I said it before, and I'll say it again: I am enjoying the holiday season more than I ever have. Growing up, Christmas was always nice, but my parents' marriage wasn't great, and I always felt the conflict of seeing the Magic but knowing our home wasn't completely happy. I hated that conflict. It was like Christmas exemplified what should be, but wasn't. My husband's family was similarly stable, but with some depressed undercurrents. The two of us have a far better marriage than either of our parents', and we talk often about how to create something different for Jeb. Christmas is a perfect opportunity. I know our family will not be perfect, but it is/will be happy. I want Jeb to only feel the magic of the season; for as long as his innocence will allow, at least. I want him to look back at daily life, and especially the holidays, and have tradition, laughter, commitment, and love come to mind. This is the first season that we've been able to put all this into practice and see the smiles that result :) It's better than I ever dreamed :)
So, with 10 days to go, here are the 10 most totally awesome things I am enjoying this year:
- The tree! We didn't put up a tree last year, for several reasons, but this year's is gorgeous and I had 2 years worth of enjoyment hanging our ornaments, with my short helper.
- Christmas cards! I have sent out 72 cards, and I watch for the mail man everyday so I can see how many I get that day. I am loving seeing pictures of my friends' kids :)
- The giving. We are on a tighter budget than usual, but I am thrilled with the humble yet thoughtful gifts we have to give. It is going to be a simple, but beautiful gift giving.
- The wrapping paper! I usually go for a folk-y kind of look, but this year I picked a Dr. Seuss-y kind of theme. I LOVE IT!
- The Christmas music. A couple of radio stations started playing Christmas music 24/7 the first week of November. I loved it, but was worried I'd be sick of it by now. Not so! I am still totally loving hearing Christmas music!
- My poinsettias. My husband is a Plant Man, and we've always had an amazing display of poinsettias in our home. I was worried our budget just wouldn't handle poinsettias this year, but I found a few awesome deals, and we have a little mini-display :) Loving it!
- The traditions I am continuing with Jeb. We have one of those 1-a-day calenders with a chocolate behind each door. He is bananas for it! I have a book: A Story a Day til Christmas. My mom read it to me every year, and now I read it to Jeb. Jeb and I will be making sugar cookies and decorating them for Santa, which my mom also did with me every year. There are others, and we are starting a few if our own as well.
- The baking. Jeb and I have been baking every day. He is such a good helper! Yesterday we made butter pecan cookies, which were my maternal grandmother's FAVORITE. I helped my mom make them for her every year. My grandma passed on many years ago, but I still thought of her as I made the cookies with my boy. Today we made orange-cranberry-walnut bread. Tomorrow, we will bring the bread and cookies to the nursing home where Jeb's great-grandma lives. Hopefully we'll give some smiles to some elderly people :) We have also made banana bread, and a cake, and have still to make chocolate chip - walnut cookies and the sugar cookies... and any other awesome recipe I come across! We put on our Christmas music, make a huge mess, and enjoy some treats :)
- The Christmas movies. Charlie Brown was on tonight, and I was down right giddy!
- And most importantly, the Reason for the Season. This has been a really tough year. Thankfully my relationship with my Lord is strong, and I am surely keeping it in mind that we have made it this far because we are abundantly blessed by Him.