12.27.2013

Christmas 2013 : Presence over perfect

Presence over perfect.  I read that online somewhere and it quickly became my holiday season mantra.


house lights 2013 

With a 2 year old who is eager to explore, a hands-on learner (ha!), as well as a climber par excellence, well, perfect went out the window a loooong time ago.  This year, an Iris-friendly-Christmas was in order!

Which meant...

Our Christmas tree ornaments all ended up on the top half of the tree.   Iris's not-so-gentle hands could not resist the allure of our not-so-childproof ornaments.  Nor could our dog, a retriever, who had a penchant for fetching the ball ornaments right off the tree.

We avoided putting up any enticing decorations that would encourage Iris to scale our shelves.  The nativity sets, glass village houses, and advent wreath all stayed in their boxes this year.  Even our beloved Advent calendar remained stowed away.  With Thanksgiving coming so late in the month of November, advent snuck up on me this year and I decided I wouldn't mention the advent calendar unless the kids asked for it.  They didn't.  I breathed a sigh of relief, at least this year.  :)

2013 was Christmas {streamlined}.  And while it was by no means epic in terms of bells and whistles, I'd say it was every bit as memorable as Christmases past.

This month, we hung lights.

lights 2013
lights 2013

We drove around and looked at Christmas lights while drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music.  We made cinnamon ornaments like the ones I remember hanging from my grandparents' mantle.

cinnamon ornaments


We decorated a (pre-packaged) gingerbread house.  We played Monopoly and the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel.  We had countless Bop It, Perplexus, and Candy Memory game competitions.  (For the record, I am the reigning family Bop It champion, but Jude and Indigo crush me every time in the Candy Matching Game.  Even Tia beat me once!)  We watched a few Christmas movies cozied together on the couch.  We read the Christmas story and sang Christmas carols while Jude and I took turns playing the piano.

It was simple.  It was beautiful.  It was exactly what we needed this year.

christmas family photo 2013
christmas family photos 2013
some attempts at getting a family photo on Christmas Eve

The day after Christmas, Dan and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary.  He's the yang to my yin, the peanut butter to my jelly.  He's a yes kind of guy.  He's the most interesting person I know.   Ten years and four kids later, I love him more every day.  I can't imagine doing life with anyone else.

christmas family photo 2013


15 comments:

  1. Great family photos!! Merry Christmas to your whole family, and Happy Anniversary too!

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  2. What a gorgeous family! Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary! My anniversary is tomorrow! We're always so exhausted by the time it arrives that we often forget it entirely. Pared down Christmas sounds just about right, too. :-)

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  3. Glad to hear your holidays were peaceful and happy, and happy 10 years together!! What a beautiful family you have. And I have to say, I better rush out and buy this Bop It game, because the other three you linked to are huge favorites at our house, too! I bought the Eeboo candy matching game when Lila was an infant, I couldn't resist the gorgeous illustrations. And Sneaky Snacky Squirrel - so adorable. Anyway...Enjoy these finals days of 2013! xo

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  4. You'd be able to beat me at every one of those as I've never heard of any of them! Beautiful pictures and congratulations on a happy Christmas and wedding anniversary

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  5. I hope next year Thanksgiving comes early and we can have more time. It was just too rushed this year! We did have a nice time too, but I wanted more time. Next year I think we're going to make a DIY tree. Something different!

    Lovely photos, Rachel. You have such gorgeous hair =) Happy, happy new year!

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  6. What a lovely (Iris-friendly) Christmas! We also happened to have a tree with no ornaments on the bottom half - but that was mostly due to my little one ripping them all off. Oh well.
    And you sure are a gorgeous family!

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  7. what a beautiful family! Happy new year!

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  8. You have such a gorgeous family. Your Christmas sounds like it was wonderful. A very Happy New Year!
    -Jaime

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    1. Thank you, Jaime and happy new year to you as well!

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  9. What a lovely sounding Christmas. I love that - presence over perfect! We also kept ours simple, since the whole advent season is a bit of a celebration around here, culminating in 3 days of Christmas! Simple was just right for us, too. Last year I bought a wooden nativity so those curious little fingers could play with it, and this year she didn't touch it ;) Your family looks so beautiful, all dressed up for Christmas! And Happy Anniversary! We also just celebrated 10 years together in Niovember. Life sure is good! Funnily enough, we are flying through Addis Ababa on our way to Rwanda later this month. I'll be thinking of you and your precious Tia! Hugs xoxo

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  10. So many thoughts about this post: first of all, congrats on finding the perfect balance to your Christmas this year. So much pressure to do it all, see it all, buy it all - sounds like you found the perfect medium where you were celebratory while also being peaceful and mindful. Good for you!
    And then - happy anniversary! Congrats to you and your husband, and I hope you were able to celebrate even a little bit during the busyness of the month. Milestones like that are certainly worth taking the time to celebrate:)
    And lastly, love your family photo so much! And your red dress with grey tights - ahhh! love it!

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  11. Love your Christmas philosophy! We kept it laid-back this year as well--really best for our highly sensitive one (who didn't have school for 2 weeks!). The cinnamon ornaments made me laugh--I tried that one year, because it was in "Out of Sync Child Has Fun". M LOST HIS MIND! Never again with a texture like that... (Shortly after, a well-meaning neighbor lady suggested we work with M on his letters by letting him draw in shaving cream. I just smiled and nodded...) ;-) Happy anniversary!!!

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    1. Smiling and nodding is where it's at! :) One homeschool mom with four kids advised me to strap Iris in a high chair and give her puzzles and various things to play with while doing my kids' morning lessons. hahahhahahaha. we can hardly get through dinner (ok, we can't get through dinner!) with her staying in her high chair. much less a morning of lessons. girl's gotta move. (and i don't blame her). i smiled and nodded.

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