The Heldt kids on Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas, friends!
Things have been quiet here on the blog front lately, as the past couple of weeks have found me busy shopping, decorating, baking, cooking, and wrapping gifts, all in preparation for Christmas.
It was actually a great joy getting things ready this year--I find that I have a much greater appreciation for Christmas in general, being Catholic and thus seeing it in the greater liturgical context.
The kids of course love it too. My oldest even told me as she was climbing into bed on Christmas night, "Our Christmases just keep getting better and better!"
One of my goals the past couple of years has been to make the celebration and feasting so very special that the day and meaning itself is not eclipsed by gifts. And I think it's working well. In conjunction with this I've also become more intentional about gift-buying. Each of our kids receives one primary gift from us, something we know they've been wanting or that they will really enjoy, and then we get them some smaller and group gifts too. This year the big gifts were scooters for my sons, and special dolls for my daughters (from Baby Alive to Laura Ingalls). Stockings contained chocolate and holy cards, as well as jewelry for church.
Up until last year we'd always travelled for Christmas, so we are still carving out our own family traditions. Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve (yes we do get all dressed up, all nine of us, and trek to church in the dead of night), sleeping in and eating a yummy breakfast on Christmas morning, lighting our tree and placing the star on top, reading the Christmas narrative from the Bible, singing Christmas songs, opening gifts, and enjoying a huge dinner of ham and all the trimmings. And my parents live in Colorado now so we were able to share Christmas with them here for the first time. So special!
Now I didn't manage to get Christmas cards sent out this year (sad!), and I still have two gingerbread house kits on the counter that my kids never made (craft fail!), so clearly I don't have this thing quite mastered yet. But we have had a lovely Christmas celebrating Jesus' birth amidst family and friends. And I hope you have, too!