Merry Christmas

As the Andy Williams’ song would have it, Christmas can be the most “wonderful time of the year”. Shopping, gift-giving and of course, cooking tends to push the season from busy to hectic in one short month. But I would like to pause and reflect on the “wonderful” part that makes Christmas the apex of our calendar year. In our family, the season starts the day after Thanksgiving, when the boxes of ornaments get taken out of our storage space and the tree gets erected in the same prominent spot at our picture window. It is our way to light up our part of the street with a display to greet everyone in the early winter twilight.

Our celebration centers around The Reason for the Season with activities in church. Every year the boys and Ro-Ri San will get involved with the church choir or some special musical event. All that singing and playing makes for very hungry guys coming home for supper. :)

As it is said, “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family…” (Proverbs 31.15a)

The musical calendar extends to the high school events, and at some point in time, I have to check with the boys on which practice piece goes with which concert. And don’t forget to have dinner before playing, or musical notes will clash in dissonance with stomach growls.

Another important part of Christmas is our family tradition of spending some time standing outside some local grocery store, taking turns to ring the bell or getting inside the store to warm up. We keep some hot chocolate in a thermos and it is amazing how that drink keeps “the fire burning” when the temperature gets way below freezing.

“When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” (Proverbs 31:21)

Back at the “ranch”, one of the cutest things that we had gotten over the years is this Advent calendar ornament tree. The boys count down the days to Christmas by removing a numbered ornament from its tiny drawer and hangs it on the wooden tree. Over the years, this has become a cherished ritual as Ro-Taro and Ro-Jiro take turns placing an ornament while keeping a sharp lookout for presents under the Christmas tree.

We also have a small collection of Nativities carefully stored away in boxes. Each Christmas only one or two sets are put on display. As promised in my previous post Gingerbread Nativity and the Reason for the Season, here is our cherished Native American Nativity by Sandy Whitefeather. Ro-Ri San found this unique set at a gift shop in Colorado some years back.

While waiting for all the cookies and cakes baking in the oven, winter does present some fun activities for us to help burn up extra calories. We have this gentle slope beside the house that we get to slide down. It is fast going down the hill but walking back up in the snow requires some work. It also works up an appetite which can be instantly cured by those freshly baked stuff just coming out of the oven. The aroma of baking is one of the most enduring scents of Christmas.

Living in Minnesota also has one other perk, and that is free outdoor skating on the city lakes and parks. Our favorite place to skate is at Centennial Lakes Park which turns into the longest outdoor skating rink in America from December to March. It is the venue for our church’s annual winter family event, with dinner in one of the restaurants ringing the park followed by skating or board games beside the fireplace.

All that skating does make for cold fingers and numbed noses, so warming up beside the fireplace is also a favorite winter family pastime. Ro-Ri San found that “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is actually more trouble than its worth, but a hot cup of tea while warming your toes is worth its weight in gold!

Oh, and one last thing. All these family events are covered by the “local media”. I can safely attest that the chorus of camera beeps and twinkling of flash lights will rival any Hollywood event…so I always go PREPARED. 😎

Have A Merry and Blessed Christmas!

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  1. DongXing says

    Hi Biren, I love the nativity display, so adorable! I am still reeling from reading how you’d made the “ginger bread house” in your last post- it’s so fantastic – you are truly amazing. I have to think about commissioning you to make one for us next year….Have a wonderful festive holidays, and here’s to wishing you and your family a great start to 2012. Well done, you!

    • Biren says

      Thanks DongXing! Glad to hear you liked the Gingerbread Nativity. Hopefully I can do a repeat performance next year. :) Have a Wonderful Christmas!

  2. says

    Biren, what a wonderful post!! It was so lovely to see you and your family and how you enjoy your holidays. That is so cool you get to go ice skating at a lake… it’s like in a novel. :) I wish you a joyful, safe, happy and delicious Christmas. I hope Santa gives you everything you want…. All the best! ~ Ramona

    • Biren says

      Thanks Ramona! Yes, we get to skate outdoors and I much prefer it to indoor skating. That attests to how cold it can get here during the winters. Merry Christmas!

  3. Jenny Ooi says

    Biren, looking at your pictures is making me terribly “homesick” if you know what I mean! Have a blessed Christmas and whatever fun stuff you do, do one extra for me!

  4. says

    Merry Christmas to you, Biren!!! and your family too. And, not forgetting, happy 2012!

    Love all your snowy and festive photo. I think you have been doing very well with your photography. I see lots of fun, smiles and laughter in your photo.

    Best wishes, Zoe

  5. says

    I am so glad you and your family are having a joyous, meaningful Christmas season. And I’m envious of you for having snow on the ground. I love snow! But we haven’t had any this year. Merry Christmas!

  6. says

    Wishing you & your family a very Merry Christmas, Biren. I am totally in the middle of X’mas mood right now, even though I’m not celebrating it. Pretty excited! I’m sure you’re too. :o)
    At the same time, wishing a very Happy New Year 2012. May it be the blessed one.
    Best wishes,

  7. says

    Great pics, you on the slide and church and all. We won’t be having a white Christmas this year for a change but I’m sure we’ll pay later for all this “warmer” weather. Here’s wishing you and your family a Blessed Merry Christmas!

  8. says

    Merry Christmas Biren! Oh you are so fashionable with the camera gear in such a cold weather. I’d be bundle up to protect from cold that I won’t look good like you do! lol. One day I want to visit you during Christmas season – it sounds much more fun with snow and whole “winter” atmosphere. Have a wonderful holiday and I look forward to your new posts in coming year! Best wishes for you and your family. xoxo

  9. says

    What a gorgeous tree! Once the kids moved out ad on their own, we downsized our house and there isn’t room for a big tree, so I always enjoy seeing everyone’s Christmas trees. It looks like you have wonderful holiday traditions. Have a happy new year to come!

  10. says

    You live really close to my brother; he’s up in St. Louis Park. It looks like it’s so beautiful there right now. I really miss the snow! Have a wonderful holiday season Biren. I look forward to sharing more recipes with you in the new year!

  11. says

    Looks like a wonderful way to spend Christmas. Thanks for letting me know about the cutters, I will look around for one. I love that photo of you on the sled. We don’t get to do that much here, but I’m driving to the mountains just so I can go see that snow. Wishing you and your family Happy New Years.

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