"The Beauty of Christmas"
With all the busyness and the stress that surround our lives all year long, have you made a habit to just completely stopped for a day or two to relax and just enjoy the company of your loved ones and close friends? For my family, it’s Christmas.
Christmas brings that magical beauty of family and close friends’ togetherness, giving, preparing good food, and just pure fun. This year, we didn't spend as much like the prior years, and it’s quite surprising we have more fun.
What’s the secret? I think it’s the early preparation and the combined effort of the whole family to make it as a huge success Christmas celebration. Each family member and their other half did something special, big or small and made it a special occasion to remember.
We have ten people this year, each one has busy schedule, except for the two youngest ones. Even with the busyness, different work schedule and studying constraints, each of us tried to take time off and be with family, loved ones and just enjoyed the special moment.
Coming from Christian’s background, giving gifts is part of the celebration, either big or small ones. Over the years, my husband and I made a rule on gifts, we both give a set amount of small cash and store bought gifts. The cash is for them to buy whatever they want, or pay for other extra expenses that they wished to.
As to store bought gifts, my husband @AlbertRiopel and I begin our Christmas gift source of fund right the start of the New Year, through making room in our favourite department store, Hudson Bay’s store card. Even with the higher interest on it, but with the cash voucher through purchased points, and the special discounts for store cardholder, the interest is as much as the bank credit cards. Thus, the thought of affordability and good value for your money is a nice way to start preparing for the most important event of the year.
This year, I get a little help with my Christmas shopping. Besides being our home Christmas decorator, my eldest daughter helped me with the Christmas shopping this time. It was nice that we went a few days earlier than I used to shop (every New Year’s Eve). I guess in the past when the kids were younger it was alright, but in the last two years, things changed a little. For over twenty years we used to celebrate on Christmas Eve, had a late dinner and opened presents right after the strike of midnight, and had second Christmas celebration at my parents’ home on Christmas Day.
However, since my parents moved out from their home in 2011, and my beloved father passed away in 2012, my widowed mother has been living with us. Thus, the last two years we decided to just have one Christmas celebration, and have an earlier dinner and opened the gifts right after. So that way on Christmas Day, each family member who would like to spend time with their other half, or with a family member or with close friends can celebrate Christmas on their own special moment.
Preparing Good Food
As always, I cooked our Christmas Eve dinner, and tried to accommodate what my whole family wanted for dinner. This year, they requested both a turkey and a ham dinner with mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. Unfortunately, the turkey wasn't perfectly done this year. What happened is that, roasting turkey and ham at the same time, side-by-side is not such a good idea. Though the ham is nicely cooked, but one side of the turkey closed to the ham side is not 100% cooked, the oven is not big enough for the two to get it nicely cooked. So, the turkey had to be put back to the oven for a few minutes to get it fully cooked. Otherwise, the dinner is just perfect.
I usually save time baking for desserts, and just went and get our favourite pumpkin pies at Costco. But this year, besides with our pumpkin pies, my youngest daughter baked some special cookies. She loves to bake. This time she made many batches of ginger-bread cookies for everyone. She decorated each cookie nicely, and placed them in colourful containers. At first, we thought they bought them at a bake shop, since it looked like store-bought cookies. But they are home-made ones, and she put her artistic skills on them.
Just Enjoying Christmas
When each family member tried special effort in making Christmas a moment to remember, from saving money or source of funds for Christmas gifts, to home decorating, to shopping, to cooking, to baking, to serving dinner, to entertaining, to be the camera person, played the part of Santa Claus and little elves, or other things that make it as a success, Christmas can’t go wrong.
It’s just pure fun of celebrating Christmas, with lots of love to share, joy, happiness and long lasting relationships around your family and other loved ones. You have that special feeling of looking forward of next Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and that specially holiday of giving.
Until Next Christmas!:)