I enjoyed this Christmas season more than most, which seems odd to me, because we did less than usual. For years I have labored under the mistaken idea that more and more would be better and better. But really more and more equaled tired and more tired. 

After we decorated the tree at the end of November, Jonathan asked me, “Do we have to have school on Monday? Because, you know, it is December?” 

How I would love to take all of December off! But we still had work, school, piano, scouts, American Heritage Girls, martial arts, a child with an abcessed tooth, hot water heater and air conditioners being replaced, AND cookie exchanges, holiday parties, retirement parties, etc. 

This year I repeatedly took deep breaths and told myself, It doesn’t have to be spectacular. Simple and heartfelt is great. So we baked and decorated, but we did not get around to putting all the decorations out and I didn’t worry about it. We can do that next time. Or next, next time. 

I shopped for every single gift online, except for the stocking stuffers, which I got in one fell swoop at the Dollar Tree. I even splurged and had one gift wrapped and sent direct. I did not tie bows on every packge this time, just the ones you could see at the front of the tree. And I stayed on budget. 

We were not able to do Advent every night of the month, and we did not try to make up for it. We just lighted the candles we missed and read the devotion for that one day.


Instead of making a show stopping dessert, I made a simple cheesecake for Christmas Day, and let Jonathan make a small dessert for Christmas Eve. No creme brûlée torch needed, but he was still excited to use the ramekins Grandma gave him for Christmas last year, to make Carnival Cruise’s Warm Melting Cake. And it was delicious, small, and easy.  

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For Christmas Brunch I had homemade cinnamon rolls in the freezer (made a double batch at Thanksgiving), and Vicotria made Creamy Scrambled Eggs and Turkey Sausage Ring. We used the holiday dishes with the gold rim, and I let the children put them in the dishwasher without heat dry. They came out intact. 

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Mike and I have very generous parents, who usually fill our livingroom with gifts. It takes us all day to open them all and sometimes two days. But this year my parents sent one gift per child and Mike’s parents put all the gifts for each child in one bag per kid. Each child recieved three gifts from us. 

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They loved everything. 

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She wanted to work on her handwriting.

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He loves to shop for his siblings.

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She wants to be Rapunzel.

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He really wanted a new scout shirt after the hand-me-downs fell apart. 

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She wanted new piano music.

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Dancing in her Rapunzel dress and Christmas Penguin socks.

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Thrive vs. Survive

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Different people have different needs.

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She was concerned about her book. 

“Oh no! Now I will have to learn how to read!"

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These t-shirts were a recycled white elephant gift.

David thought it was funny.

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Paul is not laughing.

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Paul gamely tried it on for a picture, but I don’t expect to see him in it next year.

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Another stuffed rabbit.

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She has wanted a princess canopy her whole life.

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David helped install it.

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The stomp rocket is so popular, that it probably will not last long.

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Victoria is up to 150 bounces in a row. 

Hopefully making muscles and not losing weight.

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One of our favorite gifts.

Instead of being all tired out, we felt like throwing a New Year’s Eve party, and we did. 

© Being Fruitful, 2012