Friday, December 28, 2007

12 Ways I Did Christmas Right

1.Went Christmas caroling to shut-ins and those who have been recently widowed or lost other loved-ones. It’s good to remind myself that I don’t have any REAL reasons to be depressed at Christmas time and also to discover how easy it is to bring a little joy into others’ lives.

2. Went to a Moravian love feast service, something I haven’t done in well over fifteen years. What a beautiful, beautiful service it was.

3. Went to see Fiddler on the Roof at The Fulton Opera House. Nothing like a terrific performance of a favorite musical in a historical setting to help one forget all the worst things the Christmas season offers.

4. Volunteered to help serve dinner (including Christmas cookies, of course) at the center for disadvantaged and troubled youth right down the street from where I live. They may be troubled, but they certainly were polite, happy, and appreciative when they came to get their food.

5. Took the three children in a family whose father has been out of work for sometime shopping for Christmas presents for their parents. We did this with money that was donated by a tour guide who refused to take the tip money from the people on his tour and instead gave it to a friend of mine to do something “better” with it. She brought it back and gave it to Bob and me for this purpose.

6. Attended the holiday luncheon hosted by the oldest (and certainly sweetest and cutest, although I’m sure they’d be appalled to hear that) members of our church. This is where I realized that popular Christmas songs are generational (don’t know why I never realized this before). They didn’t know the words to “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.” Bob and I didn’t know the words to “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”

7. Started a new tradition of “re-gifting” between Bob and me. One thing moving taught us is that we have a lot of stuff and that we’ve given each other some wonderful gifts over the years. This year, we decided to go around the house and choose gifts to give to each other all over again to join new ones under the tree. Try it. I promise you, it’s great fun (choosing, trying to figure out what might have been chosen, and opening them a second time around). Next year, our hope is to start choosing them about three months before Christmas and to see if either of us notices what’s “gone missing.”

8. Decided I wasn’t going to feel the least bit guilty for buying Christmas cards that never got sent. After all, I was spending time doing all this other stuff. Maybe they'll go out next year.

9. Didn’t set foot in a mall to do any Christmas shopping at all. All right, I will admit that, despite swearing I wouldn’t, I did visit a couple of stores at the outlet shopping centers (that damn cardigan my brother-in-law wanted was just impossible to find at quaint little shops in quaint little PA towns).

10. Went to both of Bob’s Christmas Eve services, even though I’d threatened to skip one of them. I’m so glad I didn’t, especially the 11:00 service, which was probably one of the most magnificent Christmas Eve services I’ve ever attended.

11. Took a two-hour-long nap on Christmas Eve afternoon.

12. Made my great-great grandmother’s infamous eggnog anyway, despite the fact we didn’t have a party and the only ones to drink it were Bob, his brother, and me.


Charlotte said...

Sounds like a wonderful Christmas, Emily. Well done for doing it your way and for bringing happiness to the needy.

I also kept out of the mall this year by ordering almost all my gifts online. This wasn't a choice; I was forced to because everyone was sick, but it was so efficient that I'll probably repeat it next year.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a perfect Christmas. I like your idea of regifting. Please inform the big ignoramus among us, what is a Moravian love feast? It sounds really decadent...

Emily Barton said...

Charlotte, online shopping is a real life-saver, isn't it? Especially when you live far away from family and friends.

Smithereens, the Moravians who were a major influence in the town in which I grew up (Winston-Salem, Salem being their part of the two towns that merged) are a very musically-inclined Christian denomination who migrated to the U.S. from Moravia. A love feast is a service in which they sing traditional Christmas carols (at Christmas time. Other times of the year, it's other traditional hymns), many of which are unfamiliar to non-Moravians. They're gorgeous. Accompanied by the music is the serving of coffee and a Moravian love feast bun (a delicious, very-difficult to describe pastry -- think big melt-in-your-mouth bun, not too sweet, with a cinnamon-sugar center, but that's not really doing it justice).

Rebecca H. said...

It sounds like a lovely Christmas! I love the re-gifting idea too, and I want to experience a Moravian love feast service! Just the name is wonderful.

Emily Barton said...

Dorr, come down next year, and I'll take you to a love feast service.

Jill ONeill said...

What a lovely rendition of Christmas and the Christmas spirit of giving! I was wandering through other people's blogs today and found a link here. This entry struck me as really quite extraordinary

mandarine said...

I love the idea of re-gifting.

What you did for Christmas is a perfect illustration for my theory: having children is the most common excuse for living a selfish family-centric life. The proof is: I did nothing for the needy, for the poor or the lonely. I did not even call my granddad. But you see, it's because I have a kid... If it had been otherwise, I am sure I would have acted at least s generously as you.

Emily Barton said...

Jill, welcome, and thanks for the praise. (Anyone who praises me is always welcome.)

Mandarine, you have another excuse as well: you aren't married to a minister, which makes helping the needy (of whom the church is always aware) much, much easier.