A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

I love Christmas carols. And I love flash mobs. I mean, who doesn’t like random out bursts of song and dance? Then put Christmas carols with flash mobs. It’s like you had me at hello.

And I shared this video last year, but had to pass it along again.

Top Ten {Tuesday} It’s been 7 years since I was in Texas for Christmas. Since 2004 I have celebrated Christmas in colder climate areas. So it’s been a transition to go from 30 degree weather to 70+ degree weather during the holidays. But there have been some great holiday highlights over the past several weeks:

1. Random Christmas trees on the highway – For the last couple of decades, “mysterious” Austinites have crept out at night to decorate cedar trees along a major highway. Nothing feels more festive than driving down the street and seeing 100’s of trees decorated.

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2. Outdoor Shopping – Outdoor shopping centers are popular in Texas, since it never gets too cold to deter shoppers. We visited the newest center, The Domain, this last weekend. It was so much fun walking the strip, looking at all the beautiful displays and ending it with a huge Christmas tree.

3. Food Selection – This has more to do with being in a bigger city in general, but I can’t get over all the wonderful options for food that we have. And while that doesn’t seem very Christmas-y, it is when you’re preparing to cook for your whole family.

4. Zilker Park – A huge park just south of downtown, Zilker Park {home of Austin City Limits Festival} does a wonderful Christmas tree “poll”. It’s a poll that is shaped like a tree, with the shape outlined in lights. It’s a sight to behold.

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5. Trail of Lights – The area in and around Zilker Park is decorated with lights, as a trail leading to and through the park. I’ve seen it in the past and it’s beautiful. Sadly, this year the city decided to cancel the trail of lights to conserve money.

6. Being outside. A lot – Since the weather isn’t cold, the girls and I have had some great chances to be outside during the day. I could get use to spending the entire holiday season playing at the park {just get back to me come July!}.

7. Holiday parties – I went to a cookie baking/exchange party on Saturday with a group of women I met from church. We have two holiday events we have been invited to this week. That’s good ol’ Texas hospitality at work!

8. Jonathan’s work schedule – Jonathan is working just three days this week. And then only two days next week. His company has an unwritten rule that employees take plenty of time off during Christmas to spend time with family. It’s awesome.

9. Reindeer cars – Maybe this is popular elsewhere, I know I’ve seen it just a few times before in Iowa. But, people here have gone crazy with dressing their cars up like reindeer. And it’s hilarious.

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10. The weather – This, actually, is the only thing I haven’t been loving about Texas at Christmastime. I know the snow gets old {just as hot weather gets, well, hot}, but it hasn’t felt quite like Christmas without seeing white covering the ground.

What are some of your favorite city holiday highlights?

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

Our family will no longer be celebrating Christmas.

That seems hard to grasp, since without question, Christmas is my favorite holiday. But it’s true. Our family will no longer be celebrating Christmas in the American style. Our daughters will not open Christmas presents, there will be no exchange. We will not be checking our gift list and wondering who we missed. Instead, we will be turning our focus towards Christ.

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I have to admit, we are still navigating what we think “no gifts at Christmas” needs to look like. How to be sensitive to others while following {and better understanding} our own convictions. It’s awkward, because I love giving gifts. Just little things, but something that shows my love for another. Jonathan suggested that we start focusing on gift-giving throughout the year. Spread the love to not just give in December, but feel free to give year round as we have people on our hearts.

So far, giving up gifts has been amazing. I’m not focused on myself or stressed about making sure Aunt Carol’s babysitter’s neighbor has her gift. I’m able to talk with the girls about Jesus, telling them how exciting it is to be leading up to His birthday. We are taking the money we normally spend on our family gifts and meeting the true needs of others with it. I have had a renewed love of traditional Christmas carols, singing of the coming of Christ, the longing for our Savior. Time after time, I have stood in awe of God’s amazing love for us. And that’s what Christmas is: celebrating Christ’s arrival and the end of our  separation from God.

Since being married, Jonathan and I have never spent a Christmas with our families. Not that we didn’t want to, we did. But we lived too far away and never had enough time off work to make a trip happen. Last year we were able to go to my parents’ for Thanksgiving and loved it. Now that we are in Texas, we are thrilled with all our family-for-the-holiday options. This year my parents, two younger brothers, and our family, will be meeting in Ft. Worth, where my older brother lives with his wife and kids. To make it even more fun, my SIL’s family will be there too. The last guest tally was 36 people. Eekk! {That’s a squeal of joy}.

I volunteered to plan out our meals for Christmas Day. And while it’s a big task {did I mention several teenaged boys will be there?!}, I am beyond excited to put my hosting, cooking, Christmas-loving skills to work. Here’s a small preview of our Christmas Day menu:

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Brie and Veggie Strata


Make Ahead Lasagna


Pork Loin Roast with sides and clover rolls

Call me crazy {cause I know I am!}, but I am really looking forward to this cooking adventure. Being in the kitchen with my mom and stepdad {both fabulous cooks} and enjoying the hectic, loud, loving family reunion just feels too good to be true. *happy sigh*

What are your plans for Christmas? Any favorite holiday recipe I should try out?

Vist Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Perhaps I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I really love Christmas. And my love starts showing itself through decorating in November. There, I said it. I decorate before Thanksgiving. But this year, with our big move, I had to hold out. Until December 8th. You read that right. December 8th. As in yesterday. Never in the history of Sarah has Christmas started this late.

Yesterday I spent all morning unpacking boxes just to make space for our Christmas tree. I think it was worth the effort, don’t you?

Excuse the camera phone quality, our real camera is currently MIA.

Christmas trees to me embody the Christmas spirit. I’ve seen a lot of city Christmas trees over the years, and these are my favorites:

Rockefeller Center, NY

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Daley Plaza, Chicago

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Trafalgar Square, London

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Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.

Movers at the holidays a like the Grinch {photo credit}

We hired movers to bring our things down from Iowa to Texas. Over the last 10+ days, we’ve had some real issues with them. Our belonging were due to be delivered today {after a delay}, but we were informed last night it would be delayed again. Can I tell you the words I said {and especially thought} were less than pretty? I was down right angry. Irritable. Frustrated. Mad. That’s my stuff. My Christmas stuff! They’re like my very own Grinch, keeping me from enjoying Christmas.

I even tweeted my anger. And as soon as I hit “send” I thought “Did I just miss the big picture?” “Did I just miss something amazing from God?” I did my friends. I did.

Over the last several weeks God has really challenged me with my comforts. And in the last few days I keep wondering if I am holding on to my stuff more than I am holding onto God. See, last year I battled with moving at Christmas – my favorite holiday. Now this year I am battling it all over again. Where’s my tree? Where are my decorations? Where’s my Christmas?! Yet this year is becoming different. Because this year, like a flame getting brighter, I’m wondering if my priorities are in the right place. Why am I celebrating Christmas? The presents? The food? The family? Where is Christ in my celebrations? Where is my worshiping of Him in all the wrapping papers? Where is the celebration of my Savior’s birth – and therefore redeeming death?

I’m not saying I’m going to totally give up Christmas. That might be a little too shocking to my system. But I do think I need to reevaluate some things – put the true meaning into perspective and ask myself “How do I want our family to celebrate the birth of our Savior?” It’s a tough question and it’s taken a year and two moves for me to ask it. I’m not sure yet, but I’m opening my heart up to the Lord to show me.

Yesterday my SIL and I decided to treat our three youngest by letting them help us bake snickerdoodles. Rare is the day that I bake with both my girls helping, let alone three. Each mom manned a counter and had the girls take turns helping us measure, pour and stir.

The girls had a blast helping. It was so much fun to be baking with Christmas music playing in the background and the girls laughing and having such a good time. Hannah especially liked the mixing spoon. Who can blame her? 🙂

*Another adventure this week was my new hat {see picture}. What do ya’ll think?? Is it a keeper?

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

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