We love a little too much Christmas

I found this collection of Christmas decorating photos from a few weeks ago when we put up our tree. I was going to add to it for a decorations post when we finally put up the rest of them and got our house looking all Christmas-time-like.

Big boys in charge of lights and garland. I'm always happy to not be involved in that task.
And then we never did that.

Boxes of decorations, strings of lights, all my good intentions. . . it's all buried under Christmas trash and loads of dirty clothes in my laundry room.

And now it's late on Christmas night, so it seems we won't be doing that this year.

So it seems we won't be doing that this year. I'm not sure what happened to December. I feel like I've been saying that about everything all month long.

We had so many Christmas projects planned. I was so excited to have a whole week off work before Christmas this year. I don't think that's ever happened (not since my "work" was being a college student who didn't have kids) but somehow each day of that week got filled with all those awful sorts of necessities: eye appointments, dentist appointments, phone calls to make more appointments and keep bank accounts and jobs and kids all on track, millions of emails to answer. Maybe it just piled up since I hate that sort of stuff, but every day I'd get the kids off to school and just have a few things to get taken care of before I started on the list for the day and then suddenly we'd be off to a Christmas program or dinner or party or concert or something and I'd never even get started on that list.

I suppose this is the sort of thing that happens when you have the blessings of a handful of jobs between your spouse and yourself and a handful of active kids in three different schools with four different schedules. It's so much work to keep up with the mundane, so you don't miss any of the fun.

Every year I talk to people or read about people's plans to do less at Christmas. That they hate all the "extra" that distracts from what Christmas is really about.

I'm not one of those people.  I don't really want to do less. I understand that point with the consumerism aspect that overtakes some people, but I'm not real great at the shopping part of Christmas. I hardly do it. But all the gatherings and activities and traditions? I like them all.

When my son was about two, "too much" was his favorite amount. As in, "How much milk do you want, Israel?"

"Too much!"

How much syrup on your pancakes?

"Too much!"

I think I'm discovering that my be my favorite amount, too. Or maybe it always has been. Wanting to do everything does cause me quite a few problems, because of course we can't do everything. But, I do like to fill our extra hours with all the extra stuff that comes along with Christmas. I  don't find it distracting. The decorating and Christmas cards and crafting and baking and parties and visiting with friends. . . I love the idea of a whole month of too much of all these good things.

Last year Azia laid on the couch drawing elves in her minature notebook while everyone else worked. I thought she just upgraded to ipad distractions for this year, but then I saw she was googling stocking patterns. While we were decorating she made Christmas stockings for all three of our pets.

I mean look at all this joyous decorating? Doesn't it just look like some sort of Norman Rockwell Christmas scene? How could you not want a month full of moments like this?

Of course you can't hear all the cussing about broken lights and the kids who don't follow directions or the hunting channel blaring on the TV in the background, trying to drown out the kids' Christmas song singing. Still, though, Christmas magic. . . at least small glimpses of it. 

I love cooking with my kids, sewing with my daughter, making gifts for friends and family, figuring out what to put on our Christmas cards and see how quickly I can take a picture before the kids start dissolving into MMA brawl and their dad starts in with loud profanity again.

I'm getting better every year. It's another one of those specialized-to-my-specific-family parenting skills. Each year as they get older I do get a few more seconds to take a photo, but their fighting also becomes more dangerous, so it's still a time game.

The Christmas cards almost got pushed into that "not this year pile," but then we took a few minutes one afternoon to take some photos and decided to go for it anyway. I've decided cards are fun whenever they arrive. So we're stretching out Christmas another couple days.

Here's what we came up with:

And even a second version since we couldn't decided which to pick:

So tomorrow as our Christmas cards are still arriving to all our friends, we'll do a little more of that stretching out the season here as I figure out where in the mail my Grandma's lost photo calendar might be, get all the files of photos from the last year I have for each of my siblings onto the USB drives I meant to tie to their presents, finish my redo of an old suitcase that was to be a gift that could hold all my niece's American doll clothes but which I totally forgot to finish. Begin downloading all the photos of all this Christmas chaos that I've taken in the last couple weeks.

Then I suppose we'll have to start cleaning up and file a lot of other activities into that So it seems we won't be doing that this year pile.

But it's only eleven more months till we get to start all over again.

Next year for sure. We'll definitely be up for the challenge of too much Christmas.

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