Monday, December 8, 2008

Traditions I

Just after Em was born I started our Christmas book tradition. Every year we add a Christmas book to our collection, and when I put away the Christmas stuff in January I write a little Christmas synopsis and attach it in the front of the book.

We have the classics...the Night Before Christmas, the Grinch, the Polar Express. We have the Tale of Three Trees and Christmas Oranges. We even have a Little Golden Book that I tracked down called the Animals Christmas Eve. It's a story that my Mom bought when I was three and we have read it every Christmas since.

This year's book is A Christmas Dress for Ellen by President Thomas S. Monson, and is the retelling of a 1927 Christmas in a little frozen Canadian town. As I read this story tonight to the girls I was reminded again of all that we have. Even in the middle of a recession our circumstances are so far removed from 80 years ago. I often think (with gratitude), that my kids live so far removed from want. Yet at the same time, I want them to recognize and be grateful for what they have.

How do you do that?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Until last year we had a Christmas tree tradition. We would get a tree permit (an adventure of it's own) and then a couple weeks later go up into the Uintah's and cut down our Christmas tree with my family. We'd go sledding and tubing and hiking and hauling and finally Brian had enough. No more Charlie Brown Christmas trees for him!

So on Saturday night we set out on our Christmas tree quest. The girls were horrified when they realized we were not headed to a tree lot, but to a store. "A FAKE TREE!" they gasped. I was calmly reassuring, it's ok, the tree will look real and all the lights are already on it! Together we selected the perfect tree, a nine foot blue spruce with little pinecones on the tips.

The oh so professional "tree boys" assured us that it would be boxed and waiting for us up front in 20 minutes. We had dinner and then went to go make our purchase. Right in front of the register was a tree box with our last name in big letters. We handed the cashier our tag and they trucked the tree right out to the car.

After wrestling the tree box into the house we prepared to open and assemble. "This box looks new," I remarked to Brian. Because we had purchased the last remaining blue spruce (which was the floor model) I wasn't expecting a new box. We opened the box to find...someone else's tree.
"Did you tell them our last name?"
"No, did you?"

We loaded the wrong tree back in to the truck and Brian raced back to the store to get there before closing time. I made a frantic phone call to try and locate the right tree. After two phone calls and two people who obviously knew nothing the tree boy finally called back. "Yeah, we wondered where you went," he drawled. "We'll go ahead and get your tree ready up front," he added helpfully. I hung up and crossed my fingers hoping that the desire to leave the closing store would inspire him to actually get the tree up front this time.

So, we got the tree set up...and the lights didn't work on half of it. For the last three days Brian and I have tried everything, including unclipping the entire strand of lights, removing them from the tree and replacing every bulb. No luck. So today I removed all the strands of unlit lights and replaced them with new strands.

Tonight, I will go to bed with a lit and half decorated Christmas tree. Instead of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree adventure, we now have the National Lampoons Buy an Artificial Pre-Lit Christmas Tree and Have an Adventure. AUGH!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Don't tell...but I'm not quite finished with my Christmas shopping yet...ok to be completely honest I'm just barely started with my shopping.

But I have a little secret that I discovered many years ago. I am a list person (I'm turning into my mother, I know!!). If I'm feeling overwhelmed with to much to do I make a list, I take great pleasure in crossing things off, and somehow I get it all finished. So, the secret is a holiday planner that I download every year from It is awesome, my favorite pages are the gift list, the fill in the blank calendar, and the recipes, menus and party pages. This year I'm committed to filling out the holiday memories page also. I keep everything in a binder in page protectors, and it keeps all the receipts, recipes, crafts, ideas etc. together. And I even keep my lists from years past...just ask what Santa brought Sadie three years ago!

The crazy thing is, it is so simple, an hour and you could create your own. But that's another Christmas secret...don't waste time on something that someone else has already done!