My thoughts on Christmas. What works and doesn't work.
The highlight of Christmas was the Mass. Is the Mass. Always. It's my favorite part, and then it gets lost in the present exchange and the food. The endless food---preparation, eating, more eating, and cleanup. All of that is good, but the Mass is my favorite, especially Midnight Mass because it's usually a grander celebration befitting the occasion. However, the morning Mass was very nice and well attended, too.
Fewer Christmas presents seem to work really well. We've always kept it to about 3, but this year it was 2. I'm starting to think that one really good present is sufficient. I don't mean that from a Grinchy perspective, but it obviously makes the shopping and wrapping much more manageable, and it means that the Mass of the Nativity has less chance of being lost in the
wrapping paper shuffle.
Another reason for one gift on Christmas is that it makes it easier to focus on the liturgical year. We like to open stockings on St. Nicholas Day---some people do shoes on St. Nick's Day and they still do stockings on Christmas, but we just have St. Nicholas fill the stockings on his day, and then those are put away for the year. Then, we also have the option of doing 3 little gifts on Epiphany in honor of the 3 Wise Men. That's what I'd like to do, but we don't always because we also celebrate a birthday on January 6. Epiphany is always moved to Sunday, now, and this year it's also the 6th.
I did most of the Christmas cooking in advance, and froze it, which seems kind of silly when it's just our immediate family here, but I've found that it makes all the difference. I'm so happy not to be spending the whole day in the kitchen!
We baked several batches of Christmas cookies during Advent, which were frozen until Christmas Eve, but I've come to the conclusion that it's not really a good plan. On a feast day when we already have a huge dinner and dessert, people are eating cookies all day long, and then they're gone by the 26th. It seems to encourage gluttony, especially in sugar addicts like myself. I think from now on we will start baking cookies no earlier than Christmas Eve. That way, we can bake every couple of days until we run through our repertoire of Christmas Cookies, and we can still be celebrating the Christmas season. Because doesn't it feel like Christmas is over when all the cookies are gone?
Speaking of cookies...I found this toffee bar recipe yesterday over at Misty's Morning's. OMG. Yum. I didn't really need a new cookie recipe, but everyone needs one that can be whipped up in a heartbeat and is super simple and super, super delicious! Seriously, folks.
Meg, Pip, and I had a great time reading Destination: Bethlehem during the Advent countdown to Christmas. It was much harder to remember to read after we finished school, and the last days before Christmas were so busy that we didn't finish it at all! Well, I finished it. I guess they're not really interested in learning that the long-awaited Messiah was born in a stable just outside Bethlehem. ;-) Or maybe they already know. It is a very good book; we enjoyed the story and actually had a hard time waiting for to read the next chapter!
I hope your Christmas was (and is) awesome! What was your favorite part? What didn't work for you?
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