The Richmond Register

Breaking News

Lifestyles & Community

December 22, 2013

Christmas just happens at our house

RICHMOND — Our neighbors had their outdoor Christmas lights up Thanksgiving weekend. At that same time, we noticed beautifully decorated trees planted in picture windows in homes throughout Richmond. With perfectly wrapped gifts under the trees.

I used to marvel over such precision. Wondered what it would be like to kick off the season so early. To enjoy all that holiday spirit for a whole month or more.

But, we’re not that family. At our house, Christmas just “happens.” Over time. It’s a process.

The most pre-planning I do is get the cloth Advent Calendar out so the kids can Velcro the stuffed figures — camels, cows, Three Kings, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and other key characters — to the manger scene through Christmas Day.

I also supply the younger ones with a cardboard version. They open a new door every day with a Bible verse about Jesus’ birth — and a piece of chocolate with an imprinted design of angels, stars, wreaths and the like.

But, for the past 22 years, we don’t even think about sprucing up the house until after Mitchell’s birthday on Dec. 10. When he was younger, he stretched his birthday observance over an entire week — school party, family party, party with friends. So until that was sufficiently celebrated, the Christmas decorations remained boxed in the basement.

Other obstacles generally delay our trip to the tree farm, which is our official start of the season. Like Mason being buried under a pile of English 101 composition notebooks that he has to grade before he feels any tidings of comfort and joy. Enough, anyway, to drive us to Baldwin Farm.

I also have final grades to tally for my own classes plus writing projects to complete. And the kids are usually working hard to wrap up their nine weeks of school — writing papers, studying for tests and producing plays. So there’s not much time for Fa-la-la-la-la-ing until that’s under control.

Traditionally, once we find free time in that hectic schedule, our trek to the tree farm is often on the frostiest, windiest, muddiest day of December.

Depending on the temperature, wind chill, and concern about the van getting stuck in the mud, we might wander awhile in search of the perfect tree, or choose the first one we see. It’s still a highlight of our family traditions.

As the song goes: “How often has the Christmas tree, afforded me the greatest glee.” It’s worth the time, hassle and effort — even fending off Jack Frost nipping at our toes, nose and other extremities

Back home, the scavenger hunt begins for the twinkly Christmas lights, sturdy tree stand, homemade ornaments, individually designed stockings and other things we packed away the previous year.

Our house has very little storage space so not everything is neatly stacked together. Still, we manage to find the bits and pieces that are meaningful to the kids and start decking the halls.

Now, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house. And we have about 12 days of Christmas preparations ahead.

We haven’t taken a family photo for our Christmas cards yet. I’m waiting for the right time when things aren’t so hustley. And bustley. Where we can actually laugh all the way through the experience.

At this late date, I might try something entirely new for us. Wish our friends a Merry Christmas — digitally. That will spare me from tracking down addresses for people we only contact once a year.

I actually tried Black Friday shopping for the first time this year. It was rather anti-climactic considering many of the Thursday night sales were available on Wednesday.

Fortunately I’ve collected a few evergreen presents throughout the year. Mostly gag gifts. Stocking stuffers. Unisex items for all ages for those times when you need an emergency gift on the spur of the moment.

But another flaw of our house is not having many hiding spots. So I’ve had to scatter the gifts out of sight in numerous places. And leave myself a map for finding them later, when I need them.

There have been times when I’ve forgotten some hidden gifts until well after Christmas. It’s a good thing two of the kids were born in January and February. I just change holiday wrapping paper for something less seasonal, and they become birthday presents.

My favorite part of the holiday build-up is Christmas Eve: the church service. Then home for snacks. Movies. And opening one gift in front of the fire.

Feeling joyful. And triumphant. By letting Christmas just happen.

1
Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
  • Bee on the lookout as beekeepers convene

    Summer vacation season is in full swing, and I had the pleasure of spending the last week and a half filling in at the Farm Store while the store manager, Bethany Pratt, got a welcome respite soaking up the beauty of Ireland.

    July 30, 2014

  • Amanda-Sears-c.jpg Cicada-killer wasps are here

    The extension office has received numerous phone calls over the past couple of weeks about large wasps hovering in yards all over the county.
    This insect is called the cicada killer, and despite its aggressive name, it is not something to be scared of.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brandon-Sears-c.jpg Converting from year-round calving to a controlled breeding season

    Maintaining a controlled breeding and calving season can be one of the most important management tools for cow-calf producers.
    Uniform, heavier and more valuable calves are key reasons to keep the breeding season short.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Nostalgia-Glenmore.jpg Paper boys learned life, business lessons

    I often flash back to the days from the mid to late 1930s when I was a paper boy.
    There were 10 or 12 of us who rolled out of bed at 5 a.m. every day, jumped on our bicycles and headed downtown to the Glyndon Hotel and picked up our papers for delivery.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick-Ham.jpg Here’s why teachers aren’t paid enough

    The following were included in last year’s exams and were answered by 16-year-old high school students. The answers are genuine, and we must remember that these youngsters will grow up to vote, marry and become parents. It’s a scary thought.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24 4-H Entries 1.jpg 4-H exhibits are family affair for the Houstons

    Five children from the same family were the first to bring their 4-H exhibits Wednesday to the Madison County Fairgrounds.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-22 Band Camp 1.jpg Band students ‛take over’ MCHS campus

    The Madison Central High School campus has been “taken over” for two weeks by 170 students attending band camp.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • Dr-Jack-Rutherford.jpg Warning labels needed on energy drinks

    The popularity of energy drinks has soared since they entered the marketplace, but at least one consumer group wants the FDA to order warnings on product labels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donna-Moberly.jpg Full Gospel ‛Back to School Bash’ is Aug. 2

    Hello everyone.
    I guess everyone is asking, “How much rain did we get?”

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Katie-Rollins.jpg Thank the Lord for the rain

    Hello readers, it’s a stormy Monday evening as I write this, and I’ve been thanking the Lord all day for the good rain – over an inch in the gauge now, and it looks like more before morning.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo