Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011, pt. 4, the Wrap-Up

Another Chirstmas has come and gone. Saturday we drove Grandma Laura, Grandpa Dave and Auntie Haley down to the Parkinson's in Columbus. It was a nice couple of hours of stuffing ourselves with cookies, exchanging some gifts, eating some more cookies, and then driving home in the evening.

We wrapped things up on Sunday with a slow-paced Christmas morning at our house, followed by a slow-paced lunch at Grandpa Doug & Grandma Paulette's house and then the final gift exchange with my parents, Grandma Gates and our family. When we returned home, Jenn and I started the laundary and began picking up the pieces. Lincoln watched Cars, Lydia played with her tea set, and we all cruised into bedtime.
This Christmas was a new mix of emotions for Jenn and for me. I feel like whenever someone expresses anything other than joy and excitement for Christmas that they're labeled as a humbug or there are suspicions that the true meaning of Christmas has been missed. We didn't miss the meaning of Christmas at our house, and in fact we were reminded with story books, Bible passages and prayers every day. And we certainly enjoyed seeing family that we don't often get to see. And hosting out-of-town family as house-guests and Christmas-time-guests
is exactly why we bought the house we did. And we loved seeing reactions like Lincoln's, when he opened his Cars movie: "THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED! YEA!! I WANTED THIS!!! MOM! MOM! THIS IS JUST WHAT I WANTED!!!!" And we thoroughly enjoyed giving gifts to our family members (such as the antique sterling ladel with the monogramed "D" on the handel for Grandma Paulette). We can't exclude any of this and we don't want an ounce of it to be discounted.

But this was our most tiring Christmas season. Why? Because Jenn and I are getting older and because we've got kids. That's the big-picture answer. The smaller-picture answers are... Because of the sequence of events at the end of November and the beginning of December, we were feeling rushed to get our tree up in mid-December. Squeezing in gift exchanges before bedtimes, squeezing in cleaning and prepping between work schedules, nap schedules and other parties & get-togethers... and
then my getting what seemed to be the flu during the week leading up to Christmas... it was a new era for the Gates Family. None of these are complaints, just observations.

What would we change about it? It's hard to say. Do we need to change anything about it? Probably not. At the end of the day, Lincoln and Lydia had a great memory-forming Christmas season, everybody got caught up with everyone else, and, because Lincoln is standing right here, I'll ask him this question: "Lincoln, why do we celebrate Christmas?" "Because it's Jesus birthday!" he said. Sounds like another good, and successful Christmas to me.
Our prayers continue to be with Henry, who did not have a fantastic Christmas this year. His next Christmas, though, will be very Merry!

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