I LOVE this time of year! I always have.. I am as excited now as when I was a kid! When I think about Christmas time growing up.. I always think of my mom and her AMAZINGLY decorated home. The Christmas candles we ALWAYS had going, the Christmas music she would play, and all of her cute decor that COVERED the kitchen, living room, family room and the basement. She went all out with Christmas.. some would say over the top, more than a year or two... or five.. And last year, being her first Christmas as a grandma, even more so! But besides the presents, there were SO many fun things she did for us over the years to make our holidays special..
I remember one fun thing she did after a tramatic year of Lindsay getting one less present than I did.. Linds has always been this CRAZY, outgoing, fun-loving, turns-to-a-brat-in-the-blink-of-an-eye-girl :) Though she's grown out of that last part, Linds has always loved the attention and presents! Well, after a rough year, my mom switched things up.. No more names on presents.. The next year, they were numbered.. and we didn't know until Christmas Eve what our 'number' was.. The next year it was the Rugrats characters.. And, yes, Lindsay was Angelica ;) Ha ha! She did wrapping paper, and several other fun things to disguise who's were who's.. Then for the last maybe 7 or 8 years, NO names on presents for the three kids.. It was a really fun way to slow down the day, take turns and PAY attention.. because that gift that is being opened, might be yours! :) Somehow, Riley opened a bra or girl underwear EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR! We've always had to take turns and watch each other open, but that took it to a different level! SO fun!
My mom has always made Christmas so special.. Not just the presents, or the amazing decor.. but in every way.. The traditions, the spirit in our home, and the constant reminders of the real reason for the season.. I sure hope that some day, my kids feel that way too.. Now that I've entered a new phase in life, the part where Jake and I are responsible for those memories and the traditions of the holidays.. it brings a new joy and deeper happiness to my heart than the excitement of being a child waiting for my gifts from Santa ever could.. I am so excited for our Christmas with Kailee and our first Christmas as a family..
The last few years of my life have been far from religious, but they have absolutely been spiritual.. And when I think about this season and all that comes with it, there is no way that the feelings that I feel could come from presents, Santa Claus, lights, decorations or a Christmas tree. It is so much more than that. To me, it's about family, the ones I love, and my knowledge of something greater than any one of us could imagine. A Savior's love that has no limitations or judgement.. No care of color, race, religion or sexual preference. A pure love that only He could understand. I pray this time of year, that those are the things I can teach my children.. Just like my parents did for me.
Merry Christmas to you all.. May we take this special time of year to celebrate all we are blessed with!