I didn’t blog last week, in case you didn’t notice. I wish I could say it was because we were just so darn busy with, you know, the normal stuff—forming cheese balls in the shape of fat little turkeys, feeding the hungry at a local shelter, chopping down our own Christmas tree whilst wearing pricey L.L. Bean snow boots and stylish outerwear—but we weren’t.
Instead, I got the call to pick up Edy early on Monday of last week. She sat there waiting for me in the school office all sad-eyed and sickly. She still wore her white paper pilgrim’s bonnet and matching paper vest that she had made for her classes’ much-anticipated Thanksgiving lunch with the Indians from down the hall.
Her teacher has sent her to the nurse’s office mid-meal, and she was disappointed. So was I.
There went the week.
The fever took the kids down one by one, and there I went as well. Not sick, but certainly not feeling thankful.
And so began the holidays at the Hall house.
In the spirit of family traditions, I had collected some sticks one blustery day in early November and arranged them in a jar on our table for our annual Thankfulness tree.
I then mandated that we would each write one thing we were thankful for on a leaf every day so that by the time Thanksgiving drew near, we would be so darn grateful it would practically be oozing from us. There go those Halls, people would say. What thankful people they are!
At some point, in an extreme bout of cleverness, I added the stipulation that those finding themselves with ungrateful attitudes in our house would have to add an extra leaf—just as a reminder of how good they had it.
Not only did that brilliant plan basically equate practicing being thankful with a form of punishment, but it also meant that by the time I dismantled that stupid tree last weekend I had several of my own extra leaves dangling from it.
I failed. Epically.
Naturally I was disappointed in myself. If ever there was a time to be thankful, this week was it. I’ve missed my chance! We’re all ruined! Ruined, I tell you!
But then there was Twitter to save the day. (And that is the first time those words have ever been spoken, by the way.) But I praise you, Whoever-You-Are in Social Media Land. When you quipped that gratitude was less about a list of things you’re thankful for and more about a way of looking at life, you gave me hope. Redemption was at hand.
Hattie has asked everyday for the last week if tomorrow was Christmas. All the holiday talk and decorating is confusing apparently. But instead of being disappointed when I say no, it almost seems to please her. There’s still more! It isn’t over yet! We can still celebrate!
But it’s never over, is it? If we are followers of Christ, our season of celebration continues on. Even if we failed this year. Even if our “list” was pathetic (or nonexistent.) Even if our Christmas spirit is lacking. Nothing has changed about the good news of Jesus. All the intentional moments of gratitude, all the joyful expectation at his coming, all the sweet, sentimental feelings about his birth do not have to wait until the turkey is served, nor do they conclude when the lasts gifts are unwrapped. We celebrate this season not just because Jesus came once as a baby, but because he is coming back again. For us. For a grand party. Forever!
This is hope, friends!
Sick kids or no, Thankfulness Tree failure or not, list or no list, if my mind is centered on Christ, Praise God, I can have hope and gratitude and a season of joy that has absolutely nothing to do with the calendar.
And even Cranky Hannah can be thankful for that.
So in the spirit of looking forward to the days ahead, let’s do a giveaway!
And how about double goodies this month, eh? My book, God Bless Our Christmas, plus one of my new most favorite things in the whole, wide, merry world. Read on, dear ones!
One Loom is a new business with a mission. Started by my sweet friend, Angela, One Loom employs single mothers and artisans in Guatemala with a sustainable and life-changing income. These women weave beautiful fabrics through traditional methods and Super-Talented Angela and her super-talented team turn them into stylish, lovely and super-useful works of art. Like this key chain, which has forever changed my life. Super.
So do yourself a favor and check out One Loom’s website. (And I have one of those cute headbands on my Christmas list, in case you’re wondering.)
To enter to win, comment below or on Facebook with your favorite Christmas movie. (I will not tell you the correct answer, but I’ll think extra fond thoughts about you if you guess my favorite.)
You can also double or triple your chances at winning if you subscribe to my blog to receive e-mail updates and/or share this on Facebook. (Be sure to tell me in a comment if you’ve shared the link, just in case Facebook doesn’t.)
I love Christmas Vacation!! lol I love most all of them… it’s the most wonderful time of the year!! 🙂
Oh my, that one does make me laugh, Lydia. And I imagine it would be even more funny if I were listening to your happy laughter along with it. 🙂
Oh my, it’s a toss up between It’s A Wonderful Life and Elf!
Good mix of the old and the new!
Elf is definitely the best Christmas movie of all time. 😉 Though there are a lot of other close seconds out there! And I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling like a failure right now – my grand plans of having a Jesse Tree this year have completely fallen apart. I have many excuses, but I think the main fault lies with my procrastinating ways. But thanks for the encouraging post! Grace is a pretty amazing thing – it’s a little tragic we mothers so often fail to give it to ourselves. I really do love your blog, Hannah – I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to know I’m not the only one who struggles with these things! 🙂
Thank you, Jamie. It’s so good to hear that I’m not alone.
And speaking of Elf…I think your copy of it is sitting on our cabinet. Is this a hint that you want it back??? I’ll get it to you asap. 🙂
Ha! Not at all – we’ve watched it once this season already. 😉 You enjoy Buddy as much as you want!
My personal favorite is Home Alone, but there will always be a special place in my heart for Christmas Vacation (my family’s quirks are parallel to the Griswolds).
I think we’re all a little Griswold-y, Bekah. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
“It’s A Wonderful Life” is our family favorite. I watched it for the first time at midnight on December 23, 1985 in the hospital when I was too excited to sleep because I had just given birth to our son, Miles. Since that night, it is a tradition for us to watch it every year.
What a beautiful memory that must be, Lynda, and a great tradition to celebrate! Thanks for sharing!
Home Alone is my favorite!
Yep. That is a classic, Christy!
One movie I always look forward to watching is: it’s a wonderful life. Just love the story.
I agree, Mikaela. Such a good reminder in that movie. Our lives are precious and purposeful! Let’s not waste them!
I love Elf.
I had no idea Elf would be so popular, Heidi. You are one of many! Thanks for sharing!
I’m subscribed to your emails.
I love Home Alone! But my very favorite are the sappy love stories on Hallmark! Alan says you can guess how they end before they even start- the happy couple kisses and it starts snowing! 🙂 I’m so thankful God blessed me with a wonderful family and we’re very blessed! We need to have a thankfulness tree! That’s a great idea, Hannah! Thanks for your blog this week!!
Aren’t our overly-practical husband’s opinions so helpful?!? 😉 Perhaps Hallmark should throw an explosion onto the end of one of their movies just to spice things up though. That would get the hubby’s attention. 🙂 And I can’t take credit for the Thankfulness Tree. I saw it on a friend’s blog last year, and I became a completely copy-cat.
My favorite is White Christmas. Duncan’s is Elf. We both like Ernest Saves Christmas and Home Alone
I think you win the award for most unusual suggestion, Susie. Ernest Saves Christmas hadn’t made the list yet. Thanks for reminding me of its existence. 🙂
As far as Christmas movies it’s a hard choice but, I do like A Charlie brown Christmas and Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer. And I did share this on facebook! ; P
Well done, Sarah. The kid classics are the best…especially since you get to watch them with your kids as they grow. It’s a Wonderful Life is a bit hard to get them to sit through. 😉
Great blog, as always! I think my favorite Christmas movie is Elf, but I really love them all 🙂
I love them all too, Genny. They don’t even have to be good. If they’re Christmas-related, I’m happy.
My favorite is Elf! I really like Christmas vacation too.
You’ve picked some winners, Andrea. Christmas Vacation makes me laugh out loud repeatedly. Plus, I can find ways to quote it all year long. 🙂
A Christmas story
Nice list, Lindsey. I knew I could count on you for the funny ones. 🙂 Everyone in my family loves A Christmas Story…except my mom. We have to watch that one while she’s not around. 😉
It’s a Wonderful Life
shared on Facebook 🙂
A classic! Thanks for commenting and sharing, Bethany.
It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and The Grinch(both old and new)
Ooh, the Grinch! He hasn’t made the list until you, Carla. Nice. 🙂 I love the new one especially. Jim Carrey is fantastic.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (the classic one) is my must-see every year! I also love Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
You must be the mom of small children, Heather. 🙂 And I got your Christmas card yesterday. What a beautiful family you have. You are blessed, friend!