My Beautiful Christmas Disaster

The_Grinch_who_stole_Christmas

I had many ambitious plans to help fight my Bah Humbug spirit. I was determined to teach my kids a lesson and get some holiday cheer at the same time.

Disaster and Disappointment

Plan #1 – Homemade craft decorations…FAILED!
Kids were so busy being stubborn and ornery that it never came to pass. They double teamed me and refused to comply with any of the household or school guidelines. Chores went undone or were done hastily and poorly. The same with homework. Homework was done so quickly, none of the answers had anything to do with the assignment. Completing the homework correctly became a battle. It was full on war…me against the kids. I won, after many challenging battles. Why does it take 4-5 hours to complete 10 math problems? I don’t understand!

Plan #2 – Help with the food give away at church…FAILED!
My church did not do the food give away this month 😦

Scrooge

Plan #3 – Serve meals to the homeless at one of the food banks or shelters. In L.A. there are plenty!… FAILED!
I simply did not follow through on making the plans. I was so exhausted from warring with my twins, I did not have the energy to follow up or the brain power to remember.

Plan #4 – Make homemade gifts…FAILED
Reason: See #3 above. No time or energy to make the candles and scarves. Result: I have a mountain of yarn at home waiting to be crocheted into something and lots of flour, sugar, peppermint, and chocolate waiting to be baked into something delicious. Thank goodness I hadn’t purchased the stuff for the candles!

The Big Turn Around…The Beauty of it All

My younger sister flew in from New York later Thursday night. As soon as we got in we started reminiscing and recalling fond childhood memories. We have an aunt that we had not seen in over 20 years. We had not idea where she was or how to get ahold of her. So, when you need to find something or someone, you Google it, and that’s just what we did. My sister and I sat up and searched diligently for our long lost aunt. Oh how we loved and missed her. Then it happened! We got a hit. We found a likely address but no phone number. So we decided to go knock on the door. We were reluctant at first. Even after we knocked and the person on the other side responded, “Who is it?” we were speechless. For a couple of educated, fully grown women, we could not muster up any words to say. The obvious choice would have been our names, but that was too much like right. So, we opted to leave a note. As my sister was writing, the door opened. There was an older woman standing in the doorway. I began to speak and explain why we there. Would she remember us? Is she even the person we are looking for? After I gave her the name of my aunt whom we were looking to find and told her exactly who we are, she excitedly ushered us into her home. It was her…our grandma. We had finally found the missing link in our family that we had desperately been missing,

My sister and I spent the next couple of hours talking about our lives, family, and catching up. The joy felt when we finally laid eyes on out aunt is immeasurable. Our smiles were big and our hearts full. I showed them pictures of my twins, who look remarkably like me. My sister talked about her life in New York. Our grandma fussed at me for not having gone to visit my sister in New York in all the 7 years she’s been there. We told them about our brothers, the sour relationship with our parents. Grandma fussed some more. It is great to have to this part of our family back!

When our aunt walked through the door she was carrying bags of yams. Yams at Christmas time = delicious goodness. She was making sweet potato pies. So, my sister and I returned the following day, this time with my twins. Our cousin was home this time so we go to see everyone at once. The last time we saw our cousin she was a toddler. To see her all grown up reminded my sister of her age, because I clearly didn’t age as much as she did :). My kids loved Auntie and Grandma as much as my sister and I did when we were kids. Auntie and Grandma, in turn, loved my kids as well. In fact, Auntie hadn’t changed one bit. She was still up to her tricks. When we left, my kids told me that she had slipped some cash into their pockets. My sister and I simply smiled and laughed…”She used to do the same thing to us when we were kids.”

God Knows Best

There’s a saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Nothing I had planned for Christmas happened. No decorations, no crafts and baking with the kids, and no Christmas dinner with family. There was no tree, candles, wreath, pine…nothing!! Not even a Christmas song. Then God showed up!!

In His infinite wisdom, God gave me the Christmas that He had planned for me. He sent my sister to me, allowed us to give our grandfather a surprise birthday party. At the party was our brother, and our cousin from D.C., along with a host of family and close friends. God reunited us with family we were missing, family we had not seen in almost 20 years. God granted me and my children time with my little sister. My kids got to bond with their aunt. Oh the adventures we had and the memories we made…Priceless!!!!

I didn’t get what I wanted, and was not able to do anything I had planned. However, I got everything I needed and then some. With God, sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don’t, but you always get what you need.

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No Gifts for Christmas

No Shopping this year. Forget the Big Deals and Door Busters... I don't need them!

No Shopping this year. Forget the Big Deals and Door Busters… I don’t need them!

Buying gifts this is year is out of the question. With our recent move and all the reasons my kids school is finding to drain me of cash, Christmas gifts are not in the budget this year. No Black Friday lines or Cyber Monday deals for this chick. No toys, games, do-dads, trinkets, accessories, or the like. No nothing! I am not actually giving my children gifts this year, nor do I intend to shop for anyone else. This Christmas is about giving, and the love and effort that goes into each gift, not receiving.

There will however still be gift giving. I am going to teach my kids a lesson in giving, love, and the true meaning of Christmas this year. For Christmas Eve, my children and I will be up bright and early serving food to the homeless and needy. This will teach them to be grateful and appreciate the things they have, however little it may be. We will then spend the remainder of the day making homemade gifts for family and friends to add to the craft gifts we will have already completed by that time. The time we spend making craft gifts will not only help our family to bond, but it will also teach the children a valuable skill and build their character. The twins will develop patience and persistence while learning to crochet, build and construct projects, paint, and more, all of which can be built on and become hobbies and trades.

The Saturday before Christmas we will rise early to give away food at our church. Every month out church gives away big bags of food to the community. This month, we will be there front and center sorting through food, packing the bags, and handing it all out: another lesson in appreciation and a precursor to the impending breakfast we will serve a few days later to really drive the lesson home. There will be no big tree this year. I will decorate the house simply and beautifully with things we create and only a few store-bought items.

If you are wondering what we will be making, wonder no more! Here’s the short list of some of the crafts we will be doing.

  • crocheting scarves
  • making frames
  • baking cookies shaped like holiday themed items like candy canes and lollipops
  • baking breads and small cakes
  • making ornaments
  • making wreaths
  • gingerbread house

I’m sure we will add as we start working. If you need some inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest page. What are your thoughts on my ideas for this holiday season?

What will your family be doing this Christmas?

Note: I am a HUGE Peanuts fan, so Charlie Brown Christmas music will be playing. I will also be sneaking Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang into our decor and crafts. For those of you interested, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” airs on Tuesday, December 18th. We watch it every year and the kids love it. Hope your family loves it too.