This was a stellar Christmas.
I kid you not.
I LOVE all things Christmas but this year was just more than I expected. It took me a while to get in to the Christmas spirit and really, it didn't hit me until about the 23rd. Sure, I went through the motions - I shopped, I wrapped, the tree was up, blah, blah, blah - but I didn't really FEEL like I was in the holiday spirit until Sunday.
Very unlike me.
I went out to get all of our last-minute stuff (which really wasn't everything but some things had to wait until the complete last minute), got my hair done and just had a wonderful time having fellowship at the salon. Who knew? My stylist had just bought my book and she was raving about it and getting everyone else in the salon excited about it (I know it's a little shallow, but I enjoyed the accolades). Everywhere I went, people were just happy and smiling and saying "Merry Christmas" and it just made me smile.
By Monday, I was really looking forward to the night ahead. We were making our traditional Italian Fish Sauce (very yummy) and then having about 30 people over for dessert. That is my FAVORITE family tradition. It's very casual and it's an open-house so people come and go for hours and it just reminds me of how blessed I am to have such amazing friends in my life.
This was our first "Non-Santa" year. Yes, we finally broke the news to Michael and I have to tell you, it was a little sad. He still believed and to me, it was sweet. To his older brother, it was insanity. Part of what I love about Christmas Eve is sending them to bed and setting up the living room with all of their stuff from Santa.
Not so much this year.
I put out some stuff, not a lot of fanfare, and when we got up this morning it was like "Here's your stuff". We bought Michael an Android tablet, he got a new cell phone, Xbox points and membership, gift cards galore - plus the traditional pajamas that they get every year on Christmas Eve. Nick mainly got all gift cards - his initial request was for money for school but I was not handing over cash and having nothing for him under the tree. My theory was that I would disguise each gift card in a different shaped box and then he'd have a ton of stuff to unwrap under the tree. It worked and he was thrilled.
I bought Frank clothes - jeans, sweatshirts, a new jacket - plus a book on drum making and new drum sticks, plus some smaller stuff like a portable air compressor, a magnifier for reading blue prints for work and a universal phone charger for the car. I got a sassy new scarf, a new iPhone cover (Mickey Mouse!), boots, jammies and a new cosmetic case. All in all, it was a very lovely Christmas.
"The Christmas Cottage" hit #10 on Christmas Eve on Amazon in Women's Fiction and Contemporary Women's Fiction! It was VERY exciting. That was my dream - to have a Top Ten book for Christmas. I was so excited that I pretty much blew up Facebook with my status! We're at #13 today but that's okay. My hope is that all the people that got new ereaders for Christmas and are looking to load it up with cheap and free reads will see the book and buy it. After all, .99 cents it still pretty cheap and it's a sweet story, Dang It!!
But out of all of the hooplah, all of the gifts, all of the trappings of Christmas, what was the number one gift? Actually, it is two-fold. Number one, of course, is the reason for the season and that is the fact that a Savior was born. It's easy to forget that fact when we are conditioned to think that we have to shop and buy and go crazy to get the top toys on the market but really, the gift of salvation is our greatest gift.
Going hand in hand with that fact is the gift of family and friendship. At the end of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", George Bailey opens a Bible where it states "No man is a failure who has friends". That line makes me cry because we need to remember that having people in our lives who love us is one of the greatest blessing there is. Remember to say a word of thanks for the people in your life that love you, for they are one of lives greatest gifts.
And not just at Christmas...