Christmas Shorts

I’m still reeling from the past five days, into which we crammed Abby’s Christmas program, a visit from my snowbird siblings, my extended family Christmas, a bachelorette party, bridesmaids’ brunch, rehearsal dinner, and, of course, my sister’s wedding.  It was at least a month’s worth of excitement in a long weekend: a lot for a normal person to handle, and almost too much for a slow-processing introvert like myself.

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Lovely Christmas at my parents’ house. Looks like Santa found us, even on December 13!

So a “shorts” post seems to be the only way to make sense of it all, plus it seems extra appropriate since our outdoor temperatures have been nearing 70 degrees.  Not that I’m complaining.  As much fun as frigid, quote-unquote-winter-weather is in theory, I actually love walking around my house feeling my toes, not having to keep up with pairs of mittens or shoes or socks, and getting from the car to the  grocery store without having icicles form on my nose.  And getting to take the kids outside, barefoot, to spend an hour in the afternoon sticking leaves through the hole of the water meter cover?  Yes, please.  It gets chilly enough in the evenings for me to need my mocs and my electric blanket, so I’m totally satisfied, weather-wise.

***

So this preschool Christmas program: I had no idea what to expect from Abby.  She’s a really hilarious little ham at home, but she can be something of an awkward turtle around strangers.  But she was a star! She totally rocked in her class rendition of the Reindeer Pokey (“You put your white tail in, you put your white tail out…”) and actually sang and did the motions to the other little song and poem they presented.  I was so proud (and her composure in front of an audience filled me with optimism regarding her performance as a flower girl later in the weekend!).

But I could hardly get over the dog-eat-dog atmosphere of the peanut gallery.  When each class took the stage, the view down the middle aisle was instantly packed with parent-parazzi. And the person sitting directly in front of me literally stood up to take a video for the whole performance. I spent the entirety of the Reindeer Pokey song scrambling around the back rows trying to find a seat with an unobstructed view of of my child (and yes, to get a little video footage of my own).  Gaah!

***

Steeped as we are in the world of the under-five crowd, our Christmas singing involves many variations of “Away in a Manger.”  Hymn stickler that I am, I try to sing the whole thing when I get the chance, which means I’ve thought a lot about the last line of verse 3.  Some sources say “Take us to heaven to live with thee there,” and some say “Fit us for heaven to live with thee there.”  A quick Google search gave no explanation for which is the original line (although everyone agrees that the whole third verse was added a little later by a different author).  Whatever the reason behind the discrepancy, I’m on Team “Fit us for Heaven.”  I appreciate the nod to the idea that God is making us holy even as we live here on earth, and that we aren’t just biding time until we get to go to Heaven.  (And I’m sure Abby is thinking deeply on all of that as she drifts off to sleep each night…)

***

Speaking of Christmas songs, I got to be part of a delightfully grouchy email thread recently where we all vented about our least favorite Christmas song.  I voted for “Last Christmas” and “Baby, it’s Cold Outside.”  There are so many more I could have chosen.  But even all the ones that are cheesy/creepy/ theologically inaccurate contribute to the charm of the season, and so my love of Christmas music continues undiminished.

***

I mentioned that we’re going to try to do Twelve Days of Christmas this year.  My plan has been to have one small gift for each of us to open on each of the 12 days, and I’ve been picking up small, (mostly) inexpensive things for my family members for about a month now.  Yesterday while Abby was at school I laid everything out on the bed to get a sense of what I still needed.  Big surprise: I had plenty of things for Abby: chapstick, play-doh, gum, books, dolls.  I came up short for Jem, but he’s easy: he’ll just want whatever Abby has anyway, and on days when I don’t have a gift for him I can stuff his stocking with wadded up paper and string, and he’ll be none the wiser.  I’ve also considered wrapping toys we already have, because again: he. won’t. care.  (This is the same child who is getting an ear thermometer from his grandmother, at my request.)

Naturally Stephen is the hardest to find 12 gifts for because 1) he doesn’t need or want anything and 2) the two good gifts I did find for him blew my whole gift budget.  So I’m filling in with a few “meh” level gifts, and it’s still going to leave me with a few days that require creative solutions.  More on that later, if I think of something brilliant.

(Stephen has tried to say that it will be hard to find 12 things for me, too.  I had to remind him that I wrote a whole post about things he could buy me on special occasions, so he is without excuse.)

***

In my Christmas home tour, I posted a picture of this year’s favorite Christmas read-aloud book.  It’s called “Christmas is Here,” illustrated by Lauren Castillo.  The text is entirely from the King James Bible, and the illustrations are perfect–sweet, charming, not too serious, not ridiculous or “twaddle-y.”  It’s such a hard balance to find in children’s literature generally, and even more so with such sentimental and familiar content.

I’m not a hard core King James girl myself, but I do love Luke 2 from that version, mainly because it’s what I memorized as a child.  There’s just something wonderfully dramatic about the line, “And, lo, the angel of the Lord appeared to them!”,  and I love the expression, “they were sore afraid.”

***

Our Christmas card wall is finally starting to fill out a bit.  It always starts the month looking super pathetic, with some general holiday cards from our car dealership, local bank, etc.  But slowly we’ve started to get some cards with actual human handwriting in them, and even some cards with pictures of people we love!  I know so many people don’t feel like Christmas cards are worth the time or money it takes to get them out, but I always appreciate the ones we get in the mail.

***

This discussion from John Piper is the most sane and inspiring thing I’ve read on the whole “Santa/Not to Santa” question.

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I’m a big fan of the Wee Sing children’s music collection.  This year I bought their Christmas album, and it did not disappoint!  It’s a great blend of serious/silly, sacred/secular, traditional/original tunes.  I super love “Fum, Fum, Fum” and “Pat-a-Pan,” which are both 16th century European carols with catchy tunes and fun onomatopoeia.

***

Well, I’m out of space to even talk about the wedding, which is fine because it’s not exactly on topic, and the only way I have any pictures to show is because I’ve taken screen shots of people’s Instagram accounts.  Creepy me!  So beyond these two tiny pictures, you can just know that it was beautiful, and that Abby did a great job as the flower girl!  Her final assessment: “I liked getting to wear a fancy dress and makeup, but I didn’t like having everyone look at me.”  Fair enough!

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I love this picture of the wedding party girls because it makes it look like we live in a catalog, and trust me when I say that has never been true of any photo of me, ever before. (The matchy flannel shirts were our bridesmaid gifts.)

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Beautiful flower girl trying on the bride’s dress!

 

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6 responses to “Christmas Shorts

  1. I love reading what you write, every single time! It is always beautiful! I love the way you make the simple things look and seem majestic! Your Piper/Voskamp (etc). inspired traditions and lessons are right on point! Thank you for being real, simple, and just you! :)

  2. Love, love, love…from the top of the post to the bottom and all of the bits in between. AND. Your card was precious. It totally made my day! Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!

  3. Lindsey – I dare you to listen to the Duck Dynasty version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and not be somewhat charmed by Jase and Missy. I’ll be sure to bring the CD to Temple in case you don’t have the album. : )

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