Dec 21, 2009

ICMT Mondays - The "perfect" Christmas

I have been remiss. No more than 2 blogs in the last week. Oh the humanity!

Well, Merry Christmas, if I haven't said it before. I am getting excited! Especially now that the overwhelming chaos that is preparing for Christmas is almost done. I have been reading blogs and have found many worth mentioning.
Of course, if you missed my Christmas home tour, the other day, please go visit!
My friend, Elle Bee over at Kitchen with Kids, had a lovely post
Kelly at Speaking from the Crib had me crying this afternoon as well.
I saw a delightful craft idea from Heidi over at 504 Main. Which I would make today, if I wasn't so lazy unprepared.

So, today I will be telling you something I know nothing about: this is how you create the perfect Christmas...

Put the lights up outside your house.
The best way to do this must include some nagging, much untangling, a small amount of cursing and of course falling off a ladder.  My husband usually does this, after I ask him if he is going to... more than I should.  He has a brilliant system (because he's brilliant).  It makes it happen quickly and he rarely falls off the ladder or roof.

Get the tree. 
I always get this image of the most idyllic setting.  Happy smiling children, happy smiling parents, weather that is cold, but not unpleasant.  We all load up into the family car, go to the Christmas tree farm, walk through the trees with hot cocoa and hot apple cider in your hands, steam rising from the cups. Finding the perfect tree, cut it down and load it up on the roof of your car.  Meanwhile listening to Christmas music and singing along. Get the tree home, hang up the lights, hang up the ornaments, happy, shiny people holding hands.

Never in my life has anything like this happened. First of all, we don't really live in a place where Christmas trees grow.  I hear people around here say they cut their own tree, but I am fairly certain they lie.  Additionally, we usually get the tree when my husband has time, as he usually spends 4 hours of daylight putting up the Christmas lights on the weekend, so he doesn't have much in the way of weekends.  Christmas tree shopping the last few years has happened after dinner.  In the dark. At a Christmas tree lot.  Where there was an interesting mix of people, including an 8 year old who was smoking, I am fairly certain (though I no longer wonder where the "Carneys" (carnival people) go during the winter).

The rest of the night consists of hunting through the lot for a "normal" tree (read: not a freak tree).  Interspersed through this hunt is my husband and I intermittently shouting at our children who feel the need to run around like crazy monkey children, bothering people around them and occasionally "clothes lining" themselves on the wire used to keep the trees up.  Finally we find a tree, buy it and then my husband begins the arduous task of tying it to the roof of our CR-V, while the kids and I sit inside the car listening to Christmas music, but mostly they scream.

When we get the tree home, I put the lights on... after we wrestle our tree, which has apparently gone into shock based on the absurd amount of needles on the ground, into the stand, water it, and vacuum up the needles. By this point the kids have been in bed for an hour and we have a lovely tree with no ornaments, but lights.

Decorate the tree and the rest of the house.
This usually involves me yelling "don't touch that", "look, you broke it", "put it down, PUT IT DOWN" at my poor children, who JUST want to help.  The exhaustion sets in as I randomly start throwing Christmas decorations where ever they seem to fit.  At this point I realize that I am LITERALLY re-decorating my home for Christmas, and put all of my normal picture frames and such away until January.

Don't forget the gifts!
I spend time thinking and planning all of the handmade gifts I will make this year, and then go out and buy gifts for my friends and family. This last week I made 24 dozen cookies and candies and divided them among the throngs of people we give such things to.  I am not kidding.  24 dozen.  It is almost funny.  But not funny ha ha.

Finally spend 4 hours wrapping gifts in expensive wrapping paper that exists to be torn and thrown away.  I can almost understand why my grandma saved wrapping paper.  Almost.

Finally, add in all of the extra events, Christmas parties and special visits.
Just go, and enjoy all of the extra food, happy chaos and entertaining you can.  It makes the holidays a little more stressful special.

Here are my daughter (hmmm, with all the boys) and son at their class parties.

There! You have the perfect Christmas!  I am sure you can make it however you want!

I actually did make 24 dozen cookies and candies over the last couple weeks.  I also went to 2 class parties, a playdate after school, a party for my work, one for my Bible study and one for my husband's work.  I wrote our annual Christmas letter and printed around 70 envelopes and signed, stuffed and stamped them. My parents came and we had a nice, relaxing afternoon, and celebrated Christmas with them.

Finally, last night I was asked to share a message at our city's Gospel Mission (which is like a Rescue Mission).  When I got there (30 minutes early), I spent some time chatting with homeless people and just as the church service was starting was informed that I was supposed to LEAD SINGING TOO!
I actually thought they were joking.  But no.  Not joking.  It went really well.  I can sing, but am no professional singer.  So, I am standing a little bit away from the lectern, and the microphone, singing away, when one of the men stand up and asks me to get a little closer to the microphone, "we like your voice". Says he.

I smile and scoot a little closer.  They are choosing the hymns, so someone chooses O Holy Night.  The only way my voice sounds nice on a song like that is if I sing LOUD.  So, here I go, vibrato and all, singing away like an opera singer (bahaha) when I suddenly realize that NO ONE ELSE IS SINGING.  They were all just listening.

When the song finished, I got a standing ovation.  I tell you, God himself was singing through me, it was unreal that I could hit some of those notes.  It is always a blessing to be able to share with people who need hope more than anyone else during this season of family and materialism.

I still had to laugh at the end though, because God was smiling (and perhaps laughing) at me as I realized that I was leading a hymn sing. (The irony: I choose contemporary worship and have since I was 12.  I don't enjoy singing hymns for a number of reasons : they are difficult to sing, they make me cry (hauntingly beautiful lyrics), and because I don't know all of the words, I find myself focused more on singing the right words and less on worshiping God.)

Sorry it's been so long... and that this post was so long! :) Have a great day!

Just me, AJ


  1. He is so good to help us, especially when we know we can't do it without Him! That is so awesome!
    Great post, i have missed u so:)

  2. There is just too much going on this time of year...can't we spread it out!? Your tree experience souds like my former tree experiences - since the time I was little. For the last three years we just go to the local grocery store and say - "that one."

  3. shiny happy people holding OMG, thanks, now I'll be singing that all day! lol!

    An 8 yr old smoking? OMG.!

    great tree!

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Loved your post! It might not all be perfect but there are moments of perfection interspersed here and there :D and that is why we keep going back for more.

    I am in awe of you singing O Holy Night solo and unprepared. No mean feat.

    And sure I'll follow you. You seem like my kind of girl. Thanks for visiting me and following. I really appreciate it!!


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