Welcome to Mountain Brook Ink’s 2018 Holiday Blog Tour! We’re so excited you’ve decided to join us on this journey of family, friends, traditions, and memories over the next month. You as our reader have done so much to pour into our lives, and this season we want to give back to you with insights into our lives AND some giveaways. The more days you follow, share, comment, and engage with us, the more entries you’ll have toward a Kindle Fire Grand Prize (US addresses only) or one of three Amazon Gift Cards! For more information about the blog tour go to: http://mountainbrookink.com/2018/10/23/2018-holiday-blog-tour/
I realize that, with American Thanksgiving just two days away, a Thanksgiving-themed post might seem more appropriate than a Christmas one here, but I am Canadian, so this is just a regular week for us. We celebrated our Thanksgiving back in October, and you can read my post, “Thanksgiving is Not a Feeling”, dated October 5th, just below. While I do try to cultivate a spirit of gratitude all year long, for me, this time of year is all about Christmas. My husband Michael and I have been married almost twenty-three years, and we have carried on a lot of the traditions we grew up with, as well as incorporating some of our own. Christmas Eve is my favourite time. We always go to church, and I love the mixture of barely-restrained excitement and reverent awe that his evening—and the remembrance of that little baby’s birth in Bethlehem two thousand years earlier—always elicits. I love the carols too, and look forward to this service as a highlight of my year.
After church, my family heads home to eat dinner and watch The Polar Express. We actually own more than one copy of this DVD so that, if something happened to one of them, we wouldn’t have to sacrifice what has become an important Christmas Eve ritual. Of course we drink hot chocolate while viewing, so we are prepared to join in on the scene where the hot drink is served on board. As soon as the movie ends, the kids leave a note, cookies, and a glass of milk on the table for Santa and his reindeers before heading off to bed. Okay, not so much anymore, since they are all in their late teens (our oldest is 20!), but personally I really miss this part of the evening, you know, when they looked like this:
When Michael was a child, Santa always left a stocking on his and his brothers’ beds so that when they woke up early Christmas morning they could spend time opening them and playing with the contents, thereby buying his parents a precious extra hour of sleep. While I can definitely appreciate the sentiment, I have always been far too excited about my kids’ reactions to what’s in their stockings (they love those even more than their gifts) to miss out on watching them dive in. As a result, my family does what my sisters and I did every Christmas morning while we were growing up: we wait until everyone is in the hallway then, oldest to youngest, we march downstairs together and open our stockings all at once. After stockings we eat breakfast (strata made the night before and baked that morning, coffee cake, and fruit) before heading back to the living room.
Someone reads Luke 2 and we pray together before opening our gifts, one at a time. Which we still do, even now that they look like this:
After that the day is pretty quiet. We play games or read and enjoy our presents and spending time together as a family. More family get-togethers will happen over the next couple of days, so this day is a welcome reprieve and offers a great opportunity to reflect on what Christmas really means, and who it is all about. And to be thankful for the gifts God gives us every day of the year.
Join us tomorrow for Stop #25 with Taylor Bennett. The links for Taylor’s and all the blog stops can be found here: mountainbrookink.com/2018/10/23/2018-holiday-blog-tour/
AND don’t forget to leave a comment below and enter the MBI Blog tour giveaway (void where prohibited by law). I’d love to hear all about your holiday traditions too, so please share.