MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!
I have to admit something...I was incredibly busy this weekend with several out of town relations arriving and the ensuing chaos. So, I missed one of the posts I was GOING to write and schedule for you all yesterday. Sorry about that. That's the bad news.
The GOOD news (besides the gospel, which I guess will also end up being a part of this post...but not for that reason) is that I'm going to try to kill two birds with one stone and do both subjects at once. Fun, right? *laughs nervously* We'll see how this goes.
Why IS Christmas such a big deal to me? I love this holiday for a lot of reasons. It is by far my favorite holiday. Let me clue you in on what makes me feel this way about the season:
First, this is one of the very few holidays left that still has remnants of the biblical story behind it. Yes, many people have tried very hard to push this remnant out by bringing in other traditions like Santa Clause and the whole push toward satisfying your fleshly wants and desires by appealing to the "it's all about me and what I get" idea. HOWEVER, go to any store and you can probably still find nativity sets for sale around this time of year.
Secondly, I love this season for the decorations. The lights, the trees, the sparkles. *happy sigh* No other holiday that I know has such amazing decor to accompany them. The best thing about the decorations? They all have meanings and messages behind them that point to Christ...or can if you use your imagination a little bit. ;)
Thirdly, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the wonderful TASTES that come around this time of year? Gingerbread cookies, peppermint bark, eggnog lattes...the list could go on but it's making me hungry. You get the picture. Most of my favorite treats and goodies are directly associated with Christmastime.
Fourth, I love getting gifts for people. This is not a "look at me, so good at giving" point either. The act of going out to shop for friends and family at a store (or online...Amazon has saved my bacon several times this year) is something I look forward to every year. The look on their faces when I get them the perfect thing makes my year. :)
Don't get me wrong, I also love getting gifts FROM people. I'm a normal person after all. I've already had some gifts given to me that made my season a whole lot brighter. ;)
Fifth, I love Christmas because of the music. I could elaborate on this point, but you already had a whole post about Christmas music...so I'll just leave it at that. ;)
Sixth, and lastly, Christmas seems to bring out the best or worst in people. This is kind of a mixed blessing of the holiday, and the part I love is (obviously) the fact that it can bring out the best in people. To see people going out of their way to help those in need, or just make someone's day with little things like smiles and a handshake or word of encouragement. It inspires me, as well as many other people I'm sure. So if you were one of those people who gave any kind of helping hand to others this Christmas, GOOD FOR YOU! You remind us that God is not done with this world yet.
Believe me, I have plenty more reasons why I love Christmas so much, but I'm sure you have better things to do since today IS Christmas after all, so I'll keep this post short by moving on to a few family traditions. ;)
Next, let me give you a few Eddy family traditions that have been going on in my life for as long as I can remember:
~ Gifts / Stockings ~
We give gifts on Christmas. Christmas Eve, (usually) we have my mom's side over for a party, and Christmas Day, we do our own family gifts. Mom and Dad get stuff for us kids, us kids fill our parents' stockings. (Thanksgiving our family does a sibling gift exchange where we all draw names out of a hat and buy that sibling a gift...hence no gifts for siblings at Christmas.) We do it that way because there are twelve people in our family (13 if you count my oldest sister's husband) so if we all got each other A gift...I'm not even taking into consideration the fact that there would probably end up more than one gift per kid...that would make *insert mathematical moment while I figure this out* 169 gifts. So we don't. Makes sense, right?
This "tradition" was started by my dad. About the time November rolls around, he'll begin sneaking in soft Christmas music, a playlist made of his favorite Christmas music, on our family speaker in the living room. Little by little, he incorporates it more and more into our background noise and then at about Thanksgiving Day its become an official part of our lives. By that time, I've basically had the songs and artists memorized and could tell you who was singing what on any of the given 50-100 songs. :)
Now you know where I got that part of myself from. Thanks, Dad. ;)
~ The Advent Calendar ~
If I remember correctly, my grandma handmade our advent calendar that we bring out every year and put together as we count down the days until Christmas.
The calendar is made of cross-stitched holiday picture squares (a sleigh, a bell, a candle, etc.) and each day, a child gets to choose a picture and snap it onto the calendar. December 1st is the start, and it begins with the youngest child, up through the oldest that wants to do it (usually we stop at around age 13 or 14 and just let the little kids do it more often). It's always fun to see which picture ends up landing on Christmas (often the bell or candle) and who ends up getting to choose for that coveted day. ;)
~ The Manger / Christmas Tree ~
Depending on the year, our family will sometimes get a Christmas tree to decorate. On the other years when for some reason we aren't able to get a tree, whether because we just didn't have time or for other reasons (for example, the Christmas tree farm we used to go to had a disease and all their trees, or at least most of them, died or looked really bad) we have a manger we put our gifts around with a baby Jesus doll laying inside wrapped in a dish towel. So maybe not the most realistic picture of the nativity night, but hey, its the best we could do without a real baby Jesus.