The Thirteen Days of Christmas

Thirteen days.

A house full of kids.

Four gallons of Chex mix.

Chocolate dipped everything.

An entire ham devoured.

Hundreds of games of Dominion.

Epic Minecraft battles.

Laughter.

Teasing.

Inside jokes.

Time with special friends.

IMG_4083

Late nights.

Lazy mornings.

Pots of coffee.

And now it’s over.

Matt flew out yesterday.

Pedro’s back at work today.

Dagmar’s preparing for next semester.

Christmas is put away.

The snowmen collection is out.

My house is quiet.

My couch is waiting.

My heart is happy.

And it is good.

Holiday Nostalgia

Isn’t it amazing how pulling out the Christmas decorations brings back the memories?

Each ornament on the tree has a story. From the angel on the top that we bought our first Christmas together, to the five baby’s first Christmas ornaments, and the Swedish dala horses the kids painted with Grandma, each piece is unique to our family and to our history.

IMG_3181

Then there’s the Plasticine nativity set we used when the our children were little. Pedro was so entranced with the donkey that he took it to nap time every day. He loved it so much the ears broke off. Replace it? Never. That ear-less donkey is as much a part of our Christmas as the red Christmas stockings made by Aunt Teresa.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised by our reactions when, at Thanksgiving, Mom asked my sisters and I to look through a box of Christmas decorations before she donated them.

What a flood of nostalgia!

I could almost smell the Christmas tree, taste the peanuts in my bag from Santa, and hear the song “I’m Getting Nuttin’ for Christmas”!

Almost.

Most of the decorations got taken quickly – each of us finding that bit of home and childhood we wanted.

Most of the decorations – but not all.

There was this one.

IMG_3183

The plastic holly Christmas tree thing that mom had hanging on the front door every year.

We all remembered it. It was an integral part of Christmas – just like the presents from Santa Claus and saying our pieces at the Children’s Christmas Program on Christmas Eve.

Yet the circa 1970’s plastic thing had none of the charm of the little elf wind chime, or the collection of teddy bear ornaments that had already been chosen.

None of us really wanted it.

Yet nobody could quite let it go. Imagine some stranger at Salvation Army buying our Christmas memory?  Unthinkable!

As we stood around the bed in the guest room, staring at our Christmas past, the solution suddenly became crystal clear.

We would pass it around.

Each year one of us would be gifted that lovely bit of plastic history and would have to (oops! I mean “get to”) display it that Christmas season.

And record it with a picture.

I was first.

It is now hanging in all it’s plastic glory in my sun room for all my guests to see.

Then, when Christmas is over, it will be carefully packed, ready to appear next Thanksgiving when another sibling will get to take it home.

Thus our Christmas past becomes a part of Christmas present and a new tradition is born from an old one.

Perfect!

No Room

IMG_3158You should see my house right now!

Oh. My.

On second thought – nobody should see my house right now.

We got home Saturday afternoon after traveling last week for Thanksgiving and immediately began to take down fall decorations and put up Christmas.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but we quickly ran into problems.

Like the love seat that is now sitting in the middle of the floor. We bought the sofa and love seat last January. We’ve never had a love seat before but it fit nicely in the spot where the recliner was – which happens to be exactly where we put the Christmas tree.

It was easy to pull the recliner around the corner every December to make room for the tree.

But a love seat, not so much.

It doesn’t fit. Anywhere.

It covers the heat vents and blocks doorways.

And so it sits in the middle of the room gumming up the works while Christmas piles up around it – 5 strands of lights, 4 glass ornaments,  3 window candles,  2 Santa hats, and a half naked live Christmas tree.

Ugh.

I should probably crank the Christmas music, grab the tape measure and fight the battle of the love seat.

Or…. I could brew some cinnamon apple tea, turn off the lights and watch Hallmark Christmas movies all afternoon!

It worked yesterday. 😉

Have a Blessed Christmas!

DSC_0269Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of God’s blessing!

Hallmark Addiction

800px-Flickr_-_law_keven_-_A_parting_gift...In the past I have confessed to you all an addiction to Hallmark Christmas movies.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I have not conquered this addiction. Actually – it has become worse.

I might have actually watched a Christmas movie in October.

But I recently learned that I wasn’t the only one who suffered from this malady.

An anonymous person close to me (who might actually be married to my husband’s brother and whose initials are a.u.n.t.j.u.l.i.e) recently shared this true story with me.

Working full time with 2 active sons she doesn’t have a lot of time to sit and watch entire Christmas movies – but she would frequently catch parts.

She saw the end of one particular movie that she greatly enjoyed, and was anxious to see the beginning.

Not having a way to record it, she had to watch it live. So she checked the listings and saw that it was on from 3 am till 5 am on Friday night.

Perfect! She always got up to go to the bathroom around 3 am – so she could catch the first part of the movie. (Because actually setting an alarm to get up 3 am was just too extreme!)

Friday night came – but alas – she slept through the night and woke up at 5 am,  totally missing the movie.

But not too worry! It was scheduled again for the next Friday night at the same time.

She spent another busy week obsessed with seeing the first part of this movie.

Friday night finally came – this time she went one step further and had the TV turned to the Hallmark Channel before she went to sleep to save time.

She woke up right at 3 and rushed downstairs.  The few seconds the TV took to warm up seemed like an eternity – but finally – there it was – the long awaited movie.

Her husband found her there – on the couch, in a dark family room, wrapped up in a quilt, engrossed in a Hallmark Christmas movie at 4 am.

That, dear friends, is an addiction. 🙂

Photo courtesy of law_keven