Updated: Dec 14, 2018
What is left to say about December that has not already been said? It is wonderful month filled with gatherings, gifting, traditions, food and decor! Since most folks have their own favorites from each category, I thought I’d share some of mine.
Gatherings - There is just something extra special about getting together with friends and family at Christmas, as opposed to other times of the year. I think folks are in the mood to be social, so getting together is a pleasure, not a chore. Our family chooses a night in December every year to have dinner with my best friend and her family. Let me just say we have been doing this for over 20 years. The menu never changes. When the kids were young, we chose a simple baked ziti recipe and a fancy sounding chocolate dessert mostly because we knew they would all eat it. Even though Squirrel Girl, her brother and all others involved, have more sophisticated palates as adults, we still eat the same thing. We rotate houses year to year, initially to give us young moms a bit of relief from having to prepare your home for guests, but now it insures our families spend time in each others homes. It is a simple gathering, but one that goes on the calendar right away and is lovingly awaited.
Gifting - When Squirrel Girl and her brother were little their Nan, my mom, started a gifting tradition of giving them each three presents for Christmas morning. She often coordinates these gifts so there is a theme among them - this is where I get my love for “all things themed” by the way - but mostly she gives three gifts to reflect the three gifts the Wisemen brought baby Jesus. What a truly wonderful reminder to keep our eyes on the real Christmas story.
Traditions - So our immediate family goes out for a nice dinner on December 23. We get a new outfit, or at least Squirrel Girl and I do, we dress up and hit the town. Afterwards, we drive around Raleigh looking at Christmas decorations and playing what we have dubbed “Moravian Stars” . The object is to find as many of these stars as you can. If you call a star that turns out not to be a Moravian star you loose a point. The person with the most points is Star Champion that year. We always take a Krispy Kreme dessert break right before heading into Historic Oakwood, because that is where Moravian Stars thrive and you need that sugar rush to be on your best game! I wonder if folks on the sidewalks can here us screaming “MORAVIAN STAR”, at the top of our lungs?
Food - I know it is sounds silly and probably not especially festive for the everyday man, but one of the things I always make at Christmas, and ONLY Christmas I should say, is…wait for it…. Rice Krispy Treats! My family request them every year and I gladly say, “Done!” because come on, of all the wondrous holiday baking options out there this has to be the easiest!
Decor - Basically, mine stays the same - I have pretty much the same ornaments on the tree, although I do treat myself to a new Christopher Radko addition each year, the same number of wreaths and garlands that go in the same place, the same treasured nativity set loving made by Grandma Billie always displayed on the mantle in the living room. Boring right ?- NEVER! I look forward to seeing these “old friends” each year, maybe tweaking their positioning a bit but mostly loving the memories each bobble and bow evokes as it is pulled from the Rubbermaid bins they call home. Sometimes, I may choose not to get every single piece of decor out and sometimes I find a place for something that I couldn’t part with but rarely use; like the white ceramic Christmas tree with tiny multi colored lights, another treasure from Grandma Billie’s ceramic classes. This year it was given a place of honor in Squirrel Girl’s bedroom! That little treasure has not seen the light of day in a good fifteen years!
So, no matter where your preferences lie for making merry during this time of year, and please do Make Merry!, the true Reason for The Season, should never be far from your thoughts. The gatherings, gifts, traditions, food, and decor pale in comparison and never satisfy the soul like knowing and treasuring God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, not just during this holiday season but all year long!
The Local Squirrel Christmas Finds
1. Piñata Ornament for that Ornament Exchange you are attending!
2. Christmas Tree Plate for the cookies at the neighborhood Cookie Exchange!
3. Coast and Cotton Nativity Dish Towel to keep your mind on “The Reason For The Season” even during party clean up!