A Little Yule Cheer: Day 21 (Christmas Card Outtakes)

Ever since my youngest child joined our family, my husband and I have been exploiting our children to create adorable Christmas cards.  When Aaron was four months old, we dressed the kids up as  Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  We used an old Crate and Barrel magazine rack for the manger and pillow cases for costumes.  The card was a huge hit and a tradition was born.  Through the years the kids have been angels, shepherds with cardboard sheep, lions and lambs, Santas, and the reindeer you see below.  They’ve held candles, played in the snow, and spelled the word Joy with cardboard letters painted gold.

Now that the kids are older (my daughter is 19 and my sons are 16 and 14), we’ve pretty much given up doing creative family Christmas cards.  The last time I asked the kids what theme they wanted to do, my middle son suggested a recreation of that first manger scene complete with my youngest son, who is now 5’7″ and 170 lbs., playing the role of baby Jesus.  That went over like a lead balloon as you can probably guess.  With that, our card tradition has come to an end.

I wish I could say that I miss creating all those Christmas cards, but I really don’t.  They were a lot of work, mostly because getting three children to look at a camera at the same time and smile is difficult  under normal circumstances.  Add props like a lit candle or uncomfortable costumes and it becomes an impossible task.  Photos sessions always ended with someone in tears (usually me and at least one child) and an oath that we were never, ever, doing this again (which we always did).

Somehow, we always managed to put a card together before Christmas and as much as I don’t miss doing it, I’m so glad we made the effort.  Our family and friends have enjoyed the cards and w e now have a wonderful collection of images of our children across the past 14 Christmases.  The funny thing is, when I look through the photos, I love the ones that didn’t make the cut the best because that is where each child’s personality really shines through.  Sweet Julia, who has always been a pleaser, wanting to do exactly what we asked of her and who the boys could get to laugh at the drop of a hat.  Mark ,who was always half annoyed that he had to participate and who could never keep his eyes open when the flash went off.   And Aaron, who has the most expressive face of anyone ever and who couldn’t sit still for 5 seconds.

The photos below are from our 2007 Christmas card.  The kids are 11, 8, 6.  You’ll notice they are signing in some of the photos.  I found that it helped them to smile if they sang Christmas carols.  None of the photos below made it to the cover of the Christmas card that year but I love every single one of them.  They are the perfect example of what our Christmas card process was normally like and are beautiful reminders for me of who my children were at that time.

Christmas Reindeer of 2007

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Thank you for allowing me to revel in some Christmas nostalgia and for joining me.

A Little Yule Cheer: Day 1 (Walk Off The Earth)

For the next 25 days, I’ll be using this cozy spot to have some fun with the Christmas season.  I have no idea what I’ll be posting; the only requirement for a topic is that it must be light-hearted and merry.  Check back daily for a refreshing dose of Yule Cheer…

Things I Like

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A little while ago, WordPress highlighted a niche blog called Things We Like.  The author, Jessica Gross, writes lists of things she likes to help her feel better when she’s “in a funk”.  She also encourages others to submit their lists for publication on her blog.  What a great idea!  I’m adopting the concept as inspiration for a semi-regular post here because lists like this encourage me to practice thankfulness.

Thankfulness is good.

It settles me squarely in a place of worship.  It enables me to be mindful of the small moments that make up the substance of my life.  And, it softens my attitude when living feels like too much work.  Now is as good a time as any to start, don’t you think?

Things I Like

  • Opening the windows wide after months of air conditioning
  • Industrious bumble bees with pollen-laden legs
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The colors of the sky at the western horizon immediately before darkness settles in for the night
  • Just-picked Gala apples from Cherry Hill Orchard
  • Watching my sons play football
  • Driving the Audi A6
  • Lazy Sundays
  • Clean, cool sheets
  • Falling to sleep to the sound of crickets

What is bringing you joy at the moment?

Inspiration: March

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If you believe the calendar, spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.  Hurray!  Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t quite gotten the message.  This means I’m dreaming more of spring than actually experiencing it.  Still, the sun is higher in the sky and the willow trees are beginning to turn green – events promising that Nature and the calendar will eventually get on the same train.  Then, the rejoicing will truly begin around here.

I’ve found all kinds of inspiration this month. Some is directly related to the season: Easter, spring cleaning, and my birthday. Some of the links just caught my fancy in one way or another and I thought they might do the same for you.

Enjoy!

Inspiration: March

  • The perfect perspective of home.
  • Speaking of home, springtime often means spring cleaning.  Some ideas for tackling the job.
  • Listening to audiobooks while cleaning the house?  I never have, but think it’s a lovely idea.  Here are some great suggestions.  I’ve been wanting to read The Buried Giant and The Goldfinch.  Maybe I’ll listen to them instead.
  • Cleaning is not really my favorite sport.  These cleaners might tempt me to do it more often simply because they would smell so good!
  • After the house is clean, it’ll probably be time for an Easter Brunch.
  • This also belongs on the menu.  Actually, it could be the menu and I’d be happy.
  • Of course, there must be flowers on the Easter brunch table.  Or any time, really.
  • More flowers.  And way more creativity.
  • And speaking of creativity, just give me one small corner of this space and I could create whimsical creatures, too!
  • I’ll be celebrating my 46th birthday in a few days.  This interview came at just the right time.
  • Did you know that a fully illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is in the works?  It looks perfectly wonderful.
  • I’m heading to Scotland this summer.  Steven Carter is whipping my anticipation into a frenzy.  I. Can. Not. Wait.
  • Finally, I’ve been finding Hillsong’s The Creed to be especially inspirational coming into this Easter season.

 

I’m feeling very inspired.  I think I’ll head to the grocery store and collect some more flowers.  Even if it’s not quite feeling like spring outside, there’s no harm in making it look like spring inside.