I’m a (Sort of) Reformed Scrooge

    I love Christmas.  Nothing makes me more happy than arranging Christmas decorations, baking cookies, taking road trips with the kids, and shopping in crowded malls!
That’s not true.  No, I don’t.  No, I really really don’t.
    Not once this year have I said any of those things.
   Okay, so yeah, I’m a bit of a Scrooge.  
–Crowded malls make me hot, like literally sweaty.  I get overwhelmed and confused by it all.  Plus there are so many decisions!!  And Christmas shopping with several small children???  Not fun.
–Baking is a lot of work, and it also makes me hot.  I can’t finish a single recipe without being interrupted half a dozen times by all of my children.  I now gauge a recipe by whether or not it looks like one that can be made in spurts.  
  Recipes that include directions like “Stir constantly” or “right away” are not for me.
–Road trips with kids:  seriously.  No explanation necessary….
   However, I do want you all to know that I do love visiting with my family.  It’s the getting there part that I dread.
–I totally cheated and let Nonna do all my Christmas decorating for me this year.  It was AWESOME.  All done in a day.  She is a MACHINE.  Thank you, Nonna!
Decorating for Christmas goes a long, long way in helping me make peace with Christmas, reminding me of the magic of Christmas, rather than just the stress of Christmas.
Check it out:
John David’s stocking, which is monogrammed and coordinates with his brothers’ stockings, is on its way here.  Thank you, L.L. Bean.  

 Love these guys!

foyer tree, complete with patriotic theme

Christmas cookies
Nonna made these, and this has made Caleb so happy.
 Of all the kids, I think Caleb is the most excited about Christmas.  He’s spent so much time “making presents” out of scotch tape and notebook paper, we’ve decided someone has to go buy more tape, some for us, and a roll for Caleb!
  The waiting seriously challenges Caleb.  He made a gift for me, and he keeps wanting to just go ahead and give it to me. Caleb’s pretty smart about these things though, and if I open his gift, I know that he will use that for leverage to beg me to let him open one of his gifts.  
  This is not my first rodeo, Caleb, I come prepared for you this year!!
Oh yeah!!!  
The TRUE meaning of Christmas!!!
It’s not about presents or family.
  One great thing about having young children is that as you’re teaching them of the true meaning of Christmas, you are reminded yourself!  
God sent Jesus, without sin, to take the punishment for our sins, so that man can be reconciled to God.
   God knew that He would polarize us:  believers following him devotedly, crowds pressing against Him, constantly bringing Him their sick and weak for healing, everywhere he went he was followed by crowds. 
   On the flip side, there are the unbelievers, taunting Him, hating Him, and ultimately crucifying Him.
  I’m happy to be one of the believers.  This holiday is about a baby, and I love babies, and this baby brought HOPE to the world–hope that no matter who they are and what they’ve done, they can be forgiven and loved, and can spend their life on Earth in peace and their eternity in Heaven.
 I need to remind myself of that when I start to feel Scrooge-y.

What really got me was the kids’ reactions to the fully decorated house.  Daniel woke up from his nap and just spent several minutes staring in awe at it all.  Christmas is a whole other level of special for children.  It’s magical.  It’s exciting, and it’s beautiful.
Let’s just EMBRACE it all this year.  I’ve already heated up my credit card pretty well!  Now bring on the gatherings, the baking, the decorating, the shopping, yes, even the road trips!
I can’t wait to see all of my family!

linked to:  recipesforourdailybread.com

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