Was your Christmas a happy one? I hope so!
Ours was lovely. I loved having Christmas on a Sunday and was utterly flummoxed to hear that church was cancelled for some people. ??? Andrew woke up at 5 am to give his gift to Papa (we've properly indoctrinated him with this book through the years), doing morning chores in the barn for him. Afterward, we all gathered for present giving. Church. Feasting. Neighbors came in the evening and all was quiet and calm and peaceful with an undertone of joy and gladness.
Bigger gift exchanges followed over New Years, including us hosting my side of the family which fills the house to the brim with mostly children. The "cousins" all draw names for a gift exchange. Adele' stitched up a backpack which was downright adorable (I stitched around the mouse and she did all the other sewing) to go along with an Angelina Ballerina book. Judah painted a canvas and I painted a silhouette overtop. There was jewelry made, stationary, headbands, a cowl, some hats, canned goods, woodburned spoons and ornaments and (my personal favorites) two peg doll nativity sets. One for my niece and nephew and one for Ineke (though Adele' enjoys playing with it as much or more.) Matt made the mangers and I painted the dolls. (I really love painting peg people!) My favorites were the three kings and the camels. I used gold nailpolish in those super skinny brushes to add gold accents which just made them, in my opinion. The stars on the manger were made from sculpey clay.
The neighbors all got freshly made cinnamon rolls and peppermint ornaments and our church folk all got homemade cheeses. A few gifts were scrapped at about 1 am because of too little fabric, too many failed attempts and too little gumption and a few gifts never made it from idea to reality. Christmas seems such a wonderful time to make and do the things I wish I could do all year long that I inevitably keep adding to the list until it becomes a virtual impossibility. My favorite gift of all the childrens' was a wooden castle cast-off that my Mom passed along to us. I've wanted one of those for the children for a very long time but they are too costly. I am so grateful she shared it with us! Painted castle peg people were one of those gifts that never made it to fruition. Thankfully, we have playmobil people that work quite nicely. We also have an Ineke who loves the castle for her very own. She must be part princess.
Many of the children at our church took part in a little production at church and recited memory poems on Sunday. Ours did the advent poems from here. (I, II, III, IV). They all worked very hard on them and did very well in reciting them every day. It was their first time performing for an audience, which is always a bit nerve-wracking and Adele' withered a bit...but she persevered until the end, even through some tears. I was very proud of all of them. Not just my own children but all the children who stood up there nervously and did their recitations and sang. There is nothing sweeter.
I spent yesterday and today cleaning up all the Christmas things. Christmas is officially packed up in boxes once again, with the exception of a few strands of Christmas lights here and there to keep some sparkle around for these dark and cold winter days ahead. The living room is sparse and bare. It always takes some getting used to- the plainness following Christmas.
But plainness is a good thing too. It provides opportunity for quiet and slow and undistracted, clean and clear and uncluttered. Space. Focus. All these things are things I could really, really, really use right now. There are many plans, many hopes, many goals for this New Year all swirling about my brain right now. Focus is definitely a good thing.
There is nothing quite so exciting as a new year stretched before you, and all the wonder of what it might hold. Happy New Year!