Here are 12 signs of Christmas at the Smith House:
1. Black Friday ~ I’m almost embarrassed to admit that 97% of the time Thanksgiving was discussed this year, the words “And Black Friday is the next day, right?!” came bubbling out as well. I could write 12 posts just from all the adventures of that day.
Even MaryAnn enjoyed it!
2. Visiting Santa ~ I don’t think any family had as much fun rolling around in the fake snow at the North Pole than we did. (I know because as we walked around the mall afterwards, people stared and the Lego store workers were truly confused as to why we had white stuff sprinkled all over us.)
And because Santa pictures are $$ and we obeyed the rule about not sneaking any snapshots of our own, and Cienna wasn’t about to get close to a strange white-bearded man anyways (she even kept her distance from the innocent first-grader playing Santa at the local school play), the only picture with Santa is an attempted one from the glass elevator afterwards…but Kenny’s the only one in it and you can’t really see Santa, so I’ll keep it tucked away in our photo archives.
3. Castles and Forts made of Presents ~
4. Concerts and Parties Galore ~ Choir, band, orchestra, dance, school play, zoo lights…we hit them all for lots of festive joy. And if you want, you can imagine our family (minus MaryAnn) standing up on a stage wearing elf hats and playing “Deck the Halls” on our chimes at our church Christmas party. Good times.
5. 12 Days ~ To remember the 12 Christmases we’ve had as a family, we sent 12 little gifts to our cousins around the country so they could celebrate with us, too. The kids helped gather and prepare things and Allison discovered her love of present-wrapping.
6. Secrets and Surprises ~ The house was full of whispers and hiding spots, planning and plotting. On one day, I heard some quiet hustling in the basement. After an hour or so, the kids “surprised” me with this:
An attempt to re-organize the entire basement.
(Thankfully, the basement looks like a tornado zone regularly, so I wasn’t that surprised. And instead, we spent some lovely bonding hours together surprising Dad…which is a shock if the basement is clean and it’s not Deep Cleaning Day.)
7. Gingerbread Houses with Friends ~
8. Good Food and Great Company on Christmas Eve ~ We hosted…time to dig out the table leafs and the China. Thanks for coming, Family! We always love sharing food, laughs, and love with you. And MaryAnn enjoyed her first taste of sweet potatoes. Mmm.
9. Falling Asleep by the Christmas Tree in Dad’s Arms and Falling Asleep in the Backpack because Mom is Busy ~
10. Christmas Eve Nativity ~ There are many Christmas stories we like to tell each year and the Nativity is, of course, our favorite. It’s especially refreshing to see our children’s personal interpretations. This year, our Nativity included innocent politically correct possibilities like Mary (Kirsti) pulling Joseph (Adorable Cousin Alan) on the donkey, three tough wise men (Uncle Brad, Kenny, and Diggy) wearing Jedi costumes, a beautiful angel (Allison) with a purple halo, and Cheer Bear (Cienna) assisting a very precious Baby Jesus (MaryAnn). Diggy shared a “We Three Kings” variation on piano. Kenny and Kirsti played “Silent Night” on strings. And Kenny favored us with a jammin’ saxophone rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High”.
11. Presents and Lots of Hugs ~ The anticipation and sharing of presents is full of heart-warming moments. Among many exciting gifts was THE Pink Phone from the Dollar Store. The discovery of it de-railed Cienna from picking out gifts for her siblings nearly a month ago. But, thankfully, her very aware 4-yr-old sister noticed her meltdown (actually the whole store noticed) and sneaked the Pink Phone into her basket as her “Cienna Gift”. Many more tears were shed throughout the month whenever Cienna remembered that she still didn’t own it (and have I mentioned what a great memory Cienna has??)…We were all so glad when the long wait to “see if you get the Pink Phone for Christmas” was over for Cienna. She called everyone with it to thank them for presents all day long. **long exhale**
12. Worshiping Him Whose Birthday We Celebrate ~ Having Christmas fall on Sunday was extra special because that meant attending church together and feeling the strong Spirit we always feel when we remember our Savior Jesus Christ.