This has been an interesting holiday season for me. For starters, we’ve had several “firsts” in our little family this Christmas.

After 4 years in this house, we finally put up the Christmas lights, thanks to the help of my ever-lovin’ pa!

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D has always loved driving around town looking at lights and “blow-ups” that people decorate their front yards with. I was able to score a nativity inflatable for us at one of last year’s Christmas clearance sales and the boys could not wait to see it out front this year.

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This was the first year one of our kids had a chance to participate in a Christmas play. D was cute, funny and surprisingly a natural on the stage…especially in front of the microphone!

This was also the first year we enjoyed the annual Christmas parade in town. It’s never been a huge draw for Hubs and I with the boys being so little, but D’s school participated in it this year so I couldn’t really say no to going. I was surprised at how well he handled himself, wearing his cute hat and handing out candy and school brochures to the kids along the way. Apparently the holiday parade is a 2nd Halloween around here…SO.MUCH.CANDY!!

Ever since D’s first Christmas I have wanted a nativity scene in our home. Once we moved into our current house, it became difficult for me to find something that “fit” the home as well as our budget. My mother-in-law has given us several “play” nativities for the boys but I still longed to find something that could be for the family, not just something to play with.

I was pleasantly surprised when one of our older neighbors down the street called to catch me up on her recent health battle as well as to offer a nativity scene that they were looking to pass on to another family. I didn’t know what to expect but told her I’d be happy to take it off her hands.

It’s perfect.

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I like the size as it all fits nicely on top of our shoe caddy in the hall.

I like that it’s decorative but not “girly” or unapproachable.

I like that it’s used. It looks loved, rather than old.

I like that the boys play with it but still have to learn to be careful with the pieces. My first instinct was to scream out something like “Hands off, little men!” since there’s pretty much nothing in my home that isn’t nicked, scratched, battered, or chewed on by the kids. Then reality set in pretty quick as they eagerly placed the animals and the people where they wanted to, rather than what the picture on the box showed….I quickly decided it wasn’t going to be my nativity scene, all perfectly set each time I walked by it. This is the family nativity scene, which means it looks different nearly every time I look at it.

Thankfully I’ve learned many a lesson in how to “let go” of my ideals by now, so it’s been fun seeing them interact with the pieces, rather than me pulling my hair out over it.

Christmas is 7 days away and I could not be happier about that! I have thrown the tree up, along with the decorations the day after Thanksgiving for years now, yet this is the first time it’s all really getting “old” to me. Maybe it’s the questions of WHEN is Christmas?? from D or maybe it’s all the CANDY and sweets that the boys have received. Christmas isn’t even HERE yet but I feel like we’ve been celebrating it for weeks now!

While I’ve had to battle this “gripe” in the back of my brain throughout this month, I’ve decided to make an effort into "building up to” Christmas next year. My plan is to bring out something to do with the holiday each weekend. Maybe I’ll start with the nativity scene. I’ve yet to do an Advent wreath with the boys, so that will be included next year. Another weekend will be the exterior decorations. We’ll celebrate the Christmas break from school by putting up the tree that weekend.

My hope is that we’ll be able to enjoy the symbols that are meant to help us give meaning to this beautiful holiday rather than having a bit of a mess in the house for 6 weeks, furniture moved around, sweets and treats to no end, and the list goes on. I mean, who wants to dust seasonal decorations? I certainly don’t!

Has the holiday been any different for you this year?
Do you plan to make changes next year?

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