Making a Big Deal About the Little Things

The year Anika was born, we did not have a Christmas tree.

She was only two months old at Christmas, and I felt a little overwhelmed about facing the holidays with a new baby.

On top of that, my family was going through a rough time, and it was sucking all energy, motivation, and Christmas cheer right out of me.

So we skipped the Christmas tree.

And Christmas still happened.

It was possible to have a pretty good Christmas, anyway.

But I don’t want to go without a tree again. I know that Christmas isn’t about the tree, and the presents, and all that stuff, but as a kid, there was so much magic in all of those traditions. My mom was always great with the little details.

I have so very many memories of all those fun things we used to do at Christmas – pink popcorn, my Grandma’s fudge recipe, decorating our extremely color-coordinated Christmas tree, our wooden manger scene.

Now that I have children of my own, I have two goals each Christmas:

1) To teach them exactly why we celebrate Christmas.

2) To fill their lives with as many magical memories as I carry with me from my own childhood.

gingerbread house

My magical memories all have to do with the little things – the traditions that were special for our family, and all the little details that made it feel like home. A candlelight fried chicken Christmas dinner from Chicken Delight, accompanied by my mom’s favorite instrumental Christmas music…. Opening presents on a Sunday, and ONLY once it was dark outside!

Ben and I have our own traditions now, and our Christmas looks a bit different. I love that. Our way of celebrating is unique to our family. Everybody has their own way, and it doesn’t seem to matter much what the traditions are, just as long as they get done each year!

December 2012 020 edit #2


It isn’t the big pleasures that count the most; it is making a great deal out of the little ones. (Anonymous)

gingerbread house

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Christmas Favorites

Frying some Christmas eggs.

Doing some Christmas tube sliding.

Unwrapping some Christmas presents.

So far, our Christmas has been full and fun. We have three more days of activities before we head back home to camp, so it’s feeling a bit like a marathon, but I’m trying to embrace it.

Funniest Christmas moment would have to be my gift from Anika:

Yes. That would be my very own “Fortieth Birthday Count-Down”. Put it up on the wall, and take a number down every year on my birthday, so that I know exactly how many years are left until I turn forty.

What?!! I’m thirty-three. My thoughts had honestly not turned towards the 40 year mark yet. But now they will on a daily basis…???

So with life rushing by at the speed of light, you’d better get off the computer, and go enjoy some Christmas family time!

Hope it’s a good one! It’ll be over before you know it….


We had our own little family Christmas last night. It was fun to see Kaylia slowly catching on to the whole idea of presents. And it was fun to see how excited Anika got about giving presents.


Today we’re going tube sliding, and then we’re off to join in all the family gathering fun. My “deeper” Christmas thoughts will have to wait for tomorrow!

Birthday Girl!

Today is Anika’s seventh birthday. She had 2 desires for the day – blueberry pancakes and a holiday from school (there have to be some benefits to homeschooling, right?!).

So here are some birthday pictures:

1) Enjoying pancakes!

Kaylia kept yelling out “Cake!” until she got her pancake, and then she just kept stuffing huge handfuls into her mouth:

2) Opening Presents

This was the expression on Anika’s face when she opened her Tinkerbell movie:

And here’s a picture of Kaylia getting tired of the birthday festivities, grabbing my purse, and running away, saying “BYE!!”