The older I get, the faster Christmas comes. If I'm not careful, it can turn into an annual race to see if I can get my gift and grocery shopping done before the December 24th deadline.
I have learned to let go, though. To lower my own expectations and encourage my children to lower theirs. After all, creating the perfect Christmas is tricky.
I relish, for instance, the ritual of mailing almost a hundred Christmas cards every year. This year I mailed seven, photo not included. And some of the cards I received are still in a pile instead of hanging on my front door-a tradition my mother held that I have carried on to keep her close.
We usually have a Christmas Eve open house but decided against it since we haven' t lived in Virginia long. We had a talent show instead, where the Captain and I even gave an impromptu performance of "I've Got You Babe". And, to the amazement of all, it was my idea. (I need all the fun points I can get.)
I didn't get everything on the kids' lists. In fact, I had to whisper in Silas' ear this morning before the present rush that there was not one bucket of military men available in the whole county. I couldn't find the right size boots for Mary and I forgot to get an extra large bag of Craisins for Emma's stocking.
I can blame this imperfect Christmas on having ten children--that excuse is good for a lot of things. Or I can blame the toothache that sent me to the dentist the day before Christmas Eve--there's a root canal in my future (grim news, though it did make me glad we canceled the party).
But if it weren't for the above reasons, it would be something else. Truth is, I have yet to find the perfect Christmas.
The year my mother died, that Christmasy feeling seemed to elude me, and each time Faith Hill's "Where Are You, Christmas?" came on the radio, I had to make a quick exit. Some years are like that.
But I have found the little things can also sabotage the perfect Christmas, if you let them. We moms can really get irritated over not having the perfect table, immaculate house, or just the right gift. We can always find something.
Christmas is first, of course, a celebration centered on the birth of the Savior followed by the traditions that steep us in the season. At the Sims' house that means ham on Christmas Eve and bean soup on Christmas day; pajama clad kids for 24 hours; Bethany singing O Holy Night on Christmas Eve; no present rush until at least 6:00 am.
The traditions continue, with new ones born every year. And through the years, I have learned that Christmas doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be embraced--imperfections and all.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6a
Our Christmas Eve table--plastic
cups and all!