I always feel conflicted at Christmastime. I love so many things about Christmas... namely celebrating Christ's birth through music, decorations, and food. But, I also dislike things about Christmas... namely the mall and gift giving. I have grown more averse to the Christmas commercialism as I have gotten older. It was my goal this year to not go to a mall for any reason during the Christmas season. We still bought gifts, but we did steer clear of the mall. I just can not handle everyone scurrying around, grumpy, to buy as many things as possible. I'm also a really bad gift giver, so the whole thing is stressful to me. I've considered if gift giving is biblical, because the wise men did indeed give gifts. But they gave gifts to Jesus, not trinkets to one another. Maybe when we have kids, gift giving will make more sense.
I had a sense this year that I should be careful with my heart around Christmas. I am tempted at every turn to want more things. I am tempted to feel guilty about the gifts I have bought for others and that they should be nicer or better or I should have bought more. It's kind of crazy, really. You have to be vigilant. I was aware many times this season of having to consciously reject the world's notion of Christmas and forcefully bring my mind back to reality. Even with family get togethers - it seems like the world gives you this idea that family get togethers should be full of sugar plums and giggles. I find this only sets you up for disappointment. I think it helps me to practice a more realistic (and authentic) view of Christmas. I enjoyed listening to the local Christian radio station this year since they played Christmas music heavy on the hymns and light on the Rudolph. Also, they played NO commercials, which was nice to not have a reminder of all the things I should buy every thirty seconds.
Although I was not perfect at taking my thoughts captive, I did feel much more peaceful than usual this Christmas. We did a few small things that were really fun. One of the highlights was hosting an Aggie Christmas party in our neighborhood. We found all the people with Aggie flags in their yard and people we knew were Aggies, and we gave them an invitation. Discrimination, you say? Absolutely. Don't worry... our immediate neighbors (who we love) are UT alumni. We invited them and even said they should wear their burnt orange. Well, they came to the party wearing maroon! They are so cute. The party was a blast and we LOVED everyone who came. Coincidence? I think not. In the name of simplicity, we ordered dinner and bought desert at Central Market. Not one ounce of stress. Of course I didn't take a single picture... oops.
We also enjoyed some quality time with both sides of the family. We got together with Brent's family before Christmas in Sugar Land and spent Christmas Day with my family in Dallas where it snowed! Below are some highlights of our time in Dallas.
Beautiful snow in the yard
My parents toasting on Christmas Day
The following pictures confirm my suspicion that Christmas is more fun with a kid. No, we don't have a kid, but we have a dog. Blazer was SO excited about his three gifts which cost under $8 (total). My mom insisted on putting his gifts in a bag which pictured Santa with a puppy. Weird, but fitting. Here is Blazer eyeing his gift and waiting to get the "OK".
Making sure he got everything
So many toys, so little time.
Aunt Julia and Blazer got in a little cuddle time.
Our little fam on Christmas Eve.
This was my dad's car on Christmas Eve. We briefly considered taking it to church, but an ice scraper was nowhere to be found, so we opted for the garaged car.