Christmas is almost here...
And I love it!!
I love looking at random Christmas decorations that no one really needs but sometimes you just HAVE TO buy. I love little tiny ornaments. Every year I get out our ornament box with great anticipation. It's like a gift in and of itself, because nearly every single ornament has meaning to me. Each one reminds me of the year we got it, the person who gave it to us, or brings back a family memory that I have not thought about since the Christmas of the year prior. My mother collected an angel ornament for me every year of my life until I got married and then our first married Christmas, she gave me all of my angels to start my tree. I'm thinking of doing something like that for my son... only with Trains maybe?!! It was really neat and I love that she passed them down for me to enjoy in a new way. I love that time of decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. I LOVE CHRISTMAS MUSIC! I listen to it any time of the year. I DO NOT have the "only after Thanksgiving" rule. I love it. It's joyful... cool harmony... warm... and many of the songs are about Jesus. What's not to love? Especially the oldies like Ella and Frank!! Mmmm. Back in the day I recorded my own Christmas CD (kind of an 'at home' deal) but it was fun. We still have the songs on our ipod and it's sorta flattering to hear myself in our random Christmas playlist just mixed in with all of the other singers. I love the element of surprise so the whole gift giving thing is FUN for me. I don't stress over what to buy like some of my extended family members do. I love looking and planning and finding out what will really make the recipient light up! I was never the "look for our gifts under Mom's bed" kind of kid. I wanted to wait until Christmas morning. It was always HUGE at our house. My parents went all out. And it was always worth the wait! I love the smell of hot cider in my aunts house. She always put a few slices of orange in the pot and a few sticks of Cinnamon. It's funny how smells are connected to memories. I love hot chocolate too, but there is just a deep warmth that comes from enjoying apple cider with family and friends. (For great apple cider, buy Simply Apple apple juice and heat it on the stove with some Cinnamon. It's excellent and there is no need to add any sugar. Try it!) And we used to do a live nativity scene in my aunts front yard with all of my cousins. I think I was usually an angel. We also went Christmas caroling and it was amazingly fun and very memorable. People don't do that as much. We've become more independent of our neighbors these days... more isolated, I guess. I love stockings too... My husband didn't really have a big tradition with stockings, but I did. It was usually just filled with "little" gifts, but it was more of fact that it was tradition. My stocking at home had a puppy dog on it, and at my Grandmothers house my stocking was hand made and adorned with a blonde angel. We did stockings at my other Grandmothers house until my Great-Grand Mother passed and then we sorta just stopped doing that part. I love to watch the parade! I love getting and sending Christmas cards with a picture every year!!! This year I hung a red rope over the top of our bay window where the tree stands and I clip the cards to the rope with clothes pins. When I was little, our church choir did a live concert with an orchestra called the Singing Christmas Tree. They would literally make a giant Christmas tree of risers and the choir would fill in every row and sing a wonderful show. There were also narrations of the Biblical Christmas Story. And the huge tree light up in sink with the movement of the music. We saw that every year until I was about 7 or 8 and then they started allowing our children's choir to sing on the sides. It was exciting. I have also performed for the tree lighting on the Marietta Square, down town Powder Springs, and the televised tree lighting show which I believe was on Thanksgiving day at Lenex Mall. My Dad does not always enjoy decorating for Christmas, but he is the BEST as surprises... he calls it the "fake and go". He would buy jewelry for my mother and wrap it in a huge box with towels so that she would never guess what was really in the box. One year he huge a diamond necklace on the tree (it mixed in with all of the ornaments and lights) and when she opened her gift it lead her on the hunt all over the house and then eventually back to the tree. She gazed at the tree for a while before she spotted it and then she completely FREAKED OUT. I love those memories. I want to make great family traditions with my family of three. It's hard to in a way because we travel so much over almost all holidays. We are blessed with 3 grandmothers who are alive and well and still host BIG family get together. I guess attending big meals and parties IS our tradition ever since we got married. Christmas should be even more fun for our son this year... he was only 4 & 1/2 months old last year and really enjoyed the tissue paper then the gifts. He'll be 16 months old and lovin' it all!!! He's getting an ELMO and a slide and all kinds of things that will truly make him light up!
How we love to give good gifts to our children. How much more will our heavenly Father give us the Holy Spirit, as a gift, if we ask Him.
Merry Christmas to come... Many Blessings!