I have had the most wonderful holiday season....and its because of the little things. My holiday season started off with a down-home wreath making party held the Sunday after Thanksgiving. My middle son, Nick, and I went to one of my best friend's (and most avid reader ;) to her relaxed, welcoming, pot luck wreath party. We both were wreath making virgins and neglected to bring a wreath ring, so we borrowed one and Nick made a beautiful wreath that is now hanging on our front door.
Actually back up a second, my holiday season started on Black Friday. My youngest, Travis and I went shopping from 7am to 1pm and pretty much did 90% of my shopping. On top of that, he wrapped most of it when we got home! I have great boys.
Fast forward a little to Christmas eve, I started my morning with a pre-dawn run with my chicas. I have been staying off the roads and running at the gym, so it was great to see my girls. I miss them, but my body needs a break from the pounding on the roads.
After the run, I hung out with my sweetie, Stan and Travis most of the day. We ran around doing the bulk of Stan's shopping ! and the last minute details of mine. Then we went to Friendly's for our Christmas eve dinner! It was easy and stress-free and I loved it. After our dinner, we went our separate ways for a while to wrap and organize for the next day.
I brought my youngest to his dad's house at about 8. It's always hard to share my kid on the holidays but it's is also nice to know how many people love him. My two older boys' dad died ten years ago, so there's no sharing, I get them all to myself. They see his family sometime after Christmas. These two aspects can be hard on the holidays, but this year it was fine.
Since their little brother went to his dad's, my older boys were able to ask for some more grown up type of celebrating. Stan, Nick and I went to my childhood church's midnight mass. It was absolutely beautiful, those Catholics really know how to create a beautiful service. The decorations, music, the lighting were magical. The priest is from Poland and sang a traditional Polish hymn that was just amazing, he was so vulnerable and humble up there in front of a packed house. I was so glad I went. I am not a practicing Catholic anymore, I can't wrap my head around pro-life beliefs or that women aren't allowed roles of leadership. I joined the United Church of Christ about 16 years ago and I love my church, but the Catholic church really has the ritual and symbolizim thing down. I miss the rituals sometime.
After the mass, we came home. I immediately crashed while Stan and Nick stayed up doing whatever people who don't need sleep do! I don't know what they do, I am always asleep. I know there's lots of eating and card-playing going on. I think they made a fire too. Poor Santa :)
We woke up late, around 8. Tommy, the oldest and the one that needs sleep like his mom, got up and cuddled with us for about an hour. I love that my 16 year old, 6 foot son cuddles with me, we gabbed and joke until I feel like being vertical. We woke up Nick at 9 and started the present portion of the day. We were done by about 9:15!!! We even did it civilized too, one present at a time but when there's only two kids opening it just doesn't take that long. We made a big breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon and bagels and fruit. It was awesome. Then I cleaned up and started on the dishes I was bringing to share later on that day.
One of my favorite parts of having a low stress holiday was after I finished my dishes, Tommy and I went for a snowy hike at one of our favorite spots. It was totally great. We hiked and talked about Emerson and Thoreau or rather I received a lecture comparing and contrasting both authors. I learn something everyday from my kiddos.
We headed home for showers after trying to find a Dunkin Donuts open to no avail. I was craving a Peppermint Mocha Latte BAD, but oh well I will have to indulge today. Dunkin Donuts employees were off on Christmas. Good for them, bad for addicts like me.
For dinner, Tom, Nick and I went to Stan's mom's house. We had cornish game hen, potatoes, collard greens, cabbage and a bunch of other stuff and man it was good. His family is very welcoming and fun. After that we went to my mother's for dessert and the all-too-much-fun Yankee Swap and I picked number ONE! Yeah for me! I chose an interesting bag of loot...corndog breath mints, grow your own jesus and be saved toy, and a james dean puzzle. If that was the number one present, you can imagine what the others were. The Yankee Swap always brings some fun to end the holidays.
I think my holidays were awesome because I did things that mattered to me. I loved the midnight mass and the Christmas eve run with my girls and Christmas hike with my son. It helped that Travis and I shopped and wrapped early as well. It opened up time to do the stuff I love with the people I love. Hope your holidays were also as enjoyable. Happy New Year!