"I have seen personally what is the only beneficial and appropriate course of action for people: to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all their hard work on earth during the few days of their life which God has given them, for this is their reward." (Ecclesiastes 5:18, NET)

December 31, 2015

The most wonderful time of the year

Pajamas. Pillows. Laptop. Wine. I've got all the makings of the perfect New Year's Eve celebration. As the sound of fireworks punctuate the night outside my window, I sit propped up in bed, reflecting on my lovely 24.5-day Christmas vacation.

After many days of joy and good cheer, I've been experiencing some of the emotional downside of the final days. Sadness over the last piece of fudge. Bewilderment over what to have for breakfast since the leftover sausage balls and deviled eggs are gone. Dread over the thought of having to set my alarm again.

But there's plenty of good things to reflect on. Aside from all the wonderful holiday festivities, it's been so nice to just have time. Time to do things like:
  • Sleep late, one of the many benefits of which was watching movies and football games at night without crashing before the end
  • Meet my son for a delicious breakfast followed by firearm shopping
  • Finish reading one book and resume editing another book, both of which I started months ago
  • Search 9 stores for little "Mashems" because one of my grandsons wanted them
  • Be cool in holiday traffic and just enjoy singing along to Christmas carols on the radio
  • Take 5 days to wrap 35 gifts for grandkids (It's enjoyable for the first few; then it's just work.)
  • Complete my gift spreadsheet to ensure that each kid had the same number of gifts to unwrap and that I would pass them out in the correct order, aided by my new method of including numbers on the name tags (How did I not think of that before!)
The wee ones
I also spent an entire day revamping the story of "The Three Trees" and coming up with illustrations for the kids to color as a Christmas Eve activity. They took turns holding up their artwork while I read the story, fighting back my tears during the parts about the tree that became a makeshift cradle for the newborn Christ and the tree that became His cross. It was a fitting prelude to talking about the reason for the season before gifts were opened.

The big one with his new robe and keyboard
Throughout the evening and all day on Christmas, it's like I told my friend Monica—for a solid day and a half, my mouth never stopped moving because I was either eating or talking. She made some "as usual" comment that I could only agree with. Her honesty is appreciated.

Most of my Facebook friends posted pictures of Christmas celebrations with their families. I don't know what this says about me and mine, but our main post was just a lot of trash talk about the annual Scrabble tournament on Christmas night. I was humbled again this year, but I'm still doubling down on my accusation of ... well, I don't want to say cheating, so I'll go with "unfair advantages."

The song "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" has been playing in my head, so I took a moment to personalize the chorus. All I had to do was replace "mistletoeing." We didn't do that, and it's not a word anyway.
It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much mistletoeing Scrabble crowing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
The sock snowmen makers
For a day of post-Christmas fun, Sara and Christian came over. I love that they showed up wearing their new robes and pajamas. We made sock snowmen and a Happy New Year card for their mommy and daddy. We played Spoons and rolled dice. We talked a lot and laughed a lot. We ate candy. When Angy asked Sara if she had a good day, she replied, "I loved it so much." Yeah, me too, little girl.

Well, it's getting late, and all that's left to complete my New Year's Eve celebration is venture outside at midnight to see what's popping. Or not. At least my new year's resolution is made—get a concealed carry permit in January to go with the late Christmas present I'm getting myself.

Here's to an armed and safe 2016!

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