Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Wonderful Christmas-Time

Early in December when we had our week of stay-cation, one thing we did was get down all the nativity scenes. Two are toy sets that Susannah could hardly wait to get her hands on and both she and Sylvia have loved playing with them this month. Another set is a ceramic set that I put out of little fingers' reach on top of the piano, and then we also have this set that is plastic. I remember how special it was to arrange and re-arrange and pretend with my mom's manger scene, so I made sure to put this set where little people could do the same. I did set a boundary that the pieces had to stay on the table, but they were free to play and arrange to their hearts content. They have and have enjoyed it. :)

Wanting to teach our children what Christmas is all about, we told or read many Bible stories surrounding Jesus' birth for bedtime stories. Sometimes telling them without a book or Bible, and other times we would take a few days and go through different of their Childrens Bibles. They are both very much aware that Christmas is Jesus' birthday.  It didn't stop Susannah from knowing that Christmas also meant presents, though. ;-)

On Tuesday before Christmas the girls and I made a birthday cake for Jesus. Susannah then asked several times if the "real Jesus" and Mary, Joseph and the angel were coming to our house for His birthday. :-)  I had to do some fast thinking to figure out how to answer her that Jesus is in Heaven at the right hand of God, and Mary and Joseph lived a loooong time ago and are not alive now; BUT that when we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins and give us a new heart, He then lives in our hearts.  I don't know how much of it made sense to her, probably more than I think, but it was the answer I had.

This year I decided that I wanted to make stockings for our family. After seeing stockings made from thrifted sweaters, I wanted to do it, too. Unique and fun. Probably not as inexpensive as regular stockings from WalMart (our closest Goodwill is NOT cheap!), but lots more character! In November we purchased the sweaters and I started turning them into stockings last week. It took a little longer to get the hang of it (and to remember to turn the sweater INSIDE-OUT before tracing and cutting!!!), but by the 4th stocking I was moving right along. I finished sewing the hanging loops on them the afternoon of Christmas Eve and Susannah helped me hang them up. She was SO excited!! I was pretty excited, too, and couldn't wait to put our goodies in them after they went to bed. (I didn't grow up with stockings and always wanted Christmas stockings. Maybe that's why it's very exciting for me to do this for our girls.)

Daniel and I were both up late and the girls were up early. :-)  Susannah could barely contain her excitement over knowing there were things in her stocking!!  As soon as Daniel and I were up and had our bearings about us, we let them dig into their stockings. They had so much fun! We put very practical but fun things in them: a new toothbrush (Susannah got a new tube of toothpaste, too), a miniature box of raisins, a baggie with Cheerios and Goldfish, and an orange. They dug right into the munchies as I knew they would and that bought me a little more time to finish putting together our simple but yummy breakfast.

I had made Monkey Bread the night before so all I had to do was pull it out of the fridge, let it rise a bit and stick it in the oven (it was a new recipe, here, and I highly recommend it!). We also had bacon and eggs; the bacon was already baked (leftover from a family get-together on Saturday) and all I had to do was fry up some eggs. It was all so yummy! The Monkey Bread and bacon are special treats for us, which fit with our "special food for Christmas Day" tradition. While we waited for the eggs and bacon to finish, we read the Christmas Story as a family, sitting around the table. That was special and we were reminded again of why the day was so special.

After breakfast we opened our wrapped gifts. The girls went first and it is always fun to watch them. We kept our gifts very simple this year, but some were very exciting. Sylvia got some story books that I had been on the look-out for and found either at our MOPS swap or the thrift store, and a new notebook to draw in and a sheet of ladybug stickers. Susannah had been asking for a few specific things that we gave her. Glitter markers were at the top of her list and she got those with a new notebook. Nail polish so we could paint ladybugs on her nails was also very high on the list, and her wish was granted. :-)  She loves looking at my jewelry so I found the perfect necklace for her: a ladybug on a simple chain. We saved that gift for last and it was her special gift. It was sweet to watch Daniel helping her open the box and then help her put it on. I envisioned what they might look like in 10-ish-plus years when perhaps she might receive a pearl necklace, or diamond earrings, or whatever. *sniff*

Haha, Daniel and I were pretty practical. :-)  I gave him some tools including a new splitting maul, he gave me a cheese slicer (a very nice one!), 2 movies for date-nights and ... a freestanding toilet-roll holder for our master bathroom. I will really enjoy not having the TP on the bathroom counter anymore.

After we opened gifts we relaxed as a family until lunch. Lunch was more of our traditional, special foods. Oh, and we use paper plates for all meals to maximize our time of relaxing and being together! A shrimp-ring, summer sausage, Lebanon Bologna, cheese and crackers were the main course along with the oranges that were in the stockings. For dessert we had Jesus' birthday cake!!

We relaxed some more, enjoying our family time together. Before nap-time I sneaked the girls' dolls upstairs while Daniel and the girls went to their room to wait for one more special gift (that we didn't wrap). A while ago I got this wooden cradle (also from our MOPS swap) and had been keeping it for a special occasion. When the sewing bug bit this fall after the canning and garden were done, I started off with sewing cloth diapers for their dolls. After I made Susannah's dress I used the leftovers to make her doll a matching dress. Sylvia got a blanket for her doll since she didn't have one.  I got both dolls fixed up in their new things and brought them in the cradle to the girls' room.

The girls love the cradle and Sylvia knows which pink doll blankie is hers. Dear Susannah had done some digging around in my sewing corner Christmas Eve morning and found the doll dress, so it wasn't the surprise it was meant to be, but she was still happy to finally have it on her Baby! Both girls mothered their babies a lot today. :-)

Daniel's parents came over and joined us for a simple dinner and it was nice to visit and relax with them as we wound down the evening. This morning Daniel headed back to work and the girls and I had a good day getting back into normal routines and doing housework. Susannah asked this morning if it is still Christmas. I told her that it is still Christmas-time. In fact, we had more of Jesus' birthday cake for dessert tonight.

While Christmas Day is now behind us, we are still listening to Christmas music and enjoying Christmas-time. Merry Christmas to all of you!!


David W. Fisher said... [Reply to comment]

What a beautiful, peaceful Christmas! I think the traditions you're establishing are wonderful. :)

Amanda said... [Reply to comment]

So lovely. It seems like you may have had a peaceful Christmas Day to share with your family!