Journal Your Christmas – Day 3 – First Christmas as a Married Couple

Our first Christmas together was very unique. We were married in Phoenix on December 9th, 1977 at Trinity Bible Church with a huge Christmas tree at the front of the sanctuary (what a treat!). Our wedding colors were mint green and forest green to tie in with the holiday theme. After the wedding, we stayed at the Pointe Resort for the first night, then we left right away for a 2-week honeymoon in Southern California. We knew that our families had been stretched from our wedding expenses and gifts, so we didn’t want them to have to think about buying Christmas gifts for us too.

So, after our two weeks away we arrived home from our honeymoon just the day before Christmas to our new apartment filled with the wedding presents that we had received (and not opened). It was so much fun to take our time opening all those wonderful gifts in anticipation of our new life together and we didn’t feel like we missed out on Christmas at all.

How blessed we were as we opened each gift, knowing that each person had lovingly chosen it just for us!

Journal Your Christmas – Day 2 – Christmas Eve Traditions

Growing up we always had the tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve and once in a while we were able to talk our parents into opening two (but not very often). The one gift that we always received on the night before Christmas was a new pair of pajamas.

It was so much fun to put on our new comfy PJs in preparation for the exciting sleepless night that was ahead. Once as a teenager I asked for and got a pair of pajamas with feet in them. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I use my foot as my temperature control when I’m in bed. If I’m too warm, I stick my foot out from under the blankets. Then if I’m cold, I pull it back under the blankets. That night when I was trying to sleep, I felt like my feet were in prison and it absolutely drove me crazy! Finally I had to change into some other pajama bottoms just to get to sleep and the next day I cut the feet off my new pajamas so I could use them.

Often when we got up in the morning my mom would have us all sit on the stairs and she would take a picture of us in our pajamas with our hair all wild and uncombed. I have a few of those pictures, but unfortunately, I can’t find them right now.
We continued the PJ tradition with our own family and added another one. Each year we buy a unique Christmas ornament for each of the kids and they get to open them on Christmas Eve as well.

We try to find something that symbolizes an activity, interest or accomplishment that they’ve had over the past year. They run the gamut from a ballerina bear to Marvin the Martian for Amy. Kevin got his share of the traditional sports ornaments (soccer & basketball) to musical instruments, etc. And now we’ve added Andrew to the list and we’re trying to get one for Terry and I together as well. I enjoy searching for something fun and unusual for them and who knows how long we’ll continue…maybe when they have kids we’ll stop giving to the parents…or maybe before that…we’ll see.

I’m not quite sure what we’ll do for Kevin this year, since he’s in the Middle East and can’t really keep an ornament with him traveling around. Maybe we’ll get one and hold onto it for him…we’ll see.

Since we moved back to Phoenix, we’ve added the tradition of attending the Christmas Eve service at Open Door Fellowship in the evening. The bonus is that Terry usually gets to play in the worship band at that service too. The privilege of playing music with such a dedicated group of musicians is always an honor for him and the highlight of any week. Truly, if he could only keep one activity in his life, it would probably be his music. He loves it and is honored to be able to share it with others!

Journal Your Christmas – Day 1 – Santa Claus

So I’m accepting the challenge from Amy to journal about Christmas in December. I’m sure that I won’t be able to do it every day, but will participate as time allows. For day 1 I choose to write about Santa Claus since it’s an easy one for me.

Being the 5th of 6 children in my family, I don’t remember a time when I ever believed in Santa Claus as a real person. When I was born, my oldest sister was at least 7 years old and as I became aware of life and traditions, my older siblings had already outgrown the Santa “gig”. So from the time I can remember, he was always just a nice mythical figure to me. I never remember going to see Santa and sit on his lap and I never had to go thru the shock and disappointment of finding out he wasn’t for real, which is a good thing. Christmas was still very magical to me in that there was great suspense and wonder waiting for Christmas morning, so I don’t feel deprived in the least.

When we had kids of our own, Terry’s family always had the tradition of having some presents under the tree from “Santa” on Christmas morning, so we continued that tradition, but when the kids would ask, I didn’t want to lie to them about Santa, so never really tried to promote the idea.

This was my thinking…

Because we’re Christians, I wanted them to understand that the holiday was about the birth of Christ first and foremost. We did exchange gifts, but even in that, I wanted them to know that the gifts didn’t come as a reward for being good little boys or girls from some strange jolly man that they didn’t know, but from their own parents because we love them dearly and want to show it in this way.

I don’t remember ever taking the kids to see Santa (I don’t think). I do remember going with friends to take their kids and they were so afraid of him that they screamed and cried. It didn’t look like a fun experience to me, so we took a pass on it.

So, all in all Santa’s just a minor player in our holidays, which is totally fine with me. He’s a nice guy with a good heart, and I don’t fault others for celebrating Santa, but I choose to try to focus on other areas for the season.

I’m looking forward to Amy or Kevin giving their perspective on the experience.