Okay, I have a confession to make. We have not been truly feeling the Christmas Spirit in our house. I love this time of year, but when things get quite busy it is easy to feel disconnected. Plus, I know that the way the economy is going and all the uncertainty of impending changes leave many of us not feeling the spirit.
We’ve done somethings, but not how I envisioned them happening. We have our Advent wreath out, but have not lit it nightly as we usually do. I had a great book for nightly Advent readings (Bartholomew’s Passage), but did not crack it open at all. My preparations have been more spiritual and personal in nature. I do my best to use my Magnificant magazine and also have read through a short Advent reflection each day from a booklet the church distributed before Advent began. But, those prayer times have been just me and not the kids.
Our tree might not have a ton of gifts this year, but I am hoping that the true meaning of Christmas will ring in the boys’ hearts. They’ll still get items they could live without (like the Wii my parents bought for our family), but some things are scaled back or more practical in nature. Friday we bought all new tires for my husband’s car. When I said “Merry Christmas”, our boys thought me odd to suggest it was his Christmas gift. Tires are just so practical. But, they also were desperately needed and far outweighed spending that money on something like a new TV (as much as I might want one.) I know we are not the only family walking down this path as we curtail spending and avoid credit card debt for momentary happiness.
Now, there are some areas where the holiday spirit is starting to creep into our lives. I have a few Christmas CDs in the car for when we are driving. I put a small selection of holiday songs on my MP3 player (compliments of Amazon’s 25 days of Christmas song giveaway.) We attended the holiday party for my eldest son’s Boy Scout Troop last night. Deep-fried turkey, smashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce and rolls made for a yummy dinner. As an added bonus, I didn’t have to cook it or do clean up! The boys had strung multi-colored lights around the cabin they had for the weekend and put some holiday music on as well.
Our modest, artificial tree is up with some ornaments. The boys did it with minimal direction from me. They also took out a Christmas train set we have, but it sits in pieces under the tree at the moment. Unless I have a sudden burst of energy tonight, the remaining ornaments and the train may all be brought back down so boxes do not multiply in the living room.
Another place where Christmas started to come into play was our last co-op for the semester. For the elementary literature group I teach, I opted have each child bring a favorite holiday story. Here’s a list of what they brought. Some are familiar while others were new to me.
* The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
* Hurry, Santa! by Julie Sykes and Tim Warnes
* A Special Place for Santa by Jeanne Pieper
* The Night Before Christmas (read by a stuffed teddy bear, how cool is that!)
* The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey by Susan Wojdiechowski
* The Cross and the Water Tower: A Christmas Story by Patrick and Mary Mangan – this is a new book written by the cousins of two students in the co-op. It was longer than it looked, so we only read about half the story.
* The Friendly Beasts (carol in book format) by Tomie de Paola
Looking at the calendar, Christmas is fast approaching. We have yet to do our annual family letter and will most likely send it as a New Year’s letter. This year, I am playing piano for the early family Mass on Christmas Eve at our parish. The younger boys are going to be shepherds in the short pageant there and are excited to have staffs to carry for their roles. We still are debating what Christmas dinner will be, but I can say that I am looking forward to being home with my family that day. Maybe we’ll even watch a few holiday shows that afternoon. That is if I’m not napping after my late night including singing with the choir at Midnight Mass.