Wow, I can not believe the holidays are upon us and I feel the spirit filling me. We try to make traditions each year and this year is no different. Well, ok a bit different. This year we were not going to make as many cookies and I had to be aware of flour we were using.
My oldest was diagnosed with Celiac disease a while ago and this have greatly changed our approach to the holidays and what we are giving her. She has gotten a years supply of GFCFSF candy and chocolate to last about 6 months. She has adjusted so well and I give her a lot of credit. We remain gluten eaters as it saves me time from having to make all our meals gluten and dairy free. I love trying new recipes and making old ones work with this challenging diet. It has also put a new outlook on eating healthy. We buy more organic and less boxed or packaged items. We have saved some money and bought more produce. All good changes and healthier.
As for other traditions.....we always read "The Matchbox Girl" and "Night before Christmas", we also follow that with the story of Jesus' birth. We always light candles for advent and work on Christmas cards, ornaments, and of course cookies! The girls are becoming bakers and love to put frosting and sprinkles on all of our cookies. They love decorating the house, tree and cards to give others. Luna is such a loving soul and adoring giving to others during this season. It is becoming harder to explain that gifts are not the only way we can give this holiday. We also try to spend some of our time with those who are less fortunate. We love sing songs at local nursing homes as this is my gift in remembrance of my grandmother. The girls belt out those cheerful and Christmas songs with such love and care. The older folks really adore the girls visiting them and we get joy just from serving others. Next we try to give to a local charity of our time and work. We either help out with a meal or serve one. I have tried to encourage giving during this season and not just of our money but of ourselves.
One holiday tradition that has changed is the idea of helping others....we have be blessed so much each year, that I try to ask the girls to think about gifts for siblings throughout the year as a way to share of yourselves. We have been shopping locally and at the Thrift stores more this past years. I think it is both helpful to the community and teaches the girls to appreciate what they have. They are also good about giving a gift from their own to each other as a way to share of themselves. I hope this tradition continues on long after they are grown. My goal is to have them begin to help each other and give time rather than gifts. So far I have seen them reading to each other, sharing toys, and time to help one another when I am busy doing other things.
Looking backward over the past year, I have seen much love and caring in our little home. We have seen giving of time and playing of many games. We have done puzzles time and time again, read stories for the 100th time and tucked our girls in for the last time. I am amazed by the love each one of my close family and friends has shown me. I have seen friends step up and help with my girls when I had to help a friend in need, my girls help others with door or offer a penny to make someone's day, I have seen my oldest make someone smile just with her personality and love, I have watched my best friend, John give me the love and care that only he understands, I have watch him hurt as he struggles to overcome pain while taking care of our family, I have seen John goto work with little sleep and make the best of his days there, I have watched my girls grow up as they ask to spend the night at a friends and watched my oldest begin to read all the time she can. I am blessed and loved. I am grateful for all these memories and more. Even when my girls fight as siblings do, and my dog asked to go outside for the 5th time, I am loved. I know that God has blessed our family and home in so many ways.
I am loving being a mom and wife to our family and have seen so much joy over the year. I have seen friends struggle with things that only God could help and watched others show me love with kind words and loving thoughts. I have seen God bloom in my life and I appreciate all those who were present to help me experience his love and understanding. I look to the future and whatever it holds with God and good friends, family near my side the whole way.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!