Countdown to Christmas

Christmas SceneGuess what? The first week of December is GONE! Yup, Christmas is just two and a half weeks away. Are you ready? Are you counting down with joy and anticipation? Or is there a little how-will-I-get-everything-done dread mixed in there?

When I was little, we had a count-down to Christmas wall hanging my mom made. It was in the shape of a Christmas tree and had 24 little beads from which we would suspend 24 little, felt ornaments. There was an angel that went at the top. A Santa, little wrapped packages, a candy cane with sequins–it was wonderful. And I always got to hang the first ornament since my birthday was December 1.

I LOVED counting down to Christmas when I was a child. I LOVED all the things we got to do as we counted down. Here are just a few of my favorites:

  • Singing carols in the car. Snapping our fingers for reindeer hoofs up on the housetop. Dad substituting our names as he sang, “First comes the stocking of little Sally (his nickname for me).” Rudolph and Frosty and oh, what fun!
  • Decorating sugar cookies. I now know this makes my mom a saint. Arming three kids with frosting and sprinkles is a bold move.
  • Decorating the Christmas tree. Dad did the lights and hung his one ornament remaining from childhood–a tattered cardboard Santa. We got to do the rest. And no clumping icicles, if you please.
  • Hanging our stockings and posing for a picture looking up the chimney. As if we thought Santa would be up there before we went to bed. Honestly, mom.

My husband and I have our own traditions to mark the days until Christmas–a gathering with friends, Christmas Eve services, the children’s program at church, and stealth decorating (he’s not as big a fan of glitter and greens as I am).

But all too often our grown-up traditions get bogged down in hurry and self-imposed pressure to make this Christmas the best ever. This December I’m encouraging you to remember what it was like to be a child counting down the days–not wondering how you would fit it all in and get it all done–but wondering how much longer do I have to wait? Because we are children, after all. God’s children. And what we’re waiting for is a chance to celebrate the best present ever.

2 thoughts on “Countdown to Christmas

  1. Mom

    Do you have a tree up yet, “Charlie Brown” or otherwise? Do you still have the wreath (magnolia I think) for the front door? I was looking at Terry’s cover photo of the mantle at the farm and thinking how 1945ish it looked and is perfect for that setting. Do you remember Mary Potts doing all of her decorating with ground pine? So many old traditions that mean so much to each of us. And I can still hear those voices in the car saying “Sing mine next!” (You always asked for Silver Bells.) I loved doing the cookies and later watching you all agonizing over which one to eat next. Thanks for the walk down memory lane (just what I needed on a sad rainy morning to take my mind off of a funeral going on in MI for a young friend who died much too soon.)

    1. Tree goes up on the 14th. The wreath goes on the door Dec. 1 each year. It’s part of the birthday celebration : ) Just ate an iced sugar cookie (holly shape) from a bakery. Wasn’t as good as yours!

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