Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010: It's a wrap!

Since I got all of my Christmas decorations put away today, and we're getting ready to start a brand new year, I thought I'd share my Top Ten Favorite Things from Christmas 2010:

10. Making cookies: 
One of my favorite memories from growing up is when we'd come home from school on the last day before Christmas break, and my mom would be ready with all kinds of cookie dough and cookie cutters and sprinkles, and we'd have a big cookie-baking extravaganza. We continued the tradition when Daniel was little and now that Erica is old enough to help, I wanted us all to gather at my mom's house one afternoon and bake cookies together. Erica was more interested in eating the sprinkles than putting them on the cookies and Daniel was more interested in eating the cookies than decorating them (although he helped). It was a fun time for our family.

9. Creating gifts: 
We decided that instead of buying gifts for everyone this year, or even drawing a name, we would try making gifts for each other. It was my big idea, and I have to admit that at times, I was wishing I could drive to the mall and subject myself to that torture instead of doing what I needed to do to create the gifts. BUT, in the end, I had a good time coming up with the ideas and creating the gifts. AND it was so much fun on Christmas morning to see what everyone had created for each other. Definitely lots of love and thought went into each gift that was given, whether it was homemade food treats, photo gifts, or repurposed items (watch for another post on that soon).

8. Serving others: 
I already posted about my experience at the Nashville Baptist Association Toy Store in early December, but Daniel and I had another opportunity to give of our time to help others this Christmas. One of the community groups from church had arranged to volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank and invited Daniel and I to come along. I am always thankful when Daniel and I get a chance to serve together and it was another reminder that many people in the world, even in our own city, live a much different life than we do.

7. Daniel's drum shirt: 
One of the fun gifts given to Daniel this year was a battery-operated t-shirt with a drum set on the front. You can actually hit the drums and the cymbals and they play. I wouldn't call it music, but it's noise! Russell saw it in a magazine and thought Daniel needed to have it. It was a bit "hit" on Christmas morning!

6. Christmas PJ's: 
We carried out the family tradition of giving the kids new Christmas pj's and letting them open them on Christmas Eve night. Erica and Mary Lane got matching footie pj's and Daniel got some new flannel sleep pants. Erica has some other footie pj's with monkeys on them, and even though her new pj's didn't have monkeys, she kept calling them her "monkey pj's." All we could figure is that she was associating the footies with monkeys, so now all footie pj's are "monkey pj's." I wonder if that's what we'll be calling them from now on?

5. Snow: 
It was so much fun to have some early snow in Tennessee this year, and to have a white Christmas for the first time in 17 years! The snow caused some cancellations of Christmas events and school (exams) in mid-December, but our Christmas snow was just plain beautiful and a fun little gift for Tennesseans.

4. Christmas Worship at Grace Community Church: 
I have lost count on how many years I have participated in the Christmas Choir at our church, but it is always a highlight of my Christmas season. This year, we had a new director for the choir, and then on the first (and turned out to be the only) night of worship, our Director of Worship was not able to be there because he was helping his wife have a baby! It all turned out so well, though, and I am sorry that the second night got snowed out and we didn't get to do it again (and I know there are many people who were sad that they missed it altogether).

3. Mary Lane's first Christmas: 
Sweet Mary Lane was sick for the week of Christmas, with a cough that made her sound like an old man, but she was still able to enjoy her first Christmas morning and her gifts. I was "helping" her to stay sitting up and had a fun view of watching her shake her new wrist rattles and chew on her new books. She is almost six months old, which is the same age that Daniel was on his first Christmas, so it was fun to reminisce about having a baby boy 15 years ago!

2. Erica's wonder: 
This was Erica's third Christmas, but probably the first one that she has been a more active participant and one that she will hopefully remember. She had several nativity sets to play with and it was so sweet to hear her singing "Away in a Manger" to Baby Jesus and very funny to see her put the camel or a shepherd up on top of the stable where the angel was intended to go. Who knows that the shepherds didn't shout it from the rooftops when they saw Jesus! Daniel and I took Erica out to look at Christmas lights one night and it was fun to see her get excited over seeing the decorations ("there's one!"). One house had lights set to music and she told her mom that she saw lights that sang. She also loved opening presents and her big present this year was a play kitchen and lots of accessories to go with it. Whenever she'd open something that went with the kitchen, she'd say, "That can go in MY kitchen!"

1. Time with family: 
The whole Christmas season was just a special time for our family this year. It is always fun when we're all together for the days leading up to Christmas and when we can spend Christmas morning together. I am so thankful for our family and that we all celebrate the birth of Jesus in a meaningful way (attending worship services, reading the Christmas story before opening gifts).

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