Thursday, December 30, 2010

Home for Christmas

Remember celebrating Christmas as a kid? You were full of excitement and expectation as you heard the Christmas story, or as you opened your gifts or traveled to see family. This year, that is exactly how I felt.

Decorating the Christmas tree was one of my favorite Christmas memories. Mom would put on a cassette tape of Kenny Rogers Christmas music or another country artist from long ago. We'd all get our own boxes of ornaments out of the closet, and for the next hour or so, the living room was a complete disaster with boxes and tissue paper.  But we were all singing, laughing and telling stories. Most of the ornaments have a special meaning or a story that leads us all to reminisce about the past. The tree would capture our attention with its splendor for the rest of the evening and weeks to come. 

The stockings were hung on the fireplace, the glass miniature village was set up on the piano, the Santa collection was put out on the bookcase, the nativity set up on the stereo—every surface was decorated! It was wonderful! 

Although I haven't been home to take part in this tradition in several years, this year I did get to see the results. And Mom didn't leave anything out! Our home was just as I had remembered, filled with Christmas joy and warmth. I had missed that feeling of being "home" for Christmas very much. For the past 5 years I hadn't been able to go to my parent's house for Christmas; I had normally just flown to Minneapolis since my mom's family lived near there. So, this was a very special trip in that sense. 

Christmas Eve was incredible. We had a huge feast for dinner and all went to church for the Christmas Eve service. We came home and gathered around the Christmas tree and opened our gifts from one another. (Once again, I hadn't done this with my whole family in 5 years!) I loved seeing the faces of my siblings as they unwrapped their gifts we had gotten them. I had worked really hard to get them each something they would absolutely love (and I almost succeeded)! It was a very joyful day.

Christmas day and the rest of that weekend was filled with seeing extended family. Christmas day we drove to Minneapolis and had Christmas dinner with my Mom's side of the family. I believe there were 25 of us or so (almost everyone made it!)

My Family: Molly, Me, Chris, Ryan, Betsy, John
Dad, Great Aunt Sylvia, and Mom

On Monday we were able to spend a few hours with my cousin Mary and her family. She and her husband, Bruce, had twins last August.  We all had a blast passing those babies around and catching up with Mary and Bruce. Maria and Darin didn't seem to mind having eight new people to play with. Once again, it was an evening filled with joy!

I can't say the entire trip was stress-free, but we were blessed with great traveling weather and a lot of time together as a family. I am so blessed to have a close family! It was so wonderful to be home for Christmas!

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