Friday, December 7, 2012

'Tis the Season!

I love Christmas.A LOT.

I love snow, givinggifts, hot chocolate, baking, watching Christmas movies, smiling (smiling is myfavorite), decorating and the feeling I still get on Christmas morning. I havebeen trying to keep that Christmas momentum going in 93 degree heat, with noHallmark Christmas channel and no oven to bake cookies. It has beenchallenging.

It started theweek of Thanksgiving. I gathered a few of the kids to make a classic chain linkpaper count down. We quickly learned that glue sticks and construction paperaren’t friends in the humidity. We enforced the chain link with some kind ofwhite tape. It doesn’t look flawless. Martha Stewart would be horrified. But itlooks like it was a labor of love.

Next, Idiscovered a new found passion for making paper snowflakes. I quickly sharedwith the kids the complicated art of paper folding. With a little imaginationand some stellar scissor skills, the kids started mastering this great art(they really are pretty). Without my supervision and during school, theystarted making more of them, out of ANYpaper. Pretty soon I was receiving school assignment snowflakes, bonbon wrappersnowflakes and trash snowflakes. I thanked them genuinely, letting them knowthat future flakes could be kept to decorate their own space. I decided it was time for a new craft. I started“collecting” toilet paper rolls pending a pinterest craft I would undoubtedlyfind. Three toilet paper rolls later and I am still looking.

I diverted myattention to party planning. The children receive a lot. They constantly haveteams coming down that shower them with candy, gifts and games. I decided itwas important to focus on the greatest gift ever given. I wanted to provide the kids with the opportunity to give this season. The idea hasculminated into a “Giving Gala” where each child gets to give a gift to anotherchild. The second party will be a surprise Christmas Celebration for the staff.The kids will be serving the staff for a change in a mock restaurant setting. Eachkid has volunteered for a role at the party. With details swirling in my head Irealized I had to think about my Christmas plans for my visit home too!

I startedmentally scheduling all the extended family and friends I want to see. Ibrainstormed ideas to make sure that Greg, who I will see in for the 1sttime in 112 days (but who’s counting), has the best time ever in my hometown. I started Christmasshopping via amazon for my family. Not to mention I still had to figure out howto make sure it snows.  With all theseplans pending, I realized I was getting a little stressed.

Oh Irony!

Far away fromBlack Friday, Christmas sales and ELF re-runs, with no Douglas Fir or EvergreenWreath in sight. No Christmas e-vites crowding my inbox. No elf on my shelf. Nocookie exchanges, secret Santa or Ugly Christmas Sweater parties to attend. Iwas still feeling overwhelmed. My Christmas was already becoming too much. Iwasn’t thinking about the “reason for the season,” I was wrapping myself up insome abstract form of people pleasing.

I would love tomaster every Christmas craft, become an expert gift giver and dominate everydelicious Christmas dessert. I think all of these things are great but they canquickly take the focus off of why Christmas is such an incredible holiday.

The First Noelgot off to a spectacularly simple start. Mary, Joseph and a manger that heldthe greatest gift ever given, Jesus. I think it’s important toremember that.

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