Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Wishing you a beautiful Christmas surrounded by the love of family and friends.
We are having an intentionally low-key Christmas - we're staying home, scaling back presents, and ordering in food to eat. I made the decision to slow down this holiday, and I admit it was a wonderful idea.
I was so glad not to find myself on Christmas Eve at Toys 'R Us with a six week old baby, throwing myself across the last plastic toy play kitchen in the store (like last year!) Or staying up until 5 am wrapping presents. Or fighting holiday crowds at an airport. Or slaving over a hot stove for five hours (okay, let's get real - that's never happened! Haha!)
The only outing we did yesterday was take the girls to the beach to watch the sunset. That's so much better than entering a riot scene in search of a toy kitchen! ;-)
Here's Daisy waiting for Santa. I can't tell if she's playing guard dog or hoping Santa brings her a bone. She's been such a good girl lately. She definitely deserves a treat. Ha!
We baked chocolate chip cookies last night for Santa. I have pictures (on my camera still) - all three girls were so excited to make them. And then they ate half of them right before bed. Which meant they were WIRED on sugar at bedtime. And then I tried to read them Twas The Night Before Christmas and a few other Christmas books, and Violet was basically jumping on the ceiling. No one was asleep before midnight - so needless to say, Santa came in the very wee hours to our house. Haha.
This is the first year in many that Mr. M and I haven't stayed up all night wrapping presents. We were amazingly way ahead of schedule this year and had everything wrapped about two days before Christmas! We turned our guest room into a "staging area" - and just locked the door so the girls couldn't peek. It took so much stress off, and made us a lot happier Santas. Although, somehow it doesn't quite feel like Christmas unless Mr. M is cursing profanities at a some assembly required dollhouse. I guess there's always room for new traditions. ;-)
This year I am just so grateful for my family - for my little family here, and for my extended family and amazing friends. This year has been full of so many hardships, pain, and loss. The world is a broken place, and as much as we try to make it whole...it never will be.
This Christmas, I am missing the many people I know who have passed away. This past year, my stepdad Eric died in April at age 44 of colon cancer. I think about how terrible it was for my little brother, Robbie, to lose his dad two days after his seventeenth birthday. Eric loved Christmas, and never missed a Midnight Mass. I have fond memories of going to St. Thomas with him and then driving around and looking at Christmas lights afterwards. It is unbelievable to me that he was alive last Christmas and now he's not.
It goes without saying that the children from Sandy Hook Elementary are on our minds, and their families are held close in our hearts this Christmas. I always think about Vivian and Annemarie at Christmas, and wish they were here. Their stockings hang on the fireplace between Paprika and Ginger's (our stockings are in order from oldest to youngest) - and sometimes it makes me so sad that their stockings are empty - but I just can't bear to not hang them. They are still very much part of our family, so it's just another way that we remember them.
Whatever you religious beliefs, it seems that one thing everyone can agree on is that Christmas is a time when people come together and we're reminded of how connected we all are. It's a time of year when we pause to reflect on what family and community mean to us. The presents are really a very small part of it - and once you disconnect yourself from advertising - the commercialism of the season falls away very quickly.
I am ever so grateful for another year of life - a year when I've been able to grow so much spiritually - and a year when I've been able to experience so much of this human existence. Although the world is full of so much pain and darkness, there is also an abundance of light and love.
I hope that you have the Merriest Christmas yet - and know how much you are loved and valued for just being yourself, exactly as you are. I plan on spending today being present with those around me and focusing on love, laughter, and probably too much food!
Merry Merry Merry Christmas!
Posted by Erika at 7:00 AM