Friday, December 11, 2009

Let The Good Times Roll

As with every household this time of year, things have been slightly crazy here. We're madly dashing about, trying to keep up with all of the events\traditions that are a big part of this holiday season. The house is fully decorated with accompanying light strands hanging from various locations outside. This despite below zero temps in our neck of the woods. ;)

In way of good news, I finally finished up a project I've been working on for a couple of weeks for Kennon's side of the family. Whew! I'd reveal what it is, but they have a habit of periodically reading my blog posts, so mum is the word for now. Just know it's really neat and I'm hoping they'll love it.

I finally found the item on the tag I drew from this year's angel tree for our valley. Can I just say it wasn't easy?! ;) It involved traveling to another town to secure the heart wish of a five-year-old boy. To me, this kind of thing makes the holiday season complete.

I made round one of the candy I normally stir up this time of year. And most of it is already gone. Sigh . . . Oh, well---I guess that's a good sign. ;) Today I'll be making up my grandmother's old-fashioned caramel recipe. Yes, it's melt-in-your mouth goodness!!! Something we look forward to each year.

Once all of the candy is made, then it's time to put plates together for neighbors, and the lucky people I visiting teach, and home teach with my husband. (Yes, I'm doing double-duty in that realm these days. Good times.)

Most of the gifts for family and friends have been purchased. They're all still waiting for a wrap session in the near future. I'm anticipating tackling that duty tomorrow. And I still have a couple of packages to get in the mail if they are to arrive before Christmas Day.

Speaking of items that go in the mail, I have a mountain of Christmas cards that need attention. I'm not sure when I'll work that in. If you're reading this and you haven't received a card yet from me, no worries--they'll show up eventually.

Tomorrow is our ward's adult Christmas party. Every year we dress up and gather at the church for a delicious gourmet meal. It usually involves roasted beef or pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies-and-or-salad, and all kinds of fancy desserts. Then as we sit back wondering how we managed to eat so much, we are entertained by a traditional Christmas program. It is filled with music and humor, and ends with something tender about the birth of our Savior.

For this year's event, I've been asked to round up a handful of YW from our ward (since I'm still their fearless leader) to help serve the food. This is proving interesting since our numbers are dwindling in the Young Women realm. We're currently down to five very busy Laurels, four Mia Maids, and one Beehive. Good luck to me I say. =D

Two of those girls are starring in a local high school musical. (My husband and I went to see it the other night and were so impressed. This year's musical production is "The Secret Garden," possibly one of the most difficult musicals performed by our high school to this date and time. And they've done a fabulous job with it.)
At least two of our YW have been sick all week with the gumbooie (My pet name for an undesirable bug) and one has been in Utah, stranded because of the weather. So today, I need to call around and see what I can come up with for serving girls. I wonder if I could borrow some from another ward . . .

I'm still in the planning stages for the traditional Christmas Eve festivities. All of our kids will be here for this event this year and we're really looking forward to all of it. It has been a tradition in my side of the family to create fun finger-foods, fondue, and yummy seafood like scalloped oysters and shrimp prepared in Louisiana shrimp boil for this dinner.

When I was a young girl, I loved Christmas Eve and all of the fun foods my mother created each year. This tradition started in her family when she was a little girl, and it has been a favorite holiday celebration ever since.

Years ago, our bishop at the time, gave each family a small white Christmas stocking. He challenged us to use it each year, giving gifts to the Savior as part of our celebration. Since then, our family has faithfully adhered to this important tradition. We gather around the Christmas tree and take the white stocking down. We empty out the pieces of paper we wrote on the year before and hand them around. Since this is a very private and personal thing, we never divulge to each other what our gift to the Savior has been during the past year. Usually it is something like being more Christ-like, rendering service to those around us, etc.

After we ponder how well we did with our gifts to the Savior, we use new pieces of paper to write down what our gift will be during the coming year. Then this stocking is hung in my china cabinet where we can see it all year---a reminder of our pledge to our Elder Brother.
This is a great way to keep our focus where it needs to be during this holiday season. A quiet reminder of what it's all about.

As we all continue to bustle about, preparing for the days ahead, may we periodically reflect on the reason for the season. Take the time to enjoy loved ones and favorite traditions without getting bogged down by life's crazy demands. Enjoy each day as it comes and do as much good as your heart can hold. That is when Christmas miracles begin to take place, and when the holiday spirit comes to life.

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