Merry Christmas!

Annalee Angel Ornnament
Have you had yourself a merry little Christmas? Are you still in the holiday spirit or are you all holidayed out? I talked with my sister this afternoon and she’d already taken her tree down and put the ornaments away. I’ve always thought it amazing how we grew up in the same house but ended up with two totally different perspectives on enjoying Christmas. I’d leave the tree up forever if I thought I could get away with it.

Since we celebrate Christmas over a 12 day period, we’re just getting started here. Last night Victoria opened her ornament from us and read the Christmas story out of the second chapter of Luke. This morning she checked her stocking to find a little something and will do that every morning ending on January 5. Yes, that’s a lot of stocking stuffers I have to come up with!

Tonight I read a Christmas story, one by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and we opened the first of 12 gifts. Since we give 12 gifts, sometimes a few extras as well, the gifts are typically small, but every now and then they can be a little more substantial. For her first gift, Victoria got a pair of socks, with cat faces, that hold little heat packs. She’s always freezing in this old house for some reason so I thought those would be just the thing to keep her warm while watching TV or sleeping.

Julia was here this evening as well and got a box full of goodies. We went ahead and gave her everything at once because she can’t be here every night. Nathanael visited this morning and got a nice set of wrenches. That should keep him from coming and borrowing Rick’s set every time he needs to fix something.

Our way of celebrating Christmas is probably different than any other you’ve ever heard of, but we enjoy doing it this way. We started celebrating Christmas over a 12 day time period when the children were very small. It was such a let down to have just the one day of excitement so we decided to stretch it out a little. It took a couple of years of trial and error to get the formula just right, but we finally got it down to a science and the kids were able to enjoy each gift they received before being faced with another gift. It taught them that good things come to those who wait and that good things can come in small packages. In other words, it helped to teach the children patience because they didn’t get to rip open the biggest box first but had to wait until they drew the number attached to that gift. We learned to number the boxes after the first year because that’s exactly what Nathanael did; he picked the largest gift first.

What?! No Santa Claus?! No, no Santa Claus. We didn’t want our children to focus on a non-existent figure with mystical powers rather than on the true reason for the celebration which is the birth of Christ. My sister thought we were nuts because our family didn’t do Christmas like we had done as children. I took some flack because of our “weird” way of celebrating Christmas. But that was all right, I’m used to being a bit out there on some issues.

When you spread Christmas out for 12 days you spread out the time you spend with the family and end up with more quality time than just one evening or day of paper ripping can give. When that 12th night comes you’ve had enough celebrating to hold you for a whole year. You’re ready to end Christmas and move on in to the New Year. I only wonder whether or not our children will do something similar when they have families of their own. Should be interesting to see. Only time will tell…

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