What about a quiet, peaceful Christmas, filled with joy and time together, with lots of laughter and hugs, with contentment and warm cocoa and as much love as you could possibly give to each other, each and every day?
Wouldn't that be the very best present you could ever hope for this year?
It certainly would for me. A less hectic, more family-centered Christmas sounds like just the thing I want in my stocking this year.
Here are a few things I'm hoping to do to make that happen for us:
-- Starting this week, we're going to build in some downtime together. A game night, a puzzle that we work on a few days in a row, a movie marathon, some time with carols and Christmas decorations...you name it. But it will be something slow going and together.
-- More time just sitting around and chatting about the things that matter to all of us. For my part, I'm going to try to spend more time listening -- because people like to be heard, especially 9 year old people, and that is important to me.
-- Doing a little more for charity to lend a hand to folks who could really use one. We have Salvation Army stockings to fill with presents this week, and I'm hoping that we do quite a bit of this together. We all have fun stuffing the stockings full each year, especially The Peanut, because it means some other child gets to have a lovely Christmas, too. We do other little things every year, as opportunities to help someone in need crop up. But I feel like we ought to be doing even more, so I'd love suggestions if you have them. Having all the blessings that we have means that we have an obligation to help folks in our community and in the broader world, at least that's how I feel -- we all have a moral obligation to each other, to the least of these my bretheren, and I take that seriously.
-- Visiting older family members a little more. We stopped in to see my grandparents yesterday, and they are looking very frail these days. Even though it's a fairly long drive to get there, I'd like to get maybe one or two more trips to see them before Christmas if possible -- with The Peanut, who needs to grab this time with them while she can because I fear we have so little time left with them at this stage and having that connection in your family is so important.
-- Making Christmas about the time we spend together and not what is in the wrapped or bagged present-y avalanche that is sure to come. Some members of the family are more resistant to this than others, but I'd love to make this holiday season much more about giving of ourselves to each other and not so much about the price tag.
-- Spending some time to make something delicious together from scratch. For The Peanut, it would be a batch of snickerdoodles, which would be just fine with Mr. ReddHedd and me, too.
-- Figuring out something crafty to do together. Sometimes, just sitting and drawing or cutting or gluing (or all of the above) can be a really cathartic, fun way to spend a few hours in each others company.
Any other ideas on how to make this a better season? Please share in the comments.
I'd love for The Peanut to grow up knowing that it is who you are inside that really, truly matters, and not what you wear or get on the outside. Doing things for others -- and for each other -- and feeling a shared commitment to working together just to spend time with each other seems like a great plae to start.
(Photo by Christy Hardin Smith.)