Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Christmas Tradition

I read someone's post yesterday about not feeling ready for Christmas--and it had already come and gone. That's exactly how I was feeling on Christmas Eve--not ready. Wondering if I would feel ready. Wishing I had more time. The wishing I had more time seems to be a consistent theme in my life, if you haven't guessed by now. I think it is the latent perfectionist in me. I'm always wanting things to work out just so and feeling all the pressure of making that happen. The funny thing is though NOTHING ever works out perfectly. But it always works out. It may turn out better or worse than I expected but it always works out. So, I'm trying to give up the notion that somehow it has to work out in a magically perfect way. 
I come by this perception honestly though. Christmas Eve after the troops had left from our annual Christmas Eve night (you know, reading the Christmas story, performances of song or dance, etc.), I was sitting at the kitchen island talking to my mom as she prepared breakfast for the next day. Hmmm, breakfast Christmas morning: sticky buns, scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns and juice. Good stuff. Anyway, I was chatting with her about what I had left to do for Christmas morning and she was telling me what she had left to do as well. She said in nearly 40 years of being married, she had yet to have everything done on Christmas Eve. She always had a stack of presents to wrap that night and it seemed no matter what she did or who's help she conscripted, she always had that stack of presents and lots of food to cook for the next day. Which kept her up late on Christmas Eve and made her very tired for our annual wake up time of 5:00AM. 
All I could say was thank you, Mom. I really am your daughter after all. And then I proceeded to stay up for the rest of the night just to get everything done on my list. 
And Christmas worked out just fine. It really was a beautiful day. 

We gathered around the Christmas tree early. 

Cassie was very excited about her new camera. 

Mom and Dad watching us open presents. 

This is the stack of presents left over that was for the nieces and nephews and siblings to come over and open. 

We had a beautiful white Christmas and quite a storm that morning so Dad got out with his super-duper new snowblower (he bought it the day before because his old one just wasn't powerful enough for the huge snow dumps we've been getting this year.)

If you can see there's Dad with his snowblower and two of our neighbors out with their snowblowers too. I think the whole neighborhood was operating them about the same time. 

Some of the girls opening their presents from Nana and Papa. 

Adam opening his present. Pssst! See the TV screen behind him? That was the present keeping me up so late. We had scanned all the slides of our family photos from the 70s and 80s and I made a DVD of them. Rus did all the heavy lifting of actually scanning over 1000 images though. That was a fun Christmas surprise. And don't you worry. I can't resist so I'll be showing more of those slides later. 

This is what we look like Christmas morning. Everyone shows up whenever they can and they get to open their presents from Nana and Papa when they arrive. We spend most of the morning watching people reactions. And then we eat that yummy breakfast. 

This year we had six of my seven siblings around so it was a big group. Everyone took the kiddies home in the afternoon and rested and relaxed and then they showed back up for dinner and a movie. This is what it looks like when we are all crowded together. 

And you can see that some of them continued their naps far into the evening. 

We just snuggled and chatted and some parent inevitably seemed to be getting up or down every few minutes to help a child get a drink, change a diaper, or get some food. There is kind of a general chaos that simmers continuously  when we are together. 

 And the kiddie winks played with all the Christmas toys that Santa had so generously deposited under the tree that morning. 

And no matter my preparation or lack there of, it always works out. Yes, I got the wrong custard cups for Mom and no, I didn't get much sleep as I wanted, but somehow, some way Christmas turned out. And I was reminded once again that I don't get to manufacture Christmas magic. It was manufactured long ago and far away by a little babe in a manger in Bethlehem. If I just remember to keep my focus there then everything works out. Just the way it should. 


Goose said...

Very nicely written. Keep it up.

Aunt Janet said...

Just once I would like to enjoy Christmas Day when I'm not completely exhausted! (But it's fun anyway.) Your 5:00 a.m. wakeup time is unacceptable, however. We nixed that tradition a loooong time ago! Happy New Year Eden! (And the "Aunt" Janet is my Christmas present to Ralph!)


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