy, peaceful night. Thank-you for this blessed day, Father.
These are a few of the things, my favorites, that made this past Christmas season so warm and sweet. Seasons come and go, times change and things may be different in the years to come. So, I hold these days close and thank God for them. It was a Merry Christmas, not pain free, not perfect, nor idyllic, but in its zaniness and realness, it was merry. Hope yours was, too.