Wednesday, December 21, 2011

# 156 - Christmas in January

For Christmas, our family gets in the kitchen and makes goodies. Lots of goodies.

Stefie dipping the pretzels in chocolate.
And, she looks cute with the washable
tattoo that Shaye, her cousin, gave to her!
Washable. Whew! And, I also have one
that Shaye gave me, on my leg. Actually,
it is not as"washable" as I thought
it would be.
I'm one tired Momma at this point, but still
in mechanical mode, in the housecoat. Lovely.

Deputy Dave making his delicious New Orleans Pralines.

I'm now bagging the treats in separate baggies and
then we put them into Christmas gift bags with
a list of all goodies inside.

I learned to make these peanut butter balls while in
Junior High home-making class. Ever since then, it's
a requirement that I make these for my family at Christmas.

Stefie is putting the finishing touches on
her Peppermint Bark...a mixture of milk chocolate,
white chocolate and shattered candy canes. Yum!

Stefie and her daddy, making the goodies
that have become our signature items at

The parties begin. Stefie and Brice
are enjoying the young children in the
family opening their gifts.

Here is my Uncle Billy (my mom's brother) and his wife,
my Aunt Sheila. I love these two people more than
I could ever express in words. Everyone should be blessed
to have an uncle as I was gifted with by God.
And Sheila is such a beautiful person, inside and out.

Of course, here is our Shaye, my niece, getting
her raccoon hat.

My brother is passing out the gifts, my brother-in-law Warren has
his camera ready and my dad is standing nearby.
My sister Robin and my sister-in-law Mary are sitting
on the sofa and all of my nieces and nephews are
in the middle opening their gifts.

Next party...

Stefie and Brice never missing a beat in the background.
I am enjoying a bit of relaxed conversation with my husband's
sister-in-law, Susan. We are good at finding a spot and
hiding out! Bad girls!

I'm in the center here with my in-laws.
I'm standing next to my sister-in-law, Kathy,
(wearing black) who rarely
attends family functions because of conflicts, so we
were glad she could make it to the Christmas
gathering. My mother-in-law and father-in-law
are in town, in their RV, for the holidays, and
my husband's brothers and his sister-in-laws
are in the family photo --- we always enjoy
our time together. It's weird to see all of
us getting older!!!

And here is my beautiful friend, Lisa. I adopted her as a friend many
years ago. She lost her husband about a year and a half ago and
is now raising a 12 year old son and a 14 year old son as a widow.
I admire and love her so dearly, she is an inspiration. We've known
each other for about 25 years and she only gets sweeter each year!
 And that is part of our Christmas activities for this year. We've actually toned it down and decided to not attend as many parties as usual. It's been rather peaceful.

Deputy Dave and I are very flexible with our celebration schedule and for those of you who have grown children, you know that this is a requirement of being a parent to adult children...Flexibility.

So, we are actually putting off our own intimate Christmas gathering until January. We've done this a few times before throughout the years and it is awesome. We call it, "Christmas in January."

The story behind this could be lengthy, but I will give you a synopsis and let you know that this tradition began after I had been in the hospital and not released until Christmas Eve...and I'd been so very sick, for so long, that Christmas shopping was the last thing on my list, nor on Deputy Dave's list because he was holding down the fort by himself.

However, I sat in that hospital room, with hospital tweezers the nurses had given me and I "blinged" out the cell phones we were giving to our daughters...I sat in my hospital bed for days and days and painstakingly put tiny jewels on their phones. Our daughters were rather young, but they were getting cell phones because I was in the hospital so often and the phones gave them added reassurance to be able to get in touch with me a bit easier. Since I could not be at home with them, at least they could call me. If I was not off for some kind of horrific test, then I was able to talk with them and it gave them power over our powerless situation.

And yes, they were allowed to take their cell phone to school...they never got into trouble over having a cell phone because they knew how to be respectful and discreet, usually calling me every day during their lunch break. Actually, the school's administration and teachers were aware of our situation; they knew I was critically ill, so no one ever made a big deal out of the phones and my daughters never took advantage of their privilege that came through hard circumstances.

Since I had two cardio-thoracic surgeries with extensive hospital stays, this time of communicating with my daughters meant the world to me.

Me and my girls...picture taken just last week.
And the rest is history...we put off our Christmas celebration for a few more weeks to give me the strength to make it into a store for shopping, but they did get their blinged out cell phones on Christmas day.

These days, it works out to have "Christmas in January" for different reasons. But, the meaning of this off kilter time-frame has deep meaning to our family. Since my oldest daughter, Heather, will not have enough time off from work to make the arduous journey home from the Dallas area until January, we will be holding off on celebrating our own Christmas until January. This also lessens the pressure to spread her love around with Henry's family and ours at the same time...hard to do when the two families live five hours apart.

Trying to please everyone at Christmastime can be a miserable experience. I want Christmas in our house to be welcomed and relaxed and fun. Besides, where is the birth certificate that says Jesus was born on December 25th? He is in our heart year-round. And I promise that He is with us during the spirit of giving, even if we aren't calendar-oriented in our celebration.

It's a weird tradition, but it works for our family.

The best part is, we get to focus on our extended family and friends throughout the holidays and not feel so drained and exhausted during our own celebrations. Not to mention, we get to take advantage of awesome after Christmas sales for our "Christmas in January."

In the coming years, if our adult kids get too tied up during December to have a relaxed, enjoyable Christmas at home, we just might make this a permanent annual tradition. I can imagine our future grandkids now...the horrible, anxious, itchy fingers that can barely wait for "Christmas in January" might seem too agonizing to endure, but it would definitely be a unique and memorable family Christmas celebration.

Just when the celebrations are over...we ARE GETTING STARTED!!! Christmas AFTER Christmas is actually pretty cool.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, whether you celebrate today or next month...



Charade said...

I can smell the goodies from here, and I want to follow my nose right to your house. And January works for me, too. Having been raised in a traveling circus - I mean in a nomadic Army family - we always said about any holiday, "Christmas is where you are, when you are." Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Melodie said...

You should save one of those goodie bags for a blog friend giveaway,lol!
My Hubby is often away for holidays,we celebrate when ever he is home and we are all the happier for it!

Paula said...

All your goodies look so wonderful! I love being in the kitchen this time of year baking sweet treats.
Looks like your family had a fun gathering.. I know what you mean- it gets harder and harder to get everybody together in one place anymore.
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!