Getting Christmas right? How does someone actually do that? What is right, anyway?
I've been shopping this week for our big "Fezziwig's Bash" on Christmas Eve after the candlelight service, when CJ and I invite about 50 of our closest friends (!) over for an open house filled with goodies. After umpteen years, actually about 7 or 8, we've gotten the menu down to a science. Tonight, I prepared to start baking and saucing and dipping and marinating and meatballing and cupcaking. Riiiight.
I didn't buy cupcake liners. Scratch making the mini cherry cheesecakes tonight. And the cream cheese surprise cupcakes. I just knew we had those little papers, but nope.
I didn't buy stick margarine, either, to make the pecan sandy balls, nor the peanut butter balls. Couldn't do those tonight. I know I stood there in front of the margarine display and looked at the packages of Bluebonnet Light, but I guess they didn't make it into my cart.
Tonight I figured I could at least do some almond bark covered pretzels. The first batch is now hardening on the wax paper. Then...um...something happened to my almond bark on the double boiler. It turned into the consistency of cake frosting, not the gooey liquid that I can dip the pretzels in. I ended up pitching the lump, along with a few pretzels, into the trash.
So...back to the store tomorrow I go. My choice. We were going anyway.
How we celebrate is all about choices. I love traditions. But I don't love the expectations that come with them sometimes. We can expect situations, recipes, and people to behave in certain ways. When they don't, well, at the very least it involves extra trips to crowded stores or at the worst, hurt feelings and disappointment.
I know several things for certain.
I know I'm blessed.
I know my kids will love what we bought them.
I know our family will eat well.
I know what Christmas means.
As far as how the extended family will behave, um, I don't know. But I won't pin my Christmas expectations on people who might not perform how I think they should.
I could hope that:
My sister-in-law won't have her freeloading friend come with five children.
My mother-in-law won't talk all the way through a movie, and then keep asking questions about what's going on.
My estranged brother-in-law and his wife won't try to cause a ruckus or make racial comments about my niece and nephews (part Hispanic).
My father-in-law won't open beer around said estranged alcoholic brother-in-law.
My other prodigal brother-in-law won't bring his ex-girlfriend (who he says he's still in love with even though she ran off with a friend of theirs and cleaned out their apartment).
Oh, I should just say family sometimes puts the "fun" in dysfunctional. All I can do is pray, grace, Lord, grace.
Whatever you do, enjoy it, go with the flow, and don't pin your hopes on doing Christmas right. Just remember why you're doing it.