Christmas memories

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Christmas is away. Does that make anyone else a little bit anxious? Just me? Well, I am doing my best to keep my head above water this year and do a little bit each day to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. I remind myself daily that is what this hustle and bustle is all about. It keeps me plugging away at an ever-growing list of things to do.

This year, just like 2020, had its challenges but our family has persevered. I am so thankful for the ballgames, track meets, races and dance competitions we were able to attend. Watching each of my children “do their thing” is one of my greatest privileges of motherhood.

This month, we will get to attend our FIRST in-person choir concert at our local junior high. I am so excited to see all those beautiful eighth-grade smiles. I plan to relish the sounds of Christmas carols through the whole experience. If the last two years have taught me one thing, it is to find joy in all the little things we have had to miss out on.

As my children have grown into their teen and preteen years, their Christmas wishes have changed significantly. The little hearts who once dreamed of dollies and Match Box cars are now considerably more interested in fashion, decorations and machinery. I miss their games of pretend and I am pretty sure we are down to one child who still believes Santa Claus stuffs his Christmas stocking. Sniffle, sniffle.

I love looking through photographs of when my children were little. Christmas card photographs were and still are a challenge. This year was no different. We had the perfect opportunity to get a family photograph while attending my niece’s recent wedding. We had the perfect backdrop as they were wed on land out in the country. Everyone was unusually well-behaved while someone snapped some photos of the six of us. The next day when I went through the pictures, I was so disappointed to see that my oldest child (also known as my husband) had forgotten to take off his sunglasses. Oh well! There are perfectly staged photographs and then there is the Harris family Christmas card. We are perfectly imperfect us.

Thanksgiving must come and go before I will cave in and start decorating for the Christmas holiday. This year we skipped Black Friday shopping and used the day to drag out our old faithful artificial tree and all the things we use to trim the house for the holidays. I have gotten to an age where I realized I could only do it in stages and one day at a time. The first day we decorated the house and the second day we put the tree together and decorated it. I was not sure if I had a third day in me, but I offered my youngest daughter some Christmas spending money to put the outdoor lights and decorations up. She took the bait. I adore Christmas lights but since we live in the country, we are really the only people who get to enjoy them unless we have guests. They are beautiful.

One of the most precious gifts I have received this year, has been the gift of service from my family. I have needed a little extra help to keep it together and it’s the greatest gift of all. Don’t let the busyness of the season short you on all the joy of this beautiful season. Merry Christmas, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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