Nice: The kids made a few ornaments this year to add to the homemade tree. There is something very special about unwrapping these ornaments year after year and hanging them on the tree. There is a bell that sits near the top of our tree that my great grandmother made.
Naughty: Santa kind of jipped the oldest. It occurred when in those few days before Christmas I dragged out all of the things that had been squirreled away for months. The neglected middle child was over compensated for, the wee one still isn't really into the whole present thing, and the oldest, who savors everything Santa, had a pile of 3 things.
Nice: Everyone thinks Santa is this really great guy because he sacrifices all of his time one day of the year to take toys to kids all over the world. His reward is countless homemade cookies of all varieties and a glass of milk with each one. You don't hear much about Mrs. Clause. Well, it's Mrs. Clause that does all of the toy making, and ensures that each child is well taken care of. She's the one looking for a parking spot at Target the day before Christmas Eve at 10:00pm to get the most desired item of the eldest child. Her reward? Rockband!! Total score, I am so almost ready to start touring with my mad skills.
Naughty: 5:00am. That's the time we finally let the kids get up. Actual time they woke up 2:00am.
Nice: 5:00am any other day of the year is appalling! But on Christmas day, it is pure magic. Santa always leaves the Christmas tree lights on, that's how you know he's been there. When you are up in the wee hours of morning, before the rooster crows, and the sun peaks over the horizon, those tiny colored twinkle lights of the tree faintly light up the haul below, and the kids squeal with excitement. That is the magic of Christmas.
Naughty: It has been a rather tumultuous year for us. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that 2008 was so NOT my favorite year.
Nice: But it was a year of tremendous growth and learning. The refiners fire has taught me more than I believed I was capable of. I have learned during this season of Christ's birth more about the power of his atonement. I have learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an opportunity to learn great depths of humility. I have learned that friends are a source of strength that I believed only families held. So to "Santa's Helpers" thank you. We couldn't discern your scampering feet, but the gratitude I have is unparalleled to anything I have been grateful for before.
With a house full of kids and dogs the naughty list seems to grow faster than a weed in spring rain. Good thing we have so many nice things to be thankful for!