December 23, 2012

My Christmas List

Dozens of journals pepper my bookshelves. Before the iPhone Notes app entered my life just two Christmases ago, I wrote lists in notebooks. Last week I discovered my Christmas planning checklists from 2005. 

According to the '05 list, we bought tennis rackets and Disney Prince and Princess dolls for the girls. Julia received Aladdin and Jasmine Barbies in their wedding outfits. Charlotte scored Cinderella and Prince Charming Barbies in wedding attire. We were so thrilled to find them at the Disney Character Outlet at a significant discount. Oy,their 2012 lists are quite different. 

I wonder how often my nephew (now age 23) wore his checked skater belt from PacSun. In 2005, my mother in law apparently received her final teapot from us. That was the year that she gently hinted that her teapot collection was complete. We tend to latch onto a gift idea and continue on with it for years. Call it a tradition or call it a rut, but I feel compelled to bring Starbucks to Crawford Christmas gatherings. The discovery of the list revealed what a time capsule the annual Christmas shopping list really is. One win was my mom's 4 slice toaster that has been used everyday since Christmas 2005.

Last year, Christmas 2011, was a frantic blur for Dan and me. In November 2011, we moved, sold a car, bought a car, and were both navigating new jobs (my first full time job in 13 years). It may not surprise you to learn that our 2011 Christmas tree lights did not work on the top half of the tree, and we did absolutely nothing about it. We simply asked the kids to sit on the floor and cropped the photos accordingly. Sigh! I feel tired remembering that season. Ack! It was so stressful, Y'all!

Fast forward to . . . today!

Christmas 2012 has been slow paced, easy breezy and just plain fun. We are reading the Advent Story that we started last year. Bartholomew's Passage: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide is the second part of a trilogy of stories to be read year after year. These books were introduced to us by our friends, the Clement family, several years ago and tell the Nativity story from three perspectives. We are eating lots of popcorn and enjoying hours of Christmas music. Charlotte delights us with daily piano concerts. We are baking and laughing and taking lots of pictures. We are experiencing big kid (ages 5, 10, and 14) comments and interesting perspectives on our family's traditions.  William has coined the phrase "Christmas Paradise" for neighbors with excellent lighting displays. 

Since we live hundreds of miles away from the closest family members, we are often on the road for major holidays. This year, we visited North Alabama for a week at Thanksgiving, but we are so blessed to be home for all of the Christmas season. I have not been this relaxed in years. My sweet family visited us last weekend for a 3 day Christmas vacation here in Orlando. We are hosting Dan's mom and sister this week, and I am enjoying sharing this time with family in our house with our decorations and in my own bed. 

If you are having a frantic Christmas, I know exactly how to pray for you. To take deep breaths and capture sweet stolen moments. My prayer for your family is peace on your small square of the earth.

If you are having a wonderful Christmas, I share this moment in time with you. This year, we shall enJOY it all. My prayer for us is for a special visit from the Prince of Peace. To go deeper and give more than we ever have.

With just 2 days remaining, this has been the best Christmas season to date. All of the lights on the Christmas tree are aglow. I am rested and joyful and thankful. If we can find all of the kids' gifts that we have hidden, then we can officially declare this year a success.