February 1, 2013

Christmas Magic

In case you were wondering, February first is a perfectly appropriate day write about Christmas memories.

This Christmas was very low key for our family. Low pressure - just what we needed. It was quiet and simple, but still filled with the right kind of magic. There are a few scattered memories I want to preserve about our Christmas in 2012.

Thinking back on December, it was so great to have Joe home from school and to have days and days on end to spend as a family. That was easily the best part of this holiday - having so much unstructured time to be together.
Our big adventure this year was an outing to the Dicken's Festival in Skaneateles, NY. It was freezing that day! Snow was blowing across the fields and covering the roads. We almost got stuck in a drift on our way out to this tiny town on one of the finger lakes. But we made it, and we were not disappointed. (Well, I was a little disappointed but I tend to have suuuuper high expectations) The Cratchit family was there, as well as Father Christmas, and a large band of cheerful carolers. We froze our butts off, but it was still charming and fun.
Although Ellie was not wearing her snow gear, she insisted on playing in the giant drifts on the sidewalk before we got in the car. Against my better judgement, I caved and let her go for it.
It was all fun and games until somebody realized how freezing it was. Then we had to listen to her complaints for a good while on the way home.
I treasure the nights we spent cuddled up, watching Christmas movies and sipping hot chocolate. One night we went driving to see Christmas lights - and I fell in love with the candles in the window and wreaths on the door. Holiday decor up here is fairly understated - but so very classic. Ellie's voice was drifting from the back seat as she showed us how well she's learned to sing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. At first I was disappointed that I hadn't prepared cocoa to pass around, that I hadn't made this adventure as picture perfect as I had wanted it to be. But then I realized that perfect is not what we need. Good enough is what we need. Time together. Simple traditions that don't photograph well or make great blog posts. Things we do just to have fun and smile together. That was the lesson I took away from this Christmas: to just be. And to let that be enough.

Joe hosted a party for making gingerbread houses.

Many nights we cut snowflakes together, and Ellie proudly hung them all over the tree.

We finally had the most awesome gift at a white elephant party.

Christmas Eve was spent with some new friends in our ward, and the children's excitement was contagious to every parent there.

Ellie told everyone that Santa was going to bring her a pink kitty and a pink leash.

And on our trip down to NYC we got to see the big man in the flesh. Macy's Santa Land was better than we had expected, and so were our girls' reactions to that jolly old elf.

Ellie and Santa - best friends forever. Such a big difference from last year's reaction.

I love how Eleanor is looking up to the heavens in this photo. At some point during December, she started praying to Santa. We tried to correct her, but it can be pretty confusing. Two loving, all knowing mystical men who give you things you ask for. How do you tell them apart? So we just let it slide for a bit and she seemed to forget about Santa-God once the holiday hype was over.

I for one, will not forget the simple joys of this year's holiday. We had the love of our small family and the company of friends old and new. It was a perfectly imperfect, quiet, magical Christmas.


  1. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful Christmas to me! I am so happy for you all that you had lots of simple time together and made lots of happy memories. I love you!

  2. What a lovely Christmas! I'm so glad that you got to spend a lot of quiet time together as a family. There's no better way to spend Christmas! And a Dickens festival? What fun! I love the photo of Ellie realizing how cold it was.

  3. Beautiful! Your girls are so pretty, and this was a great post!

  4. That sounds magical. What was you white elephant gift? My curiosity is piqued!