Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Joyful Christmas

I am always amazed at how quickly the holidays come and go. We were a little late getting in the Christmas spirit in our house because things were still so hectic from moving and finishing up our place. We didn't put up the tree on the day after Thanksgiving, and the lights didn't get put on the tree until the actual week of Christmas!

Jackson-- The Reindeer

This Christmas we had a the opportunity to learn that our holiday enjoyment is not dependent on the traditions we have, the gifts we buy, or the people we get to see. Several things were different for us this year and at first it was really hard to have a festive attitude about the season. First, we had a late start in decorating and then we decided that we wouldn't put ornaments on the tree this year to avoid fighting Jackson to keep them on the tree. We decided not to buy gifts for each other and we tried to think of things we could do or make instead of buying gifts for family. For the presents we did buy, I ended up getting online, which was very convenient and I got some great deals, but it doesn't have the same thrill of going to the store to shop. Then, the snow ruined the plans that we had for family to come visit on Christmas Eve and it was very disheartening!

Jackson and cousin Gabe- Christmas Day

We had a lesson to learn from Charlie Brown- Christmas isn't about having the nicest tree in town and it isn't about checking off your holiday checklist of traditions. We had such a great holiday and we were able to find great blessings in the simplicity. The idea to organize my mom's pictures was to save money, but it turned out to be such a neat experience to go through and find pictures I'd never seen of my parents in elementary school through college and to remember some of the things I did as a child. Similarly, we were scanning some of Linda's old pictures so she could have digital copies, but again we had fun looking at the pictures as we scanned. Derek got up early on Christmas morning to cook me breakfast and we enjoyed some nice time together before Jackson woke up and it was such a wonderful thought. And even though most of Jackson's presents were hand-me-down toys, it was so much fun seeing him open the presents and be excited about wrapping paper tubes instead of his toys!! And even though it was disappointing that my extended family couldn't come down on Christmas Eve, it was SO nice to tackle some of those things on my to-do list that had just been ignored for awhile. And instead, we had an impromptu celebration with friends and family watching Die Hard while it blizzarded outside. We had a fantastic time celebrating Christmas day with both of our families, playing games and enjoying the company of others.

Our family- Christmas 2009

It's no surprise to me that our most blessed Christmas was the one that might seem to be the crummiest. I pray that even in abundance our family will still appreciate the little things find joy in the simple blessings of Christmas. My grandma has had this quote from in her house for as long as I can ever remember and it has taken me 25 years to truly understand: Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be- Abraham Lincoln.

Jackson and Grandpa reading the Christmas Story-
one of my favorite memories from this year

Jackson with his new toy cell phone


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