It's amazing that I didn't end up with some serious misconceptions about Santa Claus thanks to this photo.
My parents get in town today for five days worth of a Texan Christmas Adventure. When we were ironing out details, my dad reminded me of something that my mom did when Phil and I were younger. At the beginning of December, we'd sit down and make a list of our "Christmas Expectations." Ranked in order of importance, we would say what we wanted to happen during the month. There was some room for dreaming large (ride the Polar Express!) as well as learning to curb our impulses. (Make gingersnaps AND lemon bars AND mincemeat pie? Pick two out of three.)
From my mom's standpoint, it must have been a godsend to know how to make your kids happy at Christmastime, when stress runs high and oustide temperatures run low. My expectations usually included "going to see the lights," "visiting Santa at the mall," and "setting up the Nativity." Phillip would want to watch Home Alone, a movie that inspired a notebook filled with ideas on how to infiltrate my room. When I found the notebook in the summer, I was so charmed that I couldn't possibly begin to be mad at him.
When Dad asked me this year, I laughed at the memory of our planning sessions, the result of which we'd leave taped up as a to-do list. My wishes have mellowed out a little. This year I'm hoping to watch The Adventures of Tintin at the Drafthouse and see the Nutcracker with my mom. But as I grow up, my Christmas Expectations lie more in the small festive moments. I've listened to Judy Garland's "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" more times than I can count. I sang in the church choir. I've punctured the skin of clementine oranges with my thumb, giving way to sweet segments of fruit. I haven't seen a single snowflake and I'm perfectly okay with that. I've thought about the Savior and his birth and sacrifice. So all in all, I'd say that my Christmas Expectations have been met and wildly exceeded.
Six-month-old Gretchen could hardly handle the excitement of Christmas.
A very happy Christmas to you and yours!