A new family tradition

There are some things we love about Christmas:

Looking at Christmas lights
Homemade gifts
Friends and family

This year we are starting a new tradition. In effort to save time, create great memories and put a focus on sharing with others, we decided to combine all these things we enjoy about Christmas together.

For the last couple weeks, the kids and I have been making small tokens of love and appreciation to our friends here in the cities. We like doing this because it isn't the size or price of the gift, but it is a small piece of our time, effort, and heart.

Yesterday at about 3:30 in the afternoon we loaded up our gifts, packed a snack and set out on our family Christmas adventure.

Here are the warm and fuzzies from yesterday:
* All three of my kids wearing their Nana's homemade knitted owl hats lined up in the back seat like sitting ducks.

* Listening to great Christmas music in the car and hearing the kids sing a long while we drive from house to house.

* Teaching the kids new vocabulary words and hearing them trying to use it in a sentence. "Our house is abturt." I think he meant absurd.

* Singing songs on the steps of our friends houses, of which some we surprised and they didn't know we were coming. Those were the best!

* Visiting with a whole different assortment of friends that warm the heart and remind you that God lives fully in so many people.

* Watching my kids Christmas Carol in their Batman and Iron man costume. I don't know if they are confused about Holidays or just really hate their clothes, but more than one person commented on our parental lack of ability to dress our kids.

* The treat from the advent calendar yesterday was glow sticks, which worked out perfect for our adventure. Once it grew dark outside, we were impressed by the light show outside with Christmas lights, and the lighsaber battles inside the car. I don't know which lighting show won.

* Hearing my kids yell, "This song is my favorite!" to EVERY Christmas song on the radio.

* Holding my husbands hand while our kids laugh, sing, yell, squeal, tell stories three octaves louder than all other normal humans. They get that from me, and Paul doesn't find it endearing.

* While going to deliver presents, we ended up being surprised ourselves with homemade crochet earrings, (seriously amazing and so jealous I didn't think of it first!), Captain America toys, (for the boys, not me), and two heavenly bottles of wine. Who knew we would come home with goodies? That was a super fun surprise.

* My husband and I looking at each other at one point in the evening and without using words, we both understood that this was the best tradition to start and we will be keeping this idea for the future.

These are my reality moments from the evening:

* The fact that my kids have slept and still worn the same costumes for about a week, even under their uniform at school, says something about their general smell when you get close and hug.

* Little having a 101 temp and we still dragged her all around town. That girl had sad, sleepy and sick eyes all at the same time. We should have been reprimanded for taking her out, but somewhere deep down, I think she still liked it.

* Driving around and amongst the Christmas lights, we still live in the ghetto damaged by a tornado, so the boards on houses, the debris, the random crap in people's yards were still very evident. We were going for a hallmark moment/evening with our kids, and I think we got the knockoff version, but we still liked it.

* The fact that my kids had a cup of water and half a piece of squash bread for dinner. Do I need to say more about my lack of attention to my children's welfare? In my defense, they never complained or said they were hungry.

* The boys got two different Captain America toys, and of course, there was one very special coveted CA who both the kids needed to have. Thus, ensuring the constant nagging and debating on who's turn it was to play with it, and the constant reminder to share was on all of our lips for the reminder of the evening.

This evening was really special to us. It was a family adventure sprinkled and scattered with amazing people thrown in. We got to sing carols, (at one point we even did the Jingle Bells, Batman smells. yea I let them do that.) and we are not very good at singing. That became very clear to me, but it was super fun. One time Paul and I tried to throw a cookie exchange/caroling party in our hood, and when we went out to carol, NO ONE came to the door. We even had people turn their lights off and pretend they weren't home. It was really sad, so we hadn't tried since. Going to people's homes you know worked much better. We got to deliver small tokens of love that we made which satisfied our longing to love others and respect our income and means. We made memories as a family. We dreamed about where we could put up lights next year when we have gutters, maybe a tree and a fence or a bush. Right now we got nothing. A whole lot of nothing, but that's OK, we are claiming to be energy efficient. And hopefully somewhere along the way, we brought joy to our friends homes and lives even just for a moment. We shared in love and joy and celebration of Christ's birth and celebrated what the holiday is really about.

It is my new favorite tradition.

Merry Christmas.

Oh, and to those of you whom we love in the cities and didn't get to come visit, I am deeply sorry, we couldn't hit everybody, and I made a promise to stop making presents so I could enjoy the season, so we will have to share the joy sometime soon.