Sunday, February 8, 2009

Christmas Highlights

A perk of being a stay-at-home mom is the lack of firm deadlines. As you may have noticed, I've become pretty comfortable with letting things slide; such as posting about Christmas in February. But Christmas is different. You can't procrastinate Christmas gifts. Actually you can, I do almost every year. But it doesn't work very well in fact the results can be traumatic. This is why the week after Thanksgiving I found myself positively dreading Christmas. I just didn't feel like all the stress and excess. So I sat down and wrote a list of what I love about Christmas and I'm not sure how I did it but I stuck to the list and we had a very, merry Christmas. Below is this list illustrated with photos.

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.

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kellie said...

Posting late is similar to late Christmas cards or birthday presents it makes the feelings last longer. Thanks so much, you made my morning brighter. Hope all is well in Sunny San Diego.

Linn said...

I love the Mitchell family! And someday I will be more like them. I LOVE this post!

Mollie said...

It looks like you had good reason to neglect your blog - you were too busy living and enjoying life to write about it! It was fun hearing about everything.

Hammy said...

Fun to see an update. I completely agree with all your Christmas loves. Especially the lit tree in a dark room, the caroling, and leaving the cards up well past Christmas.

We miss you all.

Brandan and Becky said...

I agree with your list whole-heartedly and would add one more: food. Nutritionists around the world will cringe when I say that well-made, thoughtful food is an expression of love. Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Birthday to John!

Mitchell Family said...

Good to hear from all of you. I was so behind on blogging and felt like, why bother no one wants to hear about Christmas in February. So thanks for your positive comments. Yes, the list is a bit incomplete. In addition to food, I would add how much my kids LOVE Christmas.

TX Girl said...

Y'all had quite the holiday celebration.

I'm extremely impressed with your garland. Seriously- from your yard? How is that possible?

I wish I could take your approach to Christmas cards. I tried leaving my collection up, but I only made it to the middle of January. Maybe next year I'll send you a Valentine's Card.

Your mom is hands down the best storyteller.

denebug said...

This is a wonderful post. At least you did everything this year--I dropped Christmas cards because it was too much to do with the stress of traveling.
I love the gifts--especially the elephant towel and the button necklace.

Tim said...

Hi Ruth,
I love your front door. And Lizzie is so tall. I'm leaving a comment because I can't find your email address. We're going to San Diego (Chula Vista) to visit my sister for spring break the week of April 5th and wondered if you will be around for a visit some time that week...I know it's far in advance and you might not know your schedule, but if you could squeeze us in somewhere we would love to see you all. My email is still