Our Christmas

What a blessed day we had.

We wanted a simple Christmas so we decided early on not to put up the Christmas tree this year. Rearranging the furniture, dragging out the artificial tree, assembling and decorating it, only to have to undo it all again in a few weeks, did not fit our definition of simple. A few days before Christmas, knowing we were going to be hosting some of our family,  we decided to put up a small tree. On Thursday we identified one of the Norway Spruce trees that we had planted, as a seedling, on the farm, in 2012. My husband looked for a Christmas tree stand, that he thought was stored in the shed, but it was nowhere to be found. I decided to call our local Kmart to see if they had any tree stands left, I figured this was a longshot being so close to Christmas. When the girl came back on the phone, after checking their stock, and told me that they only had one tree stand left and it was a small one, I said “I think that is exactly what I need. Can you hold it ’til I get there?”  Not only was this tree stand perfect for holding our small tree, it was on sale for 50% off the regular price.

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On Friday afternoon we went to the farm, and for the first time in our 16 years together, cut our Christmas tree. Perhaps this is the start of our new tradition.

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We only had to move some plants from this table in order to put the tree in position. It took one strand of lights and a small portion of our ornaments to decorate the tree. We added one box of candy canes and the angel and tree skirt for the finishing touches. Our homegrown Christmas tree was perfect!

We decided to keep our Christmas Day celebration low-key. We opted for a simple luncheon of (mostly) finger foods, including a meat and cheese tray with crackers and bread, spinach-artichoke dip, a veggie tray, a fruit salad, pickles and olives, cookies, pumpkin pie and a wonderful dessert called Sopapilla Cheesecake, that Aunt Donna brought.

I wasn’t sure who was going to show up, but I was thrilled upon receiving a phone call from Tina on Christmas morning. She said her and Ken and Jackson were coming over but probably not until around 2:00 P.M. My dad arrived around noon followed by Aunt Donna and shortly there after Kara and Lindell.

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Scout and Trooper had a Merry Christmas as they reveled in all of the attention they received from the girls.

Good food and great conversations made the time fly by. It was fun listening to Dad and Aunt Donna share stories about “nutty” neighbors, and Lindell razzing Kara for taking all of the cheese with toothpicks in it from a plate at a party that they went to. Before we knew it Tina and Ken and Jackson arrived.

While gift giving is part of our Christmas, I don’t like it to be the main focus. I like gifts to be practical, homemade and/or from the heart. About a month ago when my husband was cleaning out the closet, in a room formerly occupied by the girls, he came upon a pile of their clothes, mostly t-shirts from when they were in high school. There were shirts from homecoming events, school plays, and other activities they participated in.  It was apparent that they were no longer a part of their wardrobes but the girls could not part with them either. Even though sewing is not one of my strong points, I decided to make them into memory quilts for the girls.  I spent many hours in December cutting, fitting, pinning, sewing, and clipping. My sister, who is very skilled at sewing, describes the fabrics that I was using as “very forgiving”. Fortunately she is right, because even though I probably committed every sewing sin there is, I was pleased with the results.

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Kara and Lindell loved them.

The gift that Kara and Lindell gave to us was given from the heart,

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and now fills hangs on a previously empty wall in our dinning room.  I had thought, only the day before, that wall needed something.

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Everyone “awed” as this special gift, that Popa  Dom (my husband) picked out for Jackson, was opened. I suspect he will wear this when he visits the farm this spring/summer.

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This beautiful ornament we received from Tina and Ken now hangs on our tree. It will remain there until the tree comes down, but in the meantime I am looking for a permanent home for it. This gift is too precious to be packed away for most of the year, so we will find a special place for it.

It wasn’t until later that night that I realized how the beautiful message conveyed by Tina and Ken’s gift to us was reflected onto their son by way of Popa’s gift to him.

Our guests stayed for only a few hours but it was a precious time, and after all were gone, the peace, love and joy that this day brought, remained in our home and in our hearts. This day was everything that Christmas should be.

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