It's Christmas morning.
But this picture wasn't taken today. Or even this weekend. It was actually taken in the beginning of December.
Originally, the idea of choosing to celebrate Christmas several weeks early due to Daddy's military obligations was kind of a bummer.
I mean, it would have been "better" to have Christmas on, y'know, Christmas, right?
But this Christmas season turned out to have a million little hidden benefits accidentally twisted in. And I wouldn't trade the lessons I learned for the world.
You see, knowing that we were going to celebrate Christmas early, meant that everything else had to be done ahead, too.
Throughout the fall, we purchased the boys' Christmas gifts here and there. A little something one day and a little something another, as we were doing our regular day-to-day shopping. In the end, all of their gifts were all bought and wrapped by mid November.
No rush, no stress, and coincidentally, no big hit on our budget since it was spread out and gradual.
After Thanksgiving, when the actual Christmas celebrations started rolling out, we kept it simple.
No stressing out about perfection. Just enjoying our family, together.
And then, "our family Christmas" was over. But that's when the magic started happening.
For the rest of the world, they chaos called December began. Stressing. Worrying. About the lines at the stores. The crazy drivers. The money. The late night gift-wrapping marathons. The question of what to get who. Forgetting something followed by hectic last-minute store runs. So much to do in so little time.
And do you know what we did? We watched.
We watched everyone worrying and hurrying and stressing and fretting and... We drank hot chocolate and watched Christmas movies.
We played board games under the Christmas tree.
We built graham cracker houses and painted ornaments and took pictures with Santa.
We read books, and sang songs, and really thought about the reason for the season.
And it was incredible.
It wasn't perfect, of course. We missed Daddy, and that was hard.
But the accidental gift of having to have every obligation done early, was priceless.
Christmas was peaceful. Christmas was stress-free. Christmas was everything it was supposed to be.
The secret, one that I already knew, was one simple thing. Early. Ahead.
I've known that little trick for a long time. But never got to experience its magic until now.
So next year, when we will hopefully be exchanging sweet gifts and commencing festivities on the 25th, and maybe even enjoying it with extended family, I hope that I will always remember the magic that was this year.
And have everything ready before December rolls around. So I can once again enjoy the peacefulness that Christmas is supposed to be.
May your celebrations be filled with peace, whenever and wherever they occur!
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Thank you for your comments!
Hunter is 6 years, 9 months old
Damien is 6 months, 3 weeks old