I Love: Christmas Edition
I love real Christmas trees–the fresh, piney scent, walking through rows of them, lined up at the Christmas tree farm, waiting to be picked. I love asking my kids “What do you think about this one?” and seeing their little faces light up at the prospect of tying it on top of our minivan and bringing it home.
I love opening the boxes of Christmas ornaments and pulling out photo ornaments and school crafts–opening a box of memories and “remember when’s” every year. I love watching the kids hang their ornaments carefully on the tree and I love making a time-lapse video of the decorating process.
I love swapping out our regular, all-year coffee mugs for the Christmas ones.
I love sitting beside the decorated, lit Christmas tree, sipping coffee in the quiet of the early mornings or reading a book in the evening after the day is done.
I love the old Radio Flyer sled I put on our porch every year, surrounded by greenery and lights. I love that when we were first married and I told my husband how much I wanted one for our front porch, that he searched Craigslist until he found me one.
I love picking out Christmas pajamas for the kids and I love scrolling back through the hundred-plus photos I took, trying to get a good one of them in front of the tree. I love having them wear their Christmas pajamas to look at Christmas lights, and I love pointing out their favorite characters in front yards as we drive around town: “Mickey! Marshall! Rudolph! Frosty!”
I love Christmas parades–the floats, the Santa hats, the high school bands, the energy, excitement and general merriment.
I love the way people seem to be more generous and kind this time of year.
I love hearing my kids say, “Ho, ho, ho,” with Santa hats on top of their heads. I love hearing them mix up the lyrics to Christmas songs while they run around shaking jingle bells.
I love Christmas carols on the radio and wrapped Christmas books under the tree.
I love thinking of ways to make memories, writing them down on little slips of paper and slipping them inside our wrapped Christmas books. I love watching them unwrap the books, their exclamations of delight when it’s an old favorite, and I love reading them the books by the tree.
I love gingerbread houses and Christmas crafts.
I love opening the mailbox to find Christmas cards.
I love seeing streets lit up with luminaries and downtowns decked out in their Christmas best.
I love Friday night movie night with pizza and our favorite Christmas movies: Rudolph, The Polar Express, Charlie Brown’s Christmas.
I love themed Christmas snacks: Christmas tree waffles, Santa crackers, Rudolph celery, reindeer chex mix, elf cereal. I love hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
I love wrapping presents and anticipating the joy on Christmas morning.
I love the enthusiasm when my kids place gifts under the tree, announcing to anyone in earshot that what’s under the wrapping paper is a secret. I love helping them pick out gifts for others, and watching them find the joy in giving.
I love counting down the days to Christmas with Advent calendars.
I love candlelight Christmas Eve services and watching candles raised overhead in a dark sanctuary each time the word “light” is mentioned in “Silent Night.”
I love watching kids act out the Christmas story, seeing them dressed up as angels and sheep and shepherds and wise men.
I love hearing the familiar words of Luke each year, describing the birth of Jesus.
I love that even if some of the holiday traditions slip through my fingers, even if the Christmas cards don’t get sent out this year, and it’s a whole exhausting thing to figure out what is and isn’t worth the exposure risk here in our second pandemic Christmas: that long ago, angels appeared to shepherds in the field, and shared words that still echo through the centuries:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11, NIV)