Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010 - Picture a Christmas

Picture a stable in Judea.
Picture a sacred, silent night.
And can you hear
The angels near
And see the star so bright?
Picture the little baby Jesus.
Think of his life and words so dear.
Sing praise to him;
Remember him,
As you picture Christmas this year.

So often I think we put undue pressure on ourselves to make Christmas "picture perfect" every year. Getting the perfect family picture, getting THE perfect gift, having the perfect Christmas Eve program and the perfect Christmas feast. I have to constantly check myself from falling into the trap myself! My sister-in-law gave me a stitched door-hanger one Christmas that said, "Simplify". It's a helpful reminder for me through the month of December not to go overboard in any area, and to lower the expectations for perfection.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Holiday Firsts

The kids wanted to decorate cookies for Santa this year, and in the name of Christmas fun, I let them. I'm sorry, Santa!

I finished reading A Christmas Carol after President Monson said that he read it every year. I love the movies based on the book, but I had never read it cover-to-cover. It was wonderful! I also enjoyed The Nutcracker score, as well as the gift that is Pandora. Festive tunes all day long - for free!

Tweaking Traditions
We started a tradition when we were first married of having scones on Christmas Eve. The past few Christmases and any other occasion that we make scones, the kids both turn their noses up at the goodness that is fried dough! A few weeks ago when I was searching on the Rhodes bake-n-serve site for a recipe, I stumbled across directions to make donuts! It's basically a scone, but has a hole in the middle and it's frosted...and it has sprinkles. So, we gave it a shot this year. It was a enormous SUGAR hit that is! "Mom, these donuts are AWESOME!" Mental note: Don't feed the kids sugar before the reverent, spiritual Nativity pageant. You know better than that!

Last year our little nativity had two kids and a babe-in-arms, this year we had two kids (on a sugar-rush) and a toddler. It was a whole different feeling, but I kept reminding myself that it didn't have to be perfect. Yaks wanted to be a shepherd this year,

Boo wanted to be the angel, so Josh and I took the parts as Mary and Joseph, with Diddles serving as the "stage-hand", and her baby doll filling in as our baby Jesus. Diddles didn't quite understand, and kept swiping the baby from it's tupperware manger (which would result in peels of laughter).

It was cute to see her give her baby a hug and then follow our directions to put the baby in its bed. Perfect? Reverent? No, but the kids know the story, and they enjoyed watching The Nativity movie, and it was a nice note to end on.

Gifts - That's a wrap!
Oh, how I agonized and lost sleep over Christmas gifts! I wanted to make sure everything was even and fair and that they were affordable yet something that they would each enjoy. Yaks interestingly had the most difficult time committing to a toy. We would take him to toy stores or look online for ideas, and he would just become paralyzed with indecision. Even on Christmas Eve the poor boy fretted, "What if Santa doesn't know what to get me?" I'm sure he was worrying because HE wasn't even sure what he wanted! "Don't worry, I think Santa knows what you would like." We settled for some Playmobile guys and this neat toy by Fisher Price called Trio. They are like legos for little kids that snap together and can create different scenes. He's had fun with these for days!

So has Josh!

My kids resort to playing on the table with their toys, so Diddles doesn't destroy their scenes!

Boo wanted the Rapunzel doll, and she was firm in her decision, despite the fact that she hadn't seen the movie! Santa included three tickets to see the movie, and now she enjoys the doll even more. I have to admit, I LOVE combing and braiding her hair! Maybe I'll get myself one! I also found a Barbie cash register at a Consignment store with all of the cards, pieces, coins and bills! I was so excited, since Boo loves playing with Nana's cash register. It's given new life to our kitchen set, and she sits in front of it for hours inputing numbers, swiping credit cards (uhhhh, maybe I shouldn't have taught her that function), and speaking loudly into the microphone.

Diddles got a little stroller to push her baby around the house, and it's adorable to watch her little toddle-tot body push around her little baby in the stroller. It's the cutest thing! Josh got a bike trainer, which Santa delivered two months ago, and I got a stocking with pretty things and a new purse.

Christmas Skype

We got to Skype with both families on Christmas Day and say hello. My Dad got a new computer and Tim got him all set up with Skype, so that will be fun to chat with them in the future!

Christmas Feast

By Christmas Eve, we had felt like we had already eaten our weight in all the wonderful treats, desserts, snacks and delicacies brought to us by neighbors and friends. I simplified our Christmas dinner and we had ham, yams, rolls, salad, jello, steamed carrots and ice cream with berries for dessert. It was actually quite yummy, and I didn't feel guilty having seconds, and it was much easier in the prep department! I didn't spend all day in the kitchen!

Early Risers

Oh, our kids wake up so early! I don't know why I thought Christmas would be an exception! I think they started stirring at 5:00. They started begging to go downstairs at 5:15. We held them off until about 5:30 and said they could go downstairs and open their stockings. They translated that direction, "Wake up the baby, and THEN go downstairs and open your stocking!" The hour was so early, I didn't even get a photo of the kids on the stairs! Awe, nuts. I snapped this shot out the window when all of our gift opening was done. It was 7am.

On Monday I took Boo and Yaks to our local theater to see Tangled. We stopped by the grocery store and loaded up on treats and drinks, and got there nice and early to be the first to choose our seats. "Where should we sit?" We don't take the kids to the movies much (I think this was the third movie they've ever seen in a theater), so they are completely GIDDY with excitement and they chattered all the way there and all the way through the previews, and all during the movie, etc. It was a good thing they chose to sit in the seats at the very back! It was a cute movie. I'm excited to see it again on DVD.

We were together as our little family this year, and we had a great time together! We're healthy and happy and all thankful for the perfect gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Dianna said...

It looks like you accomplished the perfect Christmas. I'm glad your family is so real and you let us see that through your posts. I love the Christmases when there is a little one who can enjoy a baby doll and toy stroller.

Sarah said...

A busy, simple Christmas. It looks wonderful!

Good luck settling back into routine tomorrow...

Doré Jolley said...

I LOVE your family picture by the train!