The Hubs and I celebrated our own little Christmas last night.
He covered my eyes, set me in front of my present
and then proceeded to take pictures...
Here's how it all went down:
Yes, that is my shock-n-awe face.
Yes, that is Remy's shock-n-awe face.
Here's what I was looking at:
A beautifully handmade shelf.
There is an old barn window for a door, rough cut oak wood for the sides and old farm wood for the rest. The Hubs found and used things from around where we live. His creativity never ceases to amaze me!
Christmas traditions are not a familiar terrain for me. Growing up, we spent some holidays with Grandparents in Canada, others with the other Grandparents in the States and still others at home. One year, we even went to Cancun to Christmas. Have to admit, it was a little weird seeing Christmas lights on palm trees and lighting off sparklers for New Years. There have been very few years where Christmas has had the same constants from the year before. The same location or food or people in attendance. There have been a couple years where members from my immediate family were not even altogether while one of the sisters was traipsing off around New Zealand or Europe somewhere doing YWAM.
I heard stories of people who go to the same house every year. It contains the same food and people, the only change would be who drew each others names. Their Christmas traditions rest in each other. The closeness that family and familiarity brings. It's a beautiful tradition of love. I heard of these stories and while growing up I was always surrounded by family and love, yet every year seemed to have a different twist on it.
You must understand how much I love how I grew up doing Christmas. It was different every year and I learned to embrace it- always looking forward to the people, community and relationships. I loved every year. I remember being at my uncle's farm and jumping between large round hay bales with my older (and way cooler) cousins quite a few years ago. I remember another year when all of the cousins were all at my Grandparents' house, in our pajamas opening stockings. It was mass chaos, loud and a beautiful Christmas. I remember going skating on the lake, being terrified every time the ice would shift and crack but the uncles kept on saying it was normal and supposed to happen. I remember being at my Grandparents' in Nyack, across the river from New York and playing outside in the snow. I remember my grandma doing Christmas crafts with us. I remember being home with my sisters, going shopping for each other at the same time, in the same mall and somehow still surprising each other with gifts. I remember a lot of love in our Christmas, even when every year had a new twist. I loved every year's new twist.
It wasn't until I got married to my husband and we spent our first Christmas together in Minnesota that I began to experience my first Christmas season traditions with him and his family. They have been blessed to grow up and settle down in the area. All of them live close by and Christmas is embedded with traditions. This new terrain is an important part of our married life as it is a part of both of us. Since we've gotten married, we've searched for ways to meld our Christmas experiences together.
We have found traditions in shopping for presents together for family members and having my favorite breakfast dish Puffed Apple Pancake together before we open presents. Obviously, the Hubs finds it a lot easier to establish traditions as he buys me a Christmas mug every year from Starbucks. My tradition? To never buy anything off his Christmas list. Yes, my tradition is to once again buck tradition. But, I'm working it.
In the end, Christmas traditions are not familiar terrain but I've learned that it's not what you do. It is who you are with. Regardless of location or what is served, who you are with makes all the difference.
We are supposed to get more snow this weekend. It might be mixed in with rain and sleet, but I'm just choosing to embrace it. I'll drive a bit slower (I already drive like a Grama according to some). I'll wear a hat, maybe some gloves. But I'm going to embrace it. That's kind of become my theme this Christmas season.
I'm not sure what all it means yet, but as I've begun to dig into what Christmas means and how to celebrate it in a way that celebrates the true meaning, this term just keeps creeping in. In very small ways, embracing the seasons is becoming a very familiar and friendly term.
I am embracing a busy season of life. December always brings more business than the rest of the year combined. I'm choosing to embrace it. Bring on the parties, the work days, the shopping, the baking.
I walked into my office today to find my coworkers hiding in the corner, whispering and laughing. As soon I was walked in, they broke into a beautiful out of tune rendition of Happy Birthday which was followed by the best Awkward Family Photos card & Gluten Free Rice Chex Crispies.
It's currently cold outside. Shocker, it's December and I live in Minnesota. The last of year has been anything but normal. Summer was unbearably hot with over a month of 90+ days. Fall was warm and went well into November. Now that December is here, everyone expects the cold, but I somehow cannot get used to it. I have a new theory... I need snow. Snow means that it's ok for it to be cold. Of course, I know it doesn't work that way.
I complain about the snow, but did enjoy our warm weather as of late. The Hubs and I had the opportunity to go for several walks in the woods and fields and enjoy being outside. It's been a beautiful fall and I really have enjoyed it as we are moving into the next season. My favorite season, I can't wait! So let it snow! Let it snow!
There are several things I love about the holidays, but one of my favoritest (yes, that's absolutely a word!) are holiday drinks! From Starbucks to Caribou, I love it when the red holiday cups roll out with delicious cups of warm treats.... Here are a couple of suggestions if you want to try something filled with holiday goodness:
Here's how I'd recommend ordering it:
Grande, 5 pump, No Water, Eggnog Chai
Don't laugh, just thank me after you've tried it.
Carmel Brulee Lattee
I'd recommend asking for an extra pump of syrup if
you like sweet stuff or don't care for a strong cup of joe.
That's what I'm drinking in the picture above and
obviously I'm excited- just because it's THAT good!
It has caramel, heavy whipping cream, milk, more carmel,
some syrup stuff and is basically sweetness in a cup.
It's time for month long celebrations as the Christmas season has started! In Christmas seasons past, I've spent 25 days looking forward to a very special day, yet when it finally comes with all of its wonderfulness, something is missing. We eat traditional dishes and candies, open carefully bought and wrapped presents, spend hours playing games, laughing and enjoying the company of friends and family. Yet, when the day is all said and done, I feel empty. I spend all of this time preparing. I decorate and craft, this year I've started with glitter [it's a whole new world!]. I bake and wrap presents. I "do" all the Christmas stuff. I spend so much time doing, that before I know it, Christmas is past and everyone is already moving on January and another new year.
What if I have it all wrong? What if I have spent 25 years (almost 26!) wasting Christmas? What if Christmas is all about preparing our hearts? Christmas is supposed to be about Christ, not buying unnecessary gifts or eating ourselves silly. I know that the focus is supposed to be on Christ, his incredible gift, the miraculous mystery of choosing coming to earth as a human, yet I'm still trying to figure out the details. I'm hoping that this season, I can begin to preparing my heart for Christmas. I hope that I can learn what Christmas is actually about.