12 days of christmas?

{found via pinterest from tumblr}

our christmas is typically long and drawn out in order to get around to see everyone on both sides of the family. this is not a bad thing by any stretch, but it is an exhausting thing. and lately - i'm already exhausted. i've tried to prevent the stress from creeping in, but it's sneaky. it always finds a way.

despite my reflections in the mornings i have found myself thinking "i hate christmas" quite a few times this year. it's not because i actually hate it. i hate the stressed out feelings of having so much to do that i can't get enough sleep. i hate losing the magic of christmas to the busy-ness of christmas.

i hate when my best-laid plans get foiled two days in a row because my son decides he'd rather not take a nap when i'm trying to wrap his presents. of course then he was sad because his presents are not under the tree yet, and he was worried he doesn't have any. we assured him that his gifts are wrapped {after three different days trying to wrap them} and hidden away and will be there christmas morning.

yesterday all of my best laid plans were foiled once again, but that had more to do with the fever keane spiked on monday afternoon. one that wouldn't go away, and i don't know if it has yet or not. we had a flu test done, and it's not that, but he's been pretty miserable and uncomfortable for a while now.

saturday night we tried to take the kids to drive around and look at christmas lights. {notice the word "tried"} despite the fact that keane went potty before we left the house he said he needed to go approximately 5 minutes after we left. we brought him back to the house so he could go, and then headed back out. about a minute after we got back in the car the second time he said he wanted to go home. we drove around a little bit longer, but not nearly as long as we have in the past. obviously the magic of christmas lights had a lasting effect on him....

he also takes after his daddy and adamantly refuses to watch christmas movies. although he did watch the end of home alone with me last week. all he could talk about with that though was the bad guys getting arrested.

{found via pinterest from flickr}

i try to temper my expectations of christmas, and i do a decent job, but they somehow insist upon getting built up at some point every year. i'm not sure why. i know it won't be absolutely amazing and perfect. i know a lot of people don't just have hopes about christmas, but heavy expectations of how things will go. i fight against those expectations in my own mind because if they go unmet things can turn ugly really quickly.

sometimes it's hard to accept things as they are when you want them to be different - when you want them to be better.

my best attempts to temper my expectations have fallen woefully short this year since keane's fever decided to join us. we had plans every day starting yesterday. and we've done exactly none of them.

some of the problem is that we all wear nostalgic rose-colored glasses when we think about "the good-old-days" of christmas. or even just a couple years ago for that matter. but they weren't completely amazing back then either. we tend to remember the good more than the bad which in many ways is fantastic, but in other ways it can be misleading. we don't remember how late everyone was year after year. we don't remember the awkwardness and cantankerousness of certain relatives and conversations, or the reactions to gifts both given and received. we don't remember things the way they were - which is often a blessing - until that faulty memory becomes the standard to which you hold all ensuing years.

we often hear we need to remember "the reason for the season." but that is really hard to do when the things associated with christmas are far more often about consumerism than they are about christ himself. we all tend to fall into the trap even if it's just in small ways. we all seem to get sucked in.

and on that note i thought i'd share this video that i saw a couple of months ago. i think it's from last year, but i needed to see it again. may we all remember the truly important things over the next few days - may we remember who we are actually trying to celebrate, and who we celebrate with. may we take the time to celebrate what's important, not the packages under the tree.

merry christmas!



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