It's lovely to be home for the holidays. =) Ok, well, sort of. We did got to my parent's for a few days before Christmas. It was a whirlwind of baking and sledding and tractor riding, of course.
Mom and Dad got the 5 inches of snow that we'd been denied here, and Dad dug out the old Snow Racer and cleaned it off. It took a lot of begging and watching his 6-month-old brother go down with Mommy first, but Seth finally decided to try the whole sledding thing. (The Snow Racer is this really cool sled thingy with a seat in between two skis with a steering wheel attached to a short ski. You can steer between trees and stuff. It's awesome.) So, I got to take both of my tiny boys sledding for the very first time. Seth couldn't get enough after awhile. He went sledding for an hour every day that we were there.
My mom's family always gets together for Christmas Eve, and my mom was in charge this year, since my grandmother is getting a little too feeble to do much hosting these days. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this trip, working on things for the dinner. I also made a ton of cookies to give to our family members. Mom is lucky I can bake. =) I made a lot of rolls in one day. It was nice to be puttering around in the kitchen with Mom and Dad, working together. My parents' rock. Mom also helped me to get things together so Seth could pretend to be a wise man. She looks more and more vindicated for saving everything all the time, unfortunately. =) Sorry, Dad, it's true. And then it was back home to sleep in our own beds on Christmas Eve...
So... how does a non Christmas tree and non gift giving family celebrate Christmas, you ask? Well, we're still learning our way, but this year, it looked like this. We all got up, I made a big, scrumptious breakfast (all Advent candles lit!), and then David lit a fire in the fireplace. Christmas music played while we ate. Seth put the Baby Jesus in his Advent calendar. Then we went in the living room, sat down together, and David read the Christmas story. Seth played his Wise Man game, and then we got out a hymn book and sang Christmas carols together. Seth loves to sing, and he knew a lot of the words to some of the carols. Then we pulled his little table and chairs in front of the fire, and he did a Christmas craft with me. (It was one I'd already done with the 2's Sunday School class we teach, so I just saved some extra stuff for him.)
In the future, I'm sure we'll do more activities, but this was perfect for us this year. I'm thinking of ways to make the Wise Man activity more full in years to come. We will probably pick out gifts for the Baby Jesus in the days before Christmas next year. I'm thinking of explaining to Seth and reading him the verses about giving to the poor in His name, and we'll go through a catalog of things you can give to families in other countries- like lanterns for indigenous missionaries or chickens for a family in Nicaragua. Maybe we'll wrap up pictures of those things, and he can put those next to the baby next year. It's going to be a work in progress, but creating traditions always is.
I consider this Christmas a success because David said that he enjoyed it, and he didn't even miss the presents. Score! =)
The afternoon was spent having an adult's only Christmas dinner with good friends while all the babies and toddlers napped. We reflected on how God had been working with us in the last year. It was very relaxing and pleasant, and Evan was extra good. Our Christmas miracle was that he slept for over 2 hours!
And now its a calm weekend at home, and we're enjoying the time to relax together. Merry Christmas! We hope that this time brings peace and blessings and rest to you as you celebrate His birth!