Christmas is NOT Cancelled, It’s ON!

So, I read this article/blog post about cancelling Christmas.

And then I got sad.  And then I panicked because what if I’m-a-lesser-Christian-because-I-haven’t-cancelled-Christmas-for-my-own-sinful-children.  They take after their mama.  But I’m sure not gonna cancel Christmas for myself.  Nope, I like presents.  I guess I’m entitled.

Now we did try the 3 symbolic gifts last year for gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And it felt very religious of us, but it didn’t feel right, for us.  We’ve certainly debated Santa (and the verdict is…he’s coming!).  In fact he’ll be arriving early.  He’s coming on the 22nd because he knows we have very special family that we like to spend the holidays with.  So he comes special for us so we can have our Christmas at our house and have Christmas with all our family.  He sure does like family.

And I’ve certainly debated how many presents are enough and how many are too many.  Should we do a set number or a set dollar amount?  Should we?  Shouldn’t we?  Should we?

And I think I’ve landed on the other side of the fence.  We’re doing Christmas!  The more the merrier, right?  You see, one of my love languages is gifts.  I love to give ’em and get ’em.  I plan all year for this, literally.  I put money aside out of our budget every month to save for Christmas.  I buy gifts all year long as I think of things and see things that I think the people that I love would love.  I have lists and lists for this.

But back to my children and the child psychologist that I am NOT.  They get two days a year, Christmas and their birthday.  Or, one, if you’re my Hannah.  I really just have a hard time believing that it’s going to completely ruin them and turn them into entitled sinners if they get too many presents for Christmas.  I mean, they’re already entitled little sinners before all this Christmas stuff even came into discussion, right?  So, maybe it’s not so bad for us to give them presents on Christmas (and their birthday and any other day we want).  Maybe it’s okay for them to know that they’re special and that people who love them spent time and money buying/making them presents.  Maybe they’ll be ungrateful.  Maybe they’ll be thankful.  Maybe they’ll cry.  Maybe they’ll laugh.  And maybe, in the end, it’ll all be ok.

And, honestly, I like to buy presents for my kids.  My kids, my entitled, selfish, spoiled, hateful, mean, and sinful children.  Why?  Because I love them no matter what.  Their getting of gifts doesn’t depend on their attitude or behavior.  You see where this is going, right?  I happen to think that I reflect the Father a little when I give good gifts to my children.  He certainly does this for me.  And the reality is that he outgives me every time.  (Matthew 7:11 “ If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”)  Now, I’m no Bible scholar or child psychologist and I’ve not done any studies or surveys, so surely don’t just take my word for it.  But, I think I turned out ok.  And we had a nativity and Santa growing up.  I love Jesus and Santa.  I mean, not in the same way or anything, but still, they both give me good gifts without me asking or deserving it.

P.S. – And please don’t cancel Christmas just because some chick and some dude in blogland did and it got posted on the Today show website.


We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Broadcast

It is Valentine’s week after all.  I have a love hate relationship with Valentine’s Day.  On one hand it’s a great way to set aside time with your significant other.  On the other hand it can be a total letdown, totally crappy for the singles and unhappily married, and generally speaking totally overrated.  Oh yeah, and awkward, did I mention awkward.  It can be awkward.

Here are a couple of my thoughts to make it less sucky for somebody in your life.

If you’re married/attached to someone, spend a few extra dollars and buy a single friend a valentine.  They might not get one otherwise.

If you’re single, offer to baby-sit for the ol’ married folk with small children.  They will forever be grateful.

If you’re married, make a plan ahead of time so the disappointment is minimized.

If you’re single, get a bunch of other singles together and go out.  Spend some money and enjoy your night.

(Mom, Dad, Grandma, Siblings, Family, this is your warning…you may want to skip over this next one.)

If you’re married, make a new rule…Valentine’s Day gifts for each other must relate to the bedroom.  Get creative.  This works for any budget!

If you’re a parent, take your kiddos out on short dates one child at a time.  They’ll each get to feel special.  There’s always Rural King…free fun, free popcorn.   Or maybe that’s just my girls’ favorite place.

And remember, it’s only one day to endure and maybe it’ll be better than you think.  I challenge you to take a few moments during the day and be genuinely grateful for the people you like that God put in your life.  Chances are that he gave you at least one, c’mon…at least one, probably more, person/people/animals that you truly love and are grateful for.  Oh, and there’s that whole Jesus dying on the cross thing where God loved you beyond comprehension.  You could be grateful for that.  God gave you His everything.  Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad.

Good luck, team.  I wish you the best.


What is your best Valentine’s gift or ritual?


Merry Christmas and Here’s to as Few Fits, Tantrums, and Outbursts as Possible

I’m hoping for a Christmas miracle.  We already got snow, so I’m hoping that we’re in for a few more miracles since they’ve started so early.

I just want to publicly confess my tensions rising as Christmas draws nearer and nearer.  I love it.  I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m pretty much a 5 year old on the inside.  However, I also feel like it’s a bit of a ginormous freight train headed right for me and I’m powerless to stop it.  ha  That might even be a bit of an understatement.  hehe *wicked giggle*

5 days of multiple big family events.  The pressure of opening gifts in front of people.  The pressure of giving gifts in front of people.  The pressure of sharing food that I cooked/baked.  The pressure of my children’s reactions and behaviors.  The pressure of being away from my house and my routine.  I feel like I’m about to be hit by a train or better yet, trapped in a pressure cooker.

I’m going to go ahead and spare myself and you all the awkwardness.  My children will melt down.  My children will awkwardly ask for more presents.  My children will not like what you got them, or they’ll like what you got their sister more.  My children will make a mess or break something.  My children will act their age, which, as of tomorrow, will be 3 and 4, and as of Christmas, will be 3 and 5.  Yep, I’m going to remind you that not only is it Christmas, but also their birthdays.  My children will not say thank you.  They will forget your name.  They will certainly embarrass me and maybe you too.  But to be fair, I’m probably going to embarrass myself too.  I’ll forget your name.  I won’t like what you got me.  You won’t like what I got you.  Or, I’ll have forgotten to buy you a present.  You won’t like my food.  You won’t like something.

There.  It’s over.  The awkwardness is over.  The tension over waiting for it to come is over.  It’s inevitable anyways, there is no perfect Christmas.  There are no perfect children.  There are no perfect family events.  There are no perfect cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, nieces, nephews, spouses, siblings, etc., etc.

I’ve taken the pressure off.  Unplug the stupid pressure cooker.  Now that I have reminded myself that my desire for a perfect event and my unrealistic expectations is ridiculous I feel better.  Maybe I can actually enjoy the holidays, my children, and the family events.

Afterall, it’s really not about the stuff, the beauty of my children, the pressure on the family events, it’s about baby  Jesus.  And who doesn’t love a baby?  Especially a baby that is Jesus.  Nothing beats being unconditionally loved, accepted, wanted, treasured, gifts poured out on, an always available shoulder and lap, the pressure taken off, fought for, and made new.  Everything on my list.

Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Wouldn’t that be great?  To still be singing when the evening comes.  To know that we survived Christmas and actually enjoyed it and felt loved and fought for.  I think for me the goal is going to be singing His song this Christmas and not my own.  Thank goodness for baby Jesus.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll sing like never before on this Christmas.

It is, afterall, a birthday party.  Happy Birthday, baby Jesus!

And Hannah Grace.  (Dec 25)

And Leah Noel (Dec 21)