It’s been a long while since I’ve done a tag. What a great idea this one is! Such a joy to concentrate on a few of the things that mean so much to me this time of year!

Many thanks to dear Bethany at Flowers on the Dashboard!

The rules are as follows:

Share the original post, which I see comes from another dear blogging friend, Matt at Jesus Luvs All:

Christmas My Favorite Things Tag

Then:

Use any Christmas theme picture:

Perhaps one of the best moments of any Christmas moment. The reminder from the wise little Linus of what Christmas is all about.

Share your favorite things for each category.

Tag whoever you wish.

So…ok. First up:

Food:Ah, food, glorious food! I have so many loves in this area! Being a baker, cookies, brownies, and breads of all sorts are high on my list. Fudge is also a major love of mine. Add cashews and I am even happier! 😊

Decorations:

Ours are not elaborate, by any means. But, there is great sentimental value. I’d call them a happy mishmash of things collected and made from childhood on.

This is one of my favorite areas. Our beloved Nutcracker collection.:

My oldest boy fell in love with the Nutcracker ballet when he went to a production for a Kindergarten field trip and we started collecting.

It has long been his job to arrange them, but, being in college this year, he passed the mantle to my youngest. This is what he came up with. He added several friends, as you can see. 😊

Song:

Ah, another beloved area! So many…”O, Holy Night” comes to mind, as well as “O, Come, O Come Emmanuel”. And when they start up “Hark, the Herald, Angels Sing” at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I never fail to shed happy tears. πŸ™‚

When to open presents:

Oof. Believe it or not, a mildly sore point. Let me explain.

When I was growing up, I seem to recall the whole idea of surprises faded away rather quickly in favor of taking my brother and me to the store to pick out our own things early on in the season. My mom maintained she never knew what to get us and saw no sense in us waiting.

I guess it had its merits-very few icky sweaters to unwrap and try to give a convincing smile for. Lots of things I knew I’d use and got to enjoy right away.

Yet, there was also that deflating feeling on Christmas day of waking up to nothing to open and no thrill of someone else knowing just what I wanted, or at least making the attempt to know. A killjoy in many ways indeed.

So…ahem.Enough of that. This is supposed to be a lighthearted post.

Suffice to say, surprises for my kids are really important to me. And I admit, I still look forward to one or two myself. πŸ™‚We stick to traditional buying for one another in secret, wrapping them up, and opening one on Christmas Eve, the rest on Christmas Day. Such a joyous thing!

People to visit:

Well, of course, this year, much has changed. But, then, I have weathered a few changes in my day. There was my single mother days of playing Santa to my little sprouts on my own. We usually hung out quietly with my mom and dad. They were still in Kansas then, in an apartment about 40 steps from ours, in fact. Beautiful, peaceful years of forging new joys beyond the times of hurt.

Then, there was the year of inviting a new member to our little group when I remarried and discovering he came from a family of cousins upon cousins, aunts and uncles galore. Over eight years later, I still don’t know the half of them. Now, we typically do Thanksgiving with my parents and Christmas with (at least a chunk of) my husband’s large family. It was quite a jolt those first few years and still a somewhat daunting task for a very shy, retiring sort like me.

But, this year, it’s back to a more intimate gathering of just our little family. A bit of a melancholy due to the reasons this day and age presents us and a pang at missing members. And, yet, there is that joy of sharing together as a family that remains and the loveliness of peace in the quieter atmosphere. It reminds me of the stillness I imagine there must have been that night the world awaited the birth of a Savior. πŸ™‚ Which leads me perfectly into…

Celebrating Jesus:

Ah,the pinnacle of this whole season! This whole life! Without His momentous arrival, there would be no joy, no light, no peace.

We have a Christmas Eve service every year with the younger Sunday School groups presenting a play to share the great joy of His birth and the miracle of salvation through His death and resurrection. I rejoice that through a lot of innovation mixed with the necessary caution, the way has been paved for a version of this tradition to go on. It is one of my supreme joys in this season to watch our young share the Good News.

We also sit down and read the Christmas story from Luke as a family before tucking in for the night. I love the reminder of what all this celebrating is about. May we ever remember. 😊

And to all this, I can think of one category I simply must add, as this is an area I look forward to each year:

Movies:

Well, obviously, I have a fondness for Charlie Brown Christmas, but the movie that ties is “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

No movie so captures the struggle we can have in this life with feeling a failure or the shock and the joy of knowing the unexpected impact we can have. It reminds me yearly of the intense value He sees in us, in spite of us. 😊

Ok…so…nominations:

Linda Lee at A Blog About Healing From PTSD

Alan at Fuel for the Race

Mandy at Blue Collar Theologian

And, really, anyone that reads and feels so inspired!

Thanks for reading my sizable spiel here and Merry, Blessed Christmas, my friends!

18 thoughts on “Christmas My Favorite Things Tag

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