I have discovered a hidden blessing of moving far away. Christmas has acquired a special magic. I have always loved Christmas, but since most of my family lived close by for most of my life, the idea of “being together with family” for the holidays was basically lost on me. I was always with family. During my childhood, my mom’s side got together for a huge meal and fun together every single Sunday afternoon. Christmas was like a Sunday with gifts and extra cookies added in. But now. Wow. What a difference. I anticipated the time we would spend with family like I used to wait for the arrival of Santa. I had butterflies in my stomach as we made the drive north. I couldn’t sleep.
What’s more, now that I have children who are at the age when the story of the Christ child can really mean something to them, I feel more pressure to capture those good teaching moment and less pressure to live up to the worldly expectations that can weigh Christmas down. It’s a wonderful balance to navigate. I baked just one batch of cookies from pre-made dough. My Christmas cards are still sitting in a box waiting to go out into the world. I’m totally okay with the incomplete to-do list. I’m just happy.
Our Christmas celebration had some particularly memorable moments. During our Christmas Eve time with my husband’s side of the family, the electricity went out during our gift exchange time. Out came the candles and a sweet little oil lamp that gave our evening a beautiful glow.
Christmas morning was its usual mix of happy chaos and poignancy. Little moments of joy and surprise will stick with me all year. Our boys received beautiful nutcrackers, a special wish that our oldest has carried for three Christmases! He is fascinated by soldiers and anything related to swords, so I guess–for him–the nutcracker is the ultimate Christmas soldier. His reaction was so honest and precious.
For me, the ultimate moment was when Aunt Kristy revealed her homemade gifts. As you may have seen in earlier posts, Kristy’s handmade capes are an important part of my kids’ wardrobes. Well, one cape was tragically lost on our return trip home in the summer. We were heartbroken, but Aunt Kristy saved the day in true super hero style by creating a new cape for Christmas. All is right in our small world once again. And guess what! Little Charlotte has joined the ranks.
J still has a cape, so Aunt Kristy created an adorable apron for my boy who loves to be my kitchen helper. Although I didn’t have time for nearly as many homemade gifts as I would like, I knitted cowls for Kristy and my mom. I also tried a pair of fingerless mittens for my sister-in-law. All three worked well, and I hope they will bring some cuddly warmth to the winter for three special ladies.
Happy New Year, friends!