Kicking off Christmas early during the week of Thanksgiving has made for a wonderful Christmastime for me. My children met friends and family whom I cherish, and we spent time with them doing and seeing things we never have before. The time we shared was split with people who made us feel loved and welcome and some who set the stage for us to feel decidedly unwelcome. There was no in between. And while it felt bad to be ill treated, I'm glad for the experience. My children were able to see quite blatantly how to treat guests—whether they are family or friends. The experience added to our ability to appreciate the gladness that we do share with others, creating space for us to feel the spirit of Christmas all the more.
Another way we've made Christmas last a little longer is going to see Christmas lights a couple more times than normal, and taking pictures with our little Santa Claus doll has been a very fun time indeed. I can't forget how we have watched all of our Christmas movies together too.
The one thing that hasn't happened yet this year, and it probably needs to happen tomorrow night or it won't is going caroling. The attrition rate around here for willing carolers is high, and I think it might be the end of that era for at least a while if not for always. And I'm sad about it. I don't know if I should make my children go because they will appreciate it later, or if I should just hang it up, and let it go. Rest assured, I've listened to every Christmas CD I own, bought more Christmas music files, and I've been creating a playlist that will hopefully be complete before Christmas. I'm not lacking in Christmas music, but I sure am lacking in the rejoicing in caroling to neighbors tradition I enjoy so much.
No matter what, I have felt loved this year. I hope I've helped others to feel loved. And I am filled with joy that it is Christmas this week!