Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Yes, it's December 26th - not December 25th, because I can't really see me sitting down and typing anything on actual Christmas Day, seriously. However! - it's the day after Christmas and, as always, a day of reflection for me. Because I had the same thought last year, I was able to go back and read my post from December 27, 2014.
Some lessons take longer to learn.
I thought maybe folks would get weary of receiving the same gift year after year, so I planned to switch it up a bit and do candied nuts instead of the blessing bags. I purchased the supplies and made a couple batches (they turned out really good by-the-way). Then I realized that many people make the same wonderful cookies and candy year after year as gifts and I doubt that anyone gets weary of receiving those!
So then it was back to the Blessing Bags. It's my "thing" - it includes aspects of my passions that I love to share and enjoy creating. Needless to say, I wasn't prepared in advance like I needed to be to create as many bags as I ended up wanting to give. When I went to purchase similar bags and supplies they were no where to be found. I improvised a bit and it turned out, but it was still frustrating to be working under pressure.
One advancement in this year's project was baking some of the bread myself -
We did have a wonderful Christmas:
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind for the coming year(s):
I offered the idea for drawing names - it was rather quickly shot down, gently but assertively. I think they liked the idea of everyone contributing to stockings next year though!
Games are a very big thing and we really, really enjoy them. According to Facebook, there are a couple of fun group games that have been making the rounds which we have not ever done.
Think on these things...
A running "wish-list" for the family might be a good thing as long as we all keep in mind that a lot can change over the course of a year, or a month, or even a week. I.E. At the end of the day, Mandie experienced an unfortunate accident, or rather her cell phone did, and I'm certain she is now thinking how great it would be to have a new phone for Christmas past.
Appetizers in lieu of a full-blown meal is an excellent idea - thank you very much. Better still would be to have everyone bring their own favorite appetizer to share. Make a plan ahead of time so there are no duplicates.
Cards are still a good idea. I bought them. I just didn't send them.
Who needs gift wrap if you have brown paper grocery bags?!
No meatballs - dear hubby and I agree on this matter 100%.
Leave the leaf in the dining room table for whatever activities randomly seem appealing.
Gifts do not have to be expensive to be appreciated.
I will pray for the power of observation so I can perhaps better tailor gifts to the recipients. I still should never buy clothes for my girls unless they have specifically picked out the said items - I think I just got lucky with Josh this year.
The Christmas tree must be in the family room by Christmas Eve - it just isn't the same without it.
I am not a bright red and green, sparkling, shimmering kind-a-gal, not even close. I love nature year round. A couple years ago when I started the process of gradually changing over the decorations there was definitely a "nature" theme; pine cones, birds, everything birds actually, bells, berries - all subdued and "woodsy". That transition continued this year with the space above the kitchen cabinets and it was so easy to do! Every where I went looking for just one little thing to help create the sense of nature at Christmas there was something that awaited a new home - a bird house, a nest, a plate with a nature scene, snowmen with birds sitting upon their hats...
As I put the decorations away this year, I will pass on and bless someone else with those that sparkle and shine.
A certain sister-in-law and BFF blesses me with wonderful gifts because she knows me so well and has such a great eye for little treasures. I am so grateful for her thoughtfulness!
We decided in October that we would no longer do our annual Christmas Boxes. My mom started this tradition long ago - the women in our family and a small circle of friends came together once a year around Thanksgiving, and each contributed a hand-crafted item for each of the others. We shared a meal and came away with a box full of wonderful things to decorate our homes and our Christmases for years. But as we all get older we're about out of ideas, energy and enthusiasm for the boxes. It will always be a fond memory and maybe the next generation will take up the reins at some point.
I don't think we made it to the Christmas Eve services at our new church last year because I'm pretty sure I would have remembered it. We certainly did this year. Wow, just wow. Words can't even describe how wonderful it was...
If I ever wonder - no, we did not have a white Christmas. We had a rainy Christmas, unseasonably warm.
And one more interesting and somewhat unrelated but important discovery and lesson learned? Hot flashes directly correlate to the amount of sugar consumed for this menopausal mama. Back to the plan baby.