Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Joy

I tried to put this post off another couple of weeks but, in the tradition of my family at Christmas, I just couldn't wait (am I right, Connie?). Yesterday I officially started my Christmas decorating! I've talked before about how sometimes the holidays are hard, and I know many of you can relate to that. Today I'd like to take a step back from infertility for a while and focus on the things I love about the holidays. I haven't forgotten about Thanksgiving - I love it too and can't wait for the celebrations next week. But today I'm in a Christmas mood, so here we go!

My Top Five favorite things about Christmas:

1. The music and movies.
Every year I can't wait to get out my Christmas CDs. A few of my can't-live-without favorites are Elvis Presley (of course), Harry Connick, Jr., and Aaron Neville. Some new favorites include Bebo Norman, Third Day, and Josh Groban. I love Christmas carols, and hearing my old favorites gets me so excited for the season.
You might think my favorite Christmas movies are It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. Nah. My pick, hands down, is The Muppet Christmas Carol. I love that movie! It's funny, sweet, and sentimental, and it stars such great actors as Michael Caine and Kermit the Frog. How can you go wrong? I also enjoy watching Little Women (the one from 1994) and Home Alone 1 & 2 this time of year.

2. The decorations.
Is there anyone who doesn't love Christmas decorations? I love the lights, the ornaments, the nativity scenes, the garland, the candles, all of it! Yesterday I attempted to make a garland for the fireplace mantle for the first time. Normally I just throw some plain green garland up there and go with it. I like to decorate but I get intimidated by plain, prominent, flat surfaces. I never know what to put up on the mantle. I have mantle issues. This post at Nesting Place motivated me to try something new. A trip to Michaels and about 3 hours later my husband and I came up with this:

I'm really happy with it but it did not exactly come naturally to me! Tonight we are putting up our tree and hopefully we will decorate the outside of the house this weekend. When do you decorate for Christmas? This is a bit early for us, but since we will be gone a lot we wanted to have time to enjoy it.

3. The mail.
I have always loved getting mail. I e-mail a lot but I still love sending and receiving snail mail. My Christmas cards are all in a stack, waiting to be addressed and stamped. I try to get them out every year by the first week of December. I absolutely love getting everybody's family photos and updates each year.

4. The time with family and friends.
Of course you guessed I'd say that. For 12 years now Chuck and I have been spending Christmases driving all over Louisiana to see our family and friends. We load up our car with gifts and luggage, leaving just enough room for our two bodies to fit, and away we go! We love our family Christmas celebrations. We have our own traditions on each side of the family: Christmas Eve candlelight service at our old church and Christmas Day at my in-laws', breakfast casserole, homemade Chex mix and lots of other goodies; My family piled up in Mom's living room, the joy on my nephews' faces when we arrive, and tearing into presents!

5. The best gift of all.
I've saved the best for last. The best thing about Christmas is that beautiful and perfect gift from God to all of us, Jesus Christ. Emmanuel, God with us! I hope you're celebrating Him at Christmas and all year long!

Happy Holidays!


Connie said...

Oh, how I love Jesus and this post! ;) I was just thinking the other day about our precious Mom and how things were always so hard and so tight. I loved how excited Mom would get to give us the few little things she's picked up for us and how she never could wait until Christmas day for us to open them. Okay...maybe that was my fault for begging to open them early, but she always caved!

I begged my boys to watch Muppet Christmas Carol with me last year. I ended up making them sit and watch it with me. I laughed soooo hard throught the whole thing and they just looked at me like I was a freak show! They WILL watch it again and they will LOVE it! How can you not?! And you know I've had my tree up since mid October! I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!! BTW, the garland is BEAUTIFUL. Stacey Stewart! ;)

Andi said...

Connie, I love this line: "Oh, how I love Jesus and this post"! I'm so going to start saying that, "Oh, how I love Jesus and . . . (insert any number of the fabulous people/places/things I love).

I usually put my Christmas decorations up the weekend of Thanksgiving and they MUST come down immediately following New Year's.

Oh, how I love Jesus and Fridays!

Alicia said...

I love Christmas but my Husband really loves Christmas. It was snowing here the other day and because of the snow the "rule book" says it's now officially o.k. to start playing Elvis Christmas.

Sunny said...

This was fun post! I think you did super on your garland. I saw that post on Nester and just sighed. I have no fireplace thus I have no mantle. I'm not a garland all over the place kinda girl so I'm not even gonna try. I have enough projects on my list to last me now until Jesus comes back! My family always does breakfast cassarole!!!!!!! That's funny. love that stuff!Ever make it with Jimmy Dean's maple sausage? Oh it adds the best flavor. Try it!

twondra said...

I love this post! You write so well! Thanks for sharing!!

Lauren said...

Beautiful garland/mantle piece! I too, love Jesus and Christmas! I especially enjoy Christmas decorations - my mom kind of goes all out and even has a full-sized tree in every room in her house. I'm going to have to pare down this year and kind of start over, since after much (MUCH) prayer and deliberation we have decided not to "invite Santa to our house." My husband has a Christmas birthday, and his grandmother has given him a Santa figurine or similar decor every year for his birthday. So we've got a few! Also, thanks for the reminder that I need to get on the stick about our Christmas cards for this year! ;o)

Amy said...

What a lovely post. I can remember a time when Christmas was a good time of year. I am hoping that it will not be much longer and I will be able to enjoy the holiday season again.

You post brings tears as I think about my family, and how much I miss my mother who was my Christmas spirit. She loved doing for her children and grandchildren. My dad was a couch potatoe, but loved the season and the reasopn as much as my mom. I needed a good cry, but even more I needed to be reminded that it is not about us, it is about the abundant life that Jesus offered by coming into the world.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!
for blessing my soul.


andrea_jennine said...

Lovely! I saw the same post at the Nesting Place, and I'm thinking about making a garland for the top of my piano. We put our Christmas decorations up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I'm so excited to decorate a HOUSE this year, instead of an apartment.

Connie said...

Oh, how I love Jesus and mushrooms and Andi! hee, hee:)

Anonymous said...

There are loads of great things about Christmas to look forward to, the important thing is not to dwell on the things that make us sad.

Amy said...

What a fun post! My husband's favorite Christmas movie is also A Muppet Christmas Carol. We just watched it Saturday night while we were decorating our tree. We love to sing "There's Only One More Sleep 'Til Christmas."
And Chex Mix, too....mmmmmmm, love the stuff. Homemade, not the store bought. It will do in a pinch, but it isn't the same as homemade.