1. Christmas Cards
We hang friends Christmas cards in our dining room. I still haven't taken them down because I love looking at all my friends. It feels like a virtual party. Also, I leave them up so there's a place to hang the one or two late cards that arrive each February. I may admire those of you who send yours like clock work on Dec. 1 each year, but I reserve a special place in my heart for those who send Christmas cards late.
2. The Christmas Story --especially when acted out by small children in a Christmas pageant. We participated in two pageants this year. And the first pageant really changed my heart. The real baby Jesus cried and Mary's (Lizzy's) head scarf kept falling off but these things just made the story feel more real. I left truly wanting to celebrate.
3. Christmas decorations The most important being a lighted tree in a dark room, which is even nicer when you have a Grandma to tell you stories.
I always trim a lot of branches off my tree so the ornaments can hang better. This year I used the trimmed branches to make this garland. I added red berries and other greenery from my yard. Yes, I impress myself.
4. Music As I decorated the tree Lizzy got out the hymn book and started playing Christmas carols. Every day I got to hear Christmas music when the girls practiced piano. Their piano recital, which was held at our house, turned into a real party. After the planned program some of the kids went home and got their other instruments. In addition to the piano we heard: cello, clarinet, trumpet and saxaphone. In this photo a father and daughter are playing Pachelbel Canon.
For the last three years, we have gone caroling with our good friends Gary and Joan. Often we sing at a house and then half of the family joins us until it feels like the whole neighborhood is singing with us. Every year, someone cries when we sing to them and not because our singing is so bad. But because it has been too long since someone sang to them.
5. Homemade Gifts At some point, I decided I needed less fuss in my life and I should give up on homemade gifts. I've discovered that while it is much more practical and affordable to buy gifts rather than make them, it is not more fun. This year I had a change of heart, and we made a lot of Christmas gifts. Above is an Elephant towel Lizzy made for Will because he says he's mommy's little elephant.
Lizzy also tie-dyed socks for her friends at school.
Zoey made this button necklace for her teacher.
Zoey also decorated this piggy bank for John. And now we are busily working on birthday gifts for John but they are top secret so you will have to check this blog sometime after his birthday, Feb. 18th. So assuming I continue to follow Ruth-standard time I should get around to blogging about it by... say... next Christmas.