Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Clarity

I so appreciate all the homeschool love! But I have to say that I was really not trying to impress anyone, except maybe Amabel. I never want to give the impression of having it all together! Nothing could be further from the truth! And because I am a mess, I know the value of people sharing their own messiness. It just makes people feel less alone and crazy. Hey, that dude's a mess too! So, let me just be clear that all of this Christmas around the world stuff is just going on here so that if you ever want to do it, you can have access to some recipes and a bit of information without having to spend hours and hours and hours online like I have lately. And I have only done it in the first place in an effort to "make it fun" per the suggestion of other homeschool moms, who I am learning were all inclined to teach at one time or another. So making teaching fun for them is not as much of a stretch as it is for me, someone who never had any notion of teaching. To me, "make it fun" means "bake something." But ask anyone who talks to me on a regular basis and you will know that Christmas around the world has had me stressed to the max! So, just to be clear, I am not, nor do I pretend to be, good at this. And if you think it has somehow come together well, then thank you, and I am glad, but it has been a lot of hard work. So, just be encouraged, you too could homeschool if your husband was unemployed for seven months and you lived an hour away from your child's old school. God gives us all kinds of grace when it is required for a situation. 

I am glad I have done it though. Amabel asked me the other day if there was anyone in the world as fun as me. I laughed out loud! Yep, most people are way more fun than me! But I was very pleased that my work has accomplished what I really intended for it to. I have this idea that Christmas was magical to me as a child because of something someone said or did. But my parents were so anti-Santa and so not big on extended family, I just can't imagine that they were actively trying to make Christmas a super special time of year. I mean, Christmas morning was a sight to behold! But, the season surrounding it was somewhat "normal." We didn't do a lot of fancy baking. We didn't do any baking. We didn't have parties. I guess there was always a church party, always a school party, and always a piano recital. So there were parties. But we didn't have guests. Well anyway, I'm just thinking that mostly, I have lost touch with how easily charmed children are. And that is nice to remember. I feel some days like I have just thrown together some gross cookie and talked about nativity scenes and been altogether boring. But they didn't wade through eight internet articles and fourteen recipes, they are just hearing the story of another land, an ocean away, that worships the same King and celebrates his coming in a special way. Pretty cool, really. 

So what was your favorite thing you did for Christmas growing up? I have no idea if we will homeschool after this year, and even if we do, whether or not we will do Christmas around the world, but I do hope that we will always celebrate in a big way! Not to be too hard on my childhood, some of my favorite things were Charlie Brown Christmas (Elspeth is already in the habit of saying "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"), playing with the nativity scene or  near the Christmas tree with my little sister, opening the little doors on the advent calendar each day, and, once I was in high school, going to the Christmas Eve service at church. So far, my favorite things to do with my children every year are decorate sugar cookies and bake like there's no tomorrow, decorate the tree, make and decorate a gingerbread house, make a paper chain to hang around their room, have friends and family over for Christmas or Christmas Eve and then again for New Year's (or else travel to stay with friends for New Year's). Pretty standard stuff, but not stuff I ever did as a kid. What about y'all? What are your favorite Christmas traditions either as children or with your own (or both)?

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