26 October 2008

Thoughts and Plans for the Holidays

And all the loveliest things there be
Come simply, or so it seems to me
Edna St. Vincent Millay
This past week or so I have started thinking a lot about the upcoming holidays. I LOVE the holidays!! It's my favorite time of the year and I tend to go a little crazy about it. I drag out all of my Christmas themed books (of which there are many!) and my old December issues of Victoria magazine and peruse through them. I'm tempted to buy every new holiday issue of all my favorite magazines (this year I'm getting old Christmas issues at the library for .25). I start making menus and gathering recipes, old and new, that I want to make for the season. I begin a list of crafts/gifts I'd like to make. I start dreaming of all the *picture perfect* family gatherings that we'll have (you know I need a reality check on that one-ha!). In other words, I get a little carried away!

This year I've almost been a little bit afraid to think too much about the holidays, since we have so many uncertainties. My husband is in a job transition, our house is for sale, we could be moving soon and we aren't sure where that might be, the economy is pretty nuts and our budget is very tight.

But I'm certainly NOT skipping Christmas! It's truly the most wonderful time of the year!

So...I am starting my plans. I'm starting by thinking *simply*. This year I want to make more gifts by hand. I've read of families that agree to only exchange things they've made each other and I love that idea. However, I know everyone in our family may not want to do that and I'm certainly not imposing any "gift rules" (of course, if they want to I think that's great!). But I think I'm going to impose that "rule" on myself to give mostly handmade gifts. I love getting creative anyway. I'm already gathering some wonderful ideas for things to make!

Vince and I have already started discussing how we'd like to really scale back on the gifts we buy the kiddos and focus on just a few really great gifts instead. We want them to be more focused on giving rather than receiving. In the past we have participated with Angel Tree and last year we joined our church in purchasing gifts for the residents of a home for the mentally challenged. This year we are helping each kiddo fill a shoebox for Samaritan's Purse's Operation Christmas Child. I know as they grow older there will be more opportunities to volunteer together and help others, but I want them to start young in the small, simple acts of kindness and generosity.

So those are some of my beginning thoughts and plans for the holidays. I'll be sharing more very soon. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts and plans for this season, feel free to share them with me in the comments!

vintage ornaments from my collection


Terry said...

I wish we lived closer because hanging around you guys would put me in the christmas spirit!

Song Lee said...

Lora, I think it's magnificent that you are teaching the kids to give. Our idea of christmas gets out of whack, even with me. But I know giving gifts is so much fun, and I personally feel the need to give of my time. I know that you guys are guiding your children in a marvelous way, and they will grow up to be awesome Vinces and Loras. :) Love you guys!

Rachel and Jacob said...

hi there!!
i love the holidays tooo!! oh so much... the colors... the music... sigh....

Kayren, Pink Daisy Girl said...

We've done Operation Christmas Child before and it's a great experience. The kids always enjoyed it, but we never had an opportunity to do it in VA. Our church here in MI is strong on missions and has Missionary Christmas. It's coming up in a couple of weeks. There will be something like 27 missionary families here.

You know, I haven't put too much thought into gifts this year, except that I know I want to scale back too. But I always want to but never seem very successful at it.

We haven't had a Christmas tree for the past two years. Our military quarters were so small that there simply wasn't room. We put a few things in the windows and such, but that was it. That's all the kids can talk about is having a tree again, and we're excited too. We love the Christmas season. We're just ready to get in the house now so we can plan better, and it's getting a little frustrating.

I love the ornament pictures that you posted too. They are really pretty, and the pictures are professional quality. I might have to steal your idea of the countdown header too.

~ Kayren

Sharon said...

Hi Lora I've been having similar thoughts. The other day when I made another 6week appointment for something it was like mid December and then all of a sudden I realised how close Christmas but I must say I had similare thoughts to you after a little panic session because of finances and time etc.. Usually each year I do a different colour theme with my tree etc and I was thinking I might not be able to this year but then like you I thought keep it simple etc and enjoy it.. I usually buy the wire edged ribbon and shape bows for the tree and it looks really affective.. and we also are making lots of prezzies which I will share with you sometime.. At the moment we are making our own felt stockings for gifts to fill .. Better stop or this will be a book... Have fun with your mum and sister. I don't have a sister and my mum died 7 years ago and I sometimes regret often being too busy and not really having quality time with her.. Of course I have a lot of friends and sisters in Christ but never quite the same as your own..But they come awfully close..

Nancy said...

I am so with you when it comes to Christmas! I am having to force myself to "tone it down" this year, too. I got rid of a lot of my decorations this year (except the sentimental ones) in anticipation of our new house. We even sold our Christmas tree! So, decorations will be minimal this year (we will probably buy a small tree as we want to get a BIG one in the next house!) That's probably a good thing as I will have a 15-month old who is into EVERYTHING this year!! (Another reason to scale back on the "to do" list!)

We have done Angel Tree with Little Miss and will add Little Man to the project this year. Our church adopts a local "low-income" school each year, and I would love to go with them to deliver the gifts, but not sure how wise that would be with 2 small kiddos in tow.

Hubby's family agreed to do homemade gifts last year. I ended up doing homemade candy as I had a 3-month old, and I'm not exactly "crafty." I would love to come up with a homemade gift idea. I've thought about getting all of my mom's and grandmother's recipes and putting them together in a cookbook. I know there are several places online that you can print your own cookbooks. I'd like to do that with my mother-in-law's recipes for my sisters-in-law, too. But that probably won't happen this year! ;)

Well, I've taken enough space and time...don't get me started on Christmas! :)