Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas and Coming Home

by Kate

This Christmas I am coming home.


The past two years we have spent Christmas with our in-laws, who are warm and gracious and welcoming- as is their adopted home state of Texas. Christmas with Casey’s family is calm and quiet and luxuriously restful….. but…….

I missed the blizzards and the beer and my big strong brothers.

I missed the heat of the wood stove and the contemptuous commentary of my little brothers.

I very much missed seeing my little sisters grow more beautiful every year.

I miss my cousins, and sledding down steep driftless hills.

And I miss being surrounded by friends and family.

I miss the church that is just across the country road from our big white farmhouse.

And the view from the choirloft.

I know that my mother has been desperately missing Colleen’s accompaniment on the piano since she left for college.

I have cried in church during the carols every Christmas far from home, missing the other two members of the alto section. Oh Julia Ugo and Mary Weber, I am so excited to sight read complex harmonies and belt them out badly with you between fits of giggling.

And so, this Christmas, I am coming home.

The Spirit of Christmas

by Clare

Sit back and let me tell you a story.

Back in first grade, little Me was just starting school. As the days until Christmas ticked off, I decided it was time to preach to my fellow classmates the reality of Christmas; there is no Santa Claus. I can still remember sitting on the play rug, telling this to some of the children in my class, seeing the look of horror and disbelief on their faces. No amount of talking could get them to believe me, so I had to tell them they were being “babies”.My teacher did not appreciate the sermon I was giving at my pulpit as much as I enjoyed giving it. She pulled me aside and told me very sternly that I was not allowed to ruin my classmates’ visions and dreams of Santa Claus. I did not appreciate this lecture very much. I was only doing my duty as a good friend! Who else was going to break the news? My speeches on the nonexistence of Santa Claus continued until I was caught in the act again in third grade. I was given the same lecture, but this time I  actually listened (although I did have to tell them that the Easter Bunny didn’t exist either). These kids weren’t going to believe me anyway. I was not an outcast in school. I was a leader.

So who wants to know the reason I’ve never really believed in Santa Claus and his sleigh?

Now, I have to correct myself. I did believe in Santa Claus at one time. But by the time I hit the grand old age of four, I started to see the skewed logic of this Christmas tale. Big fat Santa, coming down the chimney? How is that possible when our chimney doesn’t open up to one of those fancy fireplaces with the mantle? Mom said he came in through the front door. Oh sure. I thought it through, and my disbelief grew. But the big thing that threw me off was our family’s tradition of name drawing. With nine kids in the family, our parents obviously are not going to be able to buy each child gifts. So instead, we’ve always put everyone’s names in a hat, and had each person draw a person’s name out. Whoever’s name you drew, you were responsible for buying a few gifts for.

Ordinarily, we draw each other’s names the day after Thanksgiving. Well, this year we forgot to make that happen until just a few night ago.

So we put all the names in James’ Yankees’ cap.

Somehow I managed to get everyone downstairs. This was definitely not the easiest task.

A name is carefully chosen from the hat.

Some are overjoyed with the name they get…

but some are broken hearted. Or just disappointed. Or just annoyed.

Example: when Raphael drew Colleen’s name. Three years in a row.

And to top off our Christmas cheer….it started snowing. I was overjoyed, and ran outside screaming and shouting like a maniac.

Yes, I’m the creepy creature in the back crouching down in that photo.

And so, the holiday cheer and Christmas spirit is slowly entering our household, more and more each day.