I love the way the house looks from the street when it's all lit up with Christmas lights. McKay kept his blinds open every night in December so he could fall asleep with all the lights from outside filling his room.
One of my favorite things about Christmas is these books. When the kids were little, I would wrap them all right after Christmas and put this basket under the tree, and they would unwrap a different one and read it every night until Christmas. Now we just read them all on Christmas Eve. I love that this basket is filled with great stories and that my kids were as excited to read them this year as they were when they were toddlers.
I love our Christmas tree. My favorite thing is to have the dining room lit up every night with the lights from that tree.
I love the way the presents gradually fill up the space underneath the tree. My mom made that beautiful tree skirt.
Every ornament on this tree means something to our family. We always pick up a Christmas ornament from the vacations we go on. This one was from our trip to Florida this year.
I got this one last December when Craig and I were in Scottsdale.
I have every ornament my kids have ever made…sometimes multiples because they each made the same one.
There is a small collection of T ornaments that I've found over the years.
And baby ornaments for each of the kids…except Megan. I'll have to write a blog post about that next year when she finally has her own baby ornament on the tree.
There are a handful of ornaments made by my grandmother and my great aunt that I love to be able to put on my tree. This one was actually made by my dad. He was secretly crafty. He got a kit one year thinking that we could make these together and he turned out to be so much better at all the tedious pinning of sequins on Mrs. Claus' little dress. Every time I look at this ornament, I think about my dad's huge hands meticulously pinning on every one of those little beads and sequins. Amazing man...
I always mourn those days in January when the Christmas baking comes to an end, and the decorations have to be put away. The house seems to go from beautifully filled with color to cold and stark. All of those corners where poinsettias and lights have been are now just empty. I always think at this time of year that I need to find some kind of interim decorations so that it's not such a sad transition.
I like the chance to clean those corners, though. And the opportunity for organization that comes with a new year. I might love this transition more if I had the energy to do it all at once like I usually do. But gradual is good, too. It's good to have the kids help with all the stuff that usually appears and disappears while they're all at school. And it's given me a chance to appreciate what a blessing it is to have 100% energy. In my head, I'm thinking that I never want to waste a minute of energy again, but…I'm sure an occasional day on the couch will slip in there.
I'm grateful for yet another amazing Christmas season, for traditions that the kids have come to look forward to and love. I'm grateful that this year necessity made it possible for them to learn to make some of those family recipes that I always worry will be lost forever when they leave. I'm grateful to have been surrounded by family and friends who we love. And as always, I'm grateful for the abundance that comes from the knowledge of the Savior's love for each one of us. What a great year 2013 has been.