Sunday, December 22, 2013

Still a little room on the list

Christmas at our house starts on Christmas Eve.  There's usually some kind of church; the tradition-steeped formal dinner of strawberry waffles with whipped cream; and one present each before we wander off to bed -- or, to some last minute wrapping.

This year, will be a little different because one of our kids has moved away, is working,  and won't be home till late afternoon on Christmas Eve.  It is not lost on me that this is probably just the beginning of Christmases that are a "little different."  Up to now, children who have been away at school, slide in several days before the holiday and are sitting around the table on the 24th.  But, I know we are not long from children who don't make it for the 24th, and children who, perish the thought, may not make it home for Christmas some years at all.  The times they are a changin' and I'm running as fast as I can to keep up.

All this has caused me to think about who I honor at Christmas with presents and cards.  

Usually, the Husband and I buy things for each other and the kids.  We don't usually buy for other family members because we have lived away from them for quite a while.  Now that the kids are older, they buy us presents too---gone are the days of the homemade potholders and the snowmen decorations, I'm afraid.  These years we sneak around behind each other's backs, hiding boxes from Amazon and gift cards to our favorite coffee shops.

One tradition we have held to, since the first year we were married, has been to give baked goods to people. We have been known to crank out a couple hundred Christmas treats in a season. Back in the beginning, we gave things to our dearest friends.  As the years went by, we included teachers and pastors.  The list has morphed every Christmas. 

The treat making is in full swing for this year.  We will always give to dear friends and neighbors. (Not to mention, probably eat a few pounds of them, ourselves...)  But, this Christmas, I am also giving to some people I don't always think of: people who serve us, and people who are not always front and center.

Would you believe, I have discovered a lot more people in the latter two catagories than in the former two?

Do you have people like that too?

Like our dentist, who held our hands, literally and figuratively, through the long death of my mother. and who I know, for a fact, prays for us on a regular basis.

Or our vet, who has saved the life of The Wonder Dog more times than I'd like to count, this year.  It just occurred to me the other day that he lives down the street from us. Why didn't I ever think of taking him a plate of treats?

Or the people who help us care for our garden and clean our home?  The list goes on and on and on. Maybe I won't be able to hit them all, but it's starting to occur to me that these are the people who make my life go round. These are the people I want to remember and show my gratitude to at the end of another year.  On my favorite birthday of all.

This morning,  I watched our church present Christmas gifts to our two pastors.  It was great.  I totally appreciate their service and devotion to us each and every week.  If I didn't believe what they are doing for our group and, more importantly, for our community as a whole, I wouldn't be going to church there.

But, it made me think of a lot of other people.  The ones who serve and serve and serve, but don't stand on the platform.  And the ones who there every week, but are not noticed.  The ones who are standing on the fringes when people exchange Christmas cards with each other after service.  When people innocently call out to each other in the foyer:  "Ok, I'll see you there!" It never seems that anyone calls out to them.

These are the people on my list this year.  Some will get treats, some will get cards and some will get thank you's.  They're making my life a little better,  a little easier, a little happier, each week of the year. And I want them to know I am grateful.

It's not too late to write out one or two very simple cards,  handed to someone with love.  It doesn't matter if they get it before Christmas.  It just matters that they get it.

So, what about you?  Who's on your list? 

P.S.  I'm no Martha Stewart, but, here's a treat you can whip up in no time---I picked it because it is the easiest thing I know, and it was a big hit last week.  I used square pretzels :)

Merry Christmas!

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