And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
And, of course, it does.
It means a whole lot more.
Christmas was meant to change the world! We love this time of year, and as we get ready to travel “home” for the holidays (and this blog will go silent for a week or so) we’ll leave you with a short list of our Christmas traditions:
1. Watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” OVER AND OVER. Quote it frequently throughout the month. It doesn’t have to fit in to the conversation, just insert dialogue anywhere.
2. Christmas Eve dinner is a formal occasion. Take the fried chicken out of buckets and put it on platters! When the babies were 4, 2 and new I was overwhelmed with making a perfect holiday meal. Grandma Claudia stepped in to suggest KFC. We all love it, it’s easy and after 8 years-expected by all. I said “yes” then, and told myself it was a one-time-just-for-now treat but it has become our traditional meal! We do enough cooking and prep for Christmas Day, we can take the Eve off without guilt.
3. Open gifts on Christmas Eve (after stuffing yourself with deep-fat-fried poultry) and open the stockings on Christmas morn. This was the way John’s family did it and it took me a few years to adjust but I’ve come around.
4. Daddy’s famous candy cane milkshakes. Kids break up the canes with rolling pins and we enjoy while watching a holiday TV special. Even Sam, who hates mint and insists it burrrnss! my tongue is on fire! loves these.
5. Colored lights on the tree. White is classier, yes. But we aren’t going for sophisticated here. Christmas is about color and magic and squinting your eyes half shut to make the rainbow lights dance! Speaking of the tree the ornaments must meet all of these qualifications: a. handmade b.gifts from friends c.boys yearly ornament gift e. a souvenir from a place we traveled d.have the color red somewhere upon them
6. lots of cinnamon candles, cinnamon potpourri, cinnamon bread, cinnamon rolls…you get the gist of it…
7. Picture cards from Costco-easy and inexpensive so they actually get done. Since it has been 5 years, next time we will include the parents in the photo. Far away friends can stop wondering if John’s in prison and Brenda’s in rehab…
8. New pajamas from Grandma.
9. John and I don’t give each other gifts (the budget is always tight and the children come first) but we fill each others stockings to the brim! And he always buys me lottery tickets because I hate them. And I always win. But I won’t even cash them at the 7-11 because it is tacky and degrading, so John does it for me. And he always tries to convince me to trade my $6 jackpot for 6 more tickets but I won’t. That’s why I win.
10. We put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving because I cannot wait for the color, the music, the chaos to begin. We take it down the day after Christmas because I am sick to death of the color, the music, and the chaos.
11. Nativity sets galore. Playmobil plastic for the kids to shuffle and arrange daily (each year the curt reminder given “just because the baby Jesus is plastic does not mean you can pose him like that“) A myrtle wood antique from Poland. And my favorite, the Willow Tree series by Susan Lordi…completed just this year and placed up very high. Boys are not even allowed to breathe too closely or look too long at it just in case…
12. Reading about His birth by candlelight on Christmas eve.
May each of you have a joyous holiday!