Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Random Christmas Things

It's a quiet Christmas evening. Tomorrow the rest of the family flies in from England and the celebrations start, so this morning was pretty low-key. I sit here with Love Actually playing in the background and Elly sleeping soundly next to me while the other half of the family and the grandparents go out for ice cream (ice cream! After all the goodies and in the cold!).

So, a few things about Christmas.

My favorite Christmas music? I like the classic stuff mostly and I find it hard to branch out. Most of my playlist is made up of Kenny G, Amy Grant's Christmas CDs, the Carpenters, and my current favorite.... Harry Connick Jr.

However, this is my favorite. So, so beautiful.

And the CD we fell in love with last year is Christmas Coming Soon, which is made by a bunch of composers for Hollywood, so they are big cinematic versions that I adore. Sort of makes you feel like it's Christmas in Middle Earth or something.

Movies? Isaac has to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol every year, usually while we put up the tree. My traditional favorite is White Christmas or Holiday Inn. Most people have never heard of Holiday Inn, but actually White Christmas was a remake of Holiday Inn, ten years later. Try it out... Fred Astair, people! Embedding is disabled on all the Youtube clips. I don't really like It's a Wonderful Life much at all. My not-really-Christmas favorite is While You Were Sleeping (Chicago! Snow! These mashed potatoes are so creamy...).

I was a bit overly ambitious this year in my baking. When you have tinies you don't really have time to make four types of cookies on top of doctor's appointments and packing. However, I have to make my personal favorite, Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps. Isaac has to have frosted sugar cookies, and our friend Steph put us on to Alton Brown's recipe for them. I also make Chocolate Peanut Toffee. I love Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (otherwise known as Buckeyes). However, I'm rubbish at making them evenly, so I want to try the Pinterest Buckeye Bark next year.

Favorite traditions? I love that my in-laws call Christmas goodies "just becauses" and always say, "Hey does anyone want a sweet?.... just because."

I love that my parents fill stockings with most everything for a breakfast - oranges, applies, a box of cereal. And a toothbrush. That sort of practical thing. For some reason it's just fun.

I also love my parent's rule that the kids couldn't come out to the living room on Christmas morning until the Christmas music started playing. It meant that Mom and Dad could set things up in the morning, have a relaxing quiet time together, and us kids would gather in each others' room waiting in great excited anticipation until finally the strains of some song drifted in and we'd run to the living room together. Makes for a great picture too. We haven't had a chance to do it yet because the kids are too small, but... we will! Then, when kids are older, my family has all the kids sleep around the tree. It's incredibly cozy and just... together

I want to do Advent readings. Unfortunately, as an adult, I really haven't. Next year...

I also want to do a single gift on Christmas Eve that has Christmas jammies, socks, and maybe a hot cocoa packet... for that night.

I love going to church. Here in the US it's generally Christmas Eve. In England and Indonesia it's Christmas morning. As a kid of course it was boring but truly, it's so important to me now, the gathering together of believers to worship and remember the Incarnation. I long for the songs, the scripture reading, the remembrance of a God who became man and dwelt among us.... good news that will be for all people! Veiled in flesh the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate deity!

I'm with Sarah Bessey and her point in this beautiful post. I think that Christmas is a season most meaningful for those that have wrestled or are wrestling with sin and/or suffering. It's a beautiful, joyful season, but the reason for that joy is felt most clearly in the midst of the pain of life and humanity. That's why I love Christmas all the more as an adult.
It doesn't  matter where we are, really. The mountains of Papua, Pakistan, or Colorado. The beaches of Indonesia. The suburbs of Kansas or Texas. A beautiful English town. The meal changes, the gifts change, and I don't even really care about the gift giving time, it's a bit awkward even though I love treating people! I love snow on Christmas, truly, it's so nostalgic for me. However, it's okay if we're in the tropics, and I'll try my hardest to build in other things to make it "feel like Christmas".

What are your Christmas favorites?

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