December 16, 2014

All is Calm, All is Bright

"I, with you, have witnessed during the past few days and weeks what has become over the years the annual commercialization of Christmas. I am saddened to see Christmas becoming less and less about Christ and more and more about marketing and sales, parties and presents."
"And yet, Christmas is what we make of it. "
Thomas S. Monson 

My December is exactly what I make of it, and it isn't decorated with deals and frazzled with functions.

In my December, all is calm and all is very bright.

I developed a tradition when my oldest was just a baby.  It was a practice started out of shear survival and has continued out of deliberate preservation of the holiday we celebrate.

I don't know whether to share it with pride or embarrassment - because it does reveal that I am mildly OCD.  But this blog has probably given indication to that already.  So, might as well come out and say it. . .

My Christmas presents are all purchased and wrapped by the first week of November.

Think of me as super organized or think of me as super weird.  I am fine either way.

The billable year for my husband's law firm comes to a close at the end of September.  I always was alone all waking (and most non-waking) hours, 6 days of the week through August and September.  I decided to occupy myself during that otherwise lonely time by thinking about the perfect presents for everyone.  I would make all of my Christmas purchases then and have them wrapped and tucked away until Christmas.  Thirteen years later I still carry on that practice, not because of the ending of the billable year, but because it makes Christmas all the merrier.  By removing all of the commercial consumption out of my December, our Christmas becomes exactly what I make of it.

Our December has nothing to do with presents, and everything to do with remembering the Gift.  

Our December is filled with concerts of music celebrating His birth.  Our December is filled with creating memories with friends and family and sharing the love that is a reflection of Him.  Our December is filled with evenings snuggled up tight as a family watching movies and playing games and doing the things that draw us closer together.  Our December is filled with drives in the dark to look at the beautiful lights and singing Christmas carols out of tune along with the radio and spending bedtimes cuddled reading one our dozens of Christmas stories that are collected on our coffee table. Our December is full smiling over Christmas cards received explaining to my children how each of those beautiful faces of friends and family on those cards has touched our life.  Our December is filled other lessons and activities that teach my children to understand the significance of Christmas, of sharing His love through service and about the Gift they are celebrating.  December is full of exactly what I put in it.

There are too many other times in my life when I am running too ragged, completely over scheduled and under disciplined, too many times when I do the right things for the wrong reasons or the wrong things for the right reasons -- but not my December.  Late into Christmas Eve when all of the littles are tucked into bed and I whisper to my husband to go in the basement and bring up the bin of wrapped presents that have been patiently waiting their debut for over a month, I am quite pleased with myself.  For all of my shortcomings as a mom, I feel I got December right.

"Despite all the distractions, we can see to it that Christ is at the center of our celebration. If we have not already done so, we can establish Christmas traditions for ourselves and for our families which will help us capture and keep the spirit of Christmas."

Enjoy this little video. If the thumbnail is not present, as it isn't when viewing on some mobile devices, just click on the link below: