HO! HO! HO! and Happy Birthday

I have possibly mentioned, once or twice, that I am a fan of the Christmas season.  I love everything about every second of it. I acquire and abandon new "traditions" on a regular basis and am totally okay that we don't do the same thing in the same way every year.

For example, when my boys were younger we read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  (It's only 85 pages long and seriously one of my favorite stories.)  We read it so much that I could recite much of the first page.  "The Herdmans were the worst kids in the history of the world.  They lied, and cheated, and smoked cigars, (even the girls)."  And every year I looked forward to the reading.

And even though we don't read it anymore (but mostly likely will start soon with the girls), I love the memories I have of reading that story.

I also used to buy the boys an ornament every year that was somehow related to what they were doing that year.  My thought was that when they were grown and moved out of the house, they would take their lifetime of memories and ornaments with them to start their new lives.  It never occurred to me that they would have other thoughts about their own Christmas tree.  (duh!)

But I'm okay with that too.  I loved doing it, and I still love unwrapping those ornaments and remembering their childhoods.  And I'm buying the girls ornaments too.  And if they grow up and don't want them for their tree, well that's okay too!

(I'm starting to realize some of my traditions might be about me.  Tee hee)

And I used to buy a new nativity set every year (well, technically I still do this), but I stopped putting them all out last year (courtesy of Simple Christmas, thank you very much Brian Mann!) and gave myself permission to "downsize" Christmas.

Some of my favorite things still happen today though.

For example, the weekend after Thanksgiving always marks the hanging of the lights.  Mike and one or both of the boys get out all of my Christmas boxes, 16 to be exact, then sort out all of the lights, map out a strategy, and hang the lights on the house.  I have gone outside many years to arguments, laughter, people hanging in ridiculously unsafe manners from very tall ladders, and a myriad of duct tape and extension cords that would put Clark Griswold to shame!

I usually try to stay inside once ladders
and rooftops are involved!
Mike unraveling a string of "new" lights after announcing
the icicle lights had been retired.

And we still have "Cookies."  The weekend where I bake dozens and dozens of cookies  and then we invite one set of friends over to help us decorate.  It's a fun night.  Lots of competitive decorating.  And at the end, a winner is awarded by popular vote.  This doesn't sound like too much in this one paragraph, but if you've ever been the "chosen friends" then you know it's a special, special night.

Zack and Christina in 2009 with Cookie Champion Jackie Key

Jacob with 2010 Winners Corina and Kristina Patterson

And Zack with 2011 Loser, Ben Rush (sorry Ben)

And we still go to Guadalajara for dinner on Christmas Eve (because when I worked at the church, it was just too much to do 4+ Christmas Eve services AND have a meaningful Christmas Eve dinner).

They would absolutely KILL me if they knew I had posted
this on the internet!
And we will most likely still open presents on Christmas day, though it will definitely be different without Zack and Christina.   And we'll still open our presents in age order.  And we'll still eat a non-traditional Christmas dinner, like mouth-watering burgers or fish tacos . . . who knows? . . . because I can't bear the thought of another turkey dinner so soon!

And we will most likely still play Trivial Pursuit after our not-so-traditional dinner.  Heck, I might even splurge for the new edition this year!

This year though, I'm thinking of adding some new things. (WHAT?!!!)

The girls made gingerbread houses with Zack and Christina.  I can see us doing this for years!  It was funny to watch them do this though!  Zack (who helped Shannay) is like his Mama; a teeny weeny bit controlling, and Christina (who helped Nikki) is totally a free spirit.  You can easily tell this by looking at the houses.

And we're going to Dallas this weekend to ride the Polar Express.  Maybe that will become a tradition.

The girls are going to see the Nutcracker.  I have ALWAYS wanted girls just for this very reason!

And we might even start the Elf on the Shelf (maybe not though!)

All that to say, I'm gearing up for the holidays.  HO HO HO!  and as Frosty would say, "Happy Birthday!"


  1. 16 boxes. That doesn't count the extra wreaths and trees and who knows what else I hauled out of the attic. I love you and your Christmas spirit.

  2. I bought ornaments for my kids every year with your same intent... give them a 'starter set' when they moved out. My problem, however, was I decided I was too attached to the memories to let them go. Now the kids come over when I'm decorating the tree and we all take a trip down memory lane! Treasured times!

    PS: I downsized last year from 24 crates to 19.


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