Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Love Christmas!!

I love everything about Christmas! The music - though my taste tends to run to the beautiful Christmas carols instead of Frosty, Rudolph and Santa and noisy renditions of contemporary songs. I love the decorations - the lights and glittering tinsel and brightly colored balls on the tree. I love decorating my Christmas tree with many strings of lights, all blue for the last couple of years, then when darkness falls, to turn off all the house lights and just bask in the glow of the Christmas tree lights with carols softly playing and snuggle with my husband.

I love nativity sets from all different nations that depict the birth of our Savior in so many different ways. It takes me hours to set them all up throughout my house (I have close to 100) but it is a labor of love to set each one up with the Baby Jesus at the center, just as He is at the center of our universe.

I love the feeling of excitement in the air - the feeling of anticipation that always comes with December. And I love the extra love that seems to fill the earth at this time of year. People are more considerate and kind, more friendly and open. (Usually.) :)

I love the traditions that we carry on from one generation to another. As children, we always received an orange in our stockings. Being born and raised in Idaho, I had no idea what a special thing that was to get in December. Oranges are plentiful all year long now, but then it was something extra special our parents did - and an expensive treat at that time!! So we have continued that tradition with our children. And, of course, candy and nuts and a couple of little gifts.

We put up our Christmas tree as early in the month as possible so we can enjoy it longer. Since I just returned from a week tending grandchildren, today will be our day and I'm excited! I'll put on my favorite music and place every ornament in just the right place. With our children grown and gone, I get to have my tree just as I want it decorated, instead of the family tree with all of the kids homemade ornaments that we had for so many years. Those precious decorations now hang on their own trees.

I have had, at times, grandchildren help decorate, but when they are gone, I replace ornaments clustered around the bottom and make it balanced and beautiful. After the decorating is done, all the presents go under the tree as they are bought and wrapped, so by time Christmas Eve arrives, you can't fit another thing under or around the tree. I'll admit, we go overboard at Christmas time. I always wanted to have a lot of presents for our children to open, so there were many little inexpensive treats - a little book, new pair of fun stockings, mittens, favorite candy treat. etc. We don't spend a lot of money, but try to fulfill wishes. I shop all year and stash the presents so I don't have a lot of shopping to do in December, which is so busy with social obligations - and people in the stores!

On Christmas Eve for years we played the dramatized Christmas story because the bleating of the lambs with the shepherds and the angels singing, the donkey and oxen in the stable, the footsteps on cobblestones, the different voices of the people in the story came to life for our children. Later we read from the Bible the Christmas story.

We choose one present to open on Christmas Eve, with my husband traditionally objecting and everyone calling him Scrooge. It is a game played for years now. I'll admit, it is hard with our children all married to not have a houseful at Christmas. I understand each of our families needing to be in their own homes, but it is far too quiet with just the two of us on Christmas Eve.

But we do manage to get together - most of us - to celebrate and open our presents and be thankful for the greatest gift ever given. For years, we had a little box that looked like a present. Each of us wrote what our gifts to the Babe of Bethlehem would be and slipped our proffered presents into the box. The next Christmas it would be open to see if we actually carried out the promised gift to our Savior.

Some of traditions have changed over the years. We used to have a huge Christmas dinner, but the 15 months that Glenn was on a remote tour in Turkey, we just put out holiday salads and fancy sandwich fixings so everyone could make their own, and the kids liked it so much, we did it the next year when Glenn returned. And I loved it as I didn't have to spend so much time in the kitchen.

We do still have Cinnamon Apple Tea Ring for breakfast with egg nog and/or hot chocolate. Two of my daughters continue this tradition in their homes. I'll send the recipe in another post as I'm off right now to our Super Saturday to make a couple of Christmas presents for my daughters. For my son this year, I'm redoing the quilt I made him years ago from his concert tee shirts and tee shirts he had bought as he traveled or picked up on his mission. He wore out the backing so he gets it renewed this year, with a couple of books on corporate management to help him as CEO of his company. Interesting combination, huh!

My young granddaughters are getting dress-up clothes and I still have one satin cape to finish and a filmy wrap to go over a satin skirt that needs to be hemmed. My grandsons are getting coupons for a special trip with Grandma and Grandpa to the zoo, the beach, and Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags (which is five minutes from their home in Valencia.)

My husband is giving me an early present: The historic Mission Inn in Riverside, CA decorates with one million lights every year and I've wanted to see them for 25 years. This year we are staying there one night, then going to San Diego and Coronado Island to see their beautiful light displays and visit the museums. One other present I'm asking for is a few days in Death Valley in January to play golf on the lowest golf course in the world and to visit historic places like Scotty's Castle and play in the sand (and take pictures, of course!)

Those are my favorite kinds of presents - personal time and fulfilled wishes. May all your wishes be fulfilled at this most glorious time of year!


Cheri J. Crane said...

I love Christmas, too, Lynn. It has always been one of my favorite times of year. And the best gift is spending time with loved ones. =D

Jennie said...

Here's another Christmas fan. I love the deeply spiritual moments, the concerts, the lights, nutcrackers, a trip to Temple Square, the special foods, Santa Claus, Christmas books,and even Christmas letters from friends and family who m I only hear from once a year.