Thanksgiving is now a fond memory and the Christmas countdown has begun. In years past I have been so stressed out by the time Christmas actually arrived so this year I am making it my goal to slow down, prioritize and to simplify.
This year is very special to us all because it is the first Christmas for us being grandparents. :) It has been such a joy to watch our grandson marvel at the holiday decorations and to see his smiles and hear his giggles. He brings back the wonder of Christmas to us all!
Jeff and I started our Christmas shopping right after Christmas last year and have been planning out what to give or do for those precious people in our lives. All through the year, when we have seen something that we know someone on our "list" would like, we have picked it up and put it away for them. Another thing we have done is stocked up on baking and candy making supplies and pretty containers to package our homemade and delicious gifts in. I love to both give and receive homemade goodies at Christmas and have found that the years that I have not given out my "signature" Christmas breads, people have missed them. This year I need to make sure to take the time to make them and to get them out to those that appreciate them the most.
The other huge priority for me this year is to focus on relationships. This year, probably more than any other, has made me so much more aware of how precious my friends and family are to me. It has been a year where we have been blessed to add a grandson and new daughter to our family while at the same time gone through some things as a family that have shaken us to the core. Some of these things have drawn us closer and helped us to reconnect with family and friends and sadly, these same things that should have made us all come together, have caused some division and hurt feelings. Try and hope as we might, we cannot "fix" things unless everyone is ready and willing to try. My prayer is that hearts will be softened and healing can occur during this special time of the year. Until then, I am going to try and focus on those relationships that mean the most to me and enjoy all the wonder that this season brings.