Smiling is my favorite, and so is Christmas.
Oh, heavens. I adore Christmas.
Yes, I know, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by Christmas, and all the things we think we should be doing, or that everyone else is doing. Well, stop. Stop, and think about what works for you, and yours, and ignore the rest. Seriously, I ignore a lot, which is why I’m often pretty darn happy.
For our little family, Christmas is the time I really decorate. What that means is simply, there’s a tree, stockings, some knick knacks, the lights on outside, and garlands. So, by some standards, it’s not a whole lot, but for our family, it’s just right. That’s the balance we all have to discover for ourselves. The important thing isn’t what other people think, or want, dictate, or do, it’s the people you live with and yourself that truly matter.
So we decorate. My daughters love to help. They get so excited, and they’ve gotten more, and more involved as they’ve grown up and found ways to make their mark on our home. I’m happy to watch their creativity let loose.
Christmas is also when we read Christmas stories all month long. I started this many years ago when they were tiny babes. At that time I had only collected a few books, so we did the 12 days of Christmas books. Now, I have so many, we can do a full-on 24 days of Christmas books, and then some. We love stories, and I’m a sucker for a well-written and illustrated, children’s picture book. I love wrapping up each book, and letting the girls take turns picking one to unwrap. There’s something magical about the mystery of which title we’ll snuggle with, to read that evening.
Of course, with December our Elfie Star returns to our home from the North Pole. We received him from my lovely friend in 2011, before Elf on the Shelf became a full-on crazy thing. Our elf isn’t a mischief, or mess maker. His purpose is to observe the goings on in our home, and set an example for being good. In fact, one year Elfie Star saved Santa by delivering a tiny note to the girls to let them know that one of their Santa gifts would arrive later than Christmas, due to production issues, and that Elfie Star was granted a special trip to deliver the late gifts. Ever since then, our daughters share their appreciation, and thoughts, by corresponding with Elfie Star via tiny notes. It’s darling.
December also brings our 4th annual Kid Christmas PJ and White Elephant Party. My daughters love it. I began it after my daughters asked me why they couldn’t have a similar gathering when I created a lovely Christmas dessert night for my book group. I’m a big “why not?” kind of a girl, so their festive evening was born. We have their friends come dressed in pjs, we have treats, snacks, crafts, a Christmas themed movie, and goodie bags. The kids seem to love it, and it’s two hours the parents can have to themselves.
Speaking of pjs – do you open brand new Christmas pajamas on Christmas eve? We do, and then we all hop in the car with hot cocoa, and drive around the lovely, lit up neighborhoods listening to Christmas music. When we get home, we sprinkle reindeer food on the front lawn, leave snacks for Santa, read the story about Christ’s birth, and sing some carols before we ship the kids off the the land of sugar plums, and fairies.
I’ve also enjoyed taking the girls to see the San Francisco Nutcracker, the Sacramento Nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairy Tea, and ice skating in Folsom, and the Embarcadero at the outdoor ice rinks. Our family has also enjoyed the darling Polar Express in Old Sacramento. If you haven’t been, put it on your list.
Sometimes I wish we could keep Christmas decor up all year long, there’s something about the twinkle lights that feel me with such warmth and peace.
What about you, what do you do with your family to celebrate Christmas?