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Christmas is arrived

Christmas has finally arrived!  For most of the country Christmas has come and gone but for us it has just arrived.  There is so much to share but I don’t want to make this post 2 pages long so I will spread it out to the next few days.

We do not start celebrating Christmas until advent is over. We spend advent preparing for the coming of the Christ Child by doing penance and offering little sacrifices to empty a space in our hearts for the baby that is coming.  My kids all get together and they each decide to give up a little something to offer Him.  This year I had a few kids give up sweets and one gave up using his pillow (which made me suffer for him but I dared not discourage him).

The only sign that Christmas is coming around here for the past few weeks were all the projects (some secret some not) that are scattered in all my stashing spots for those on my list and the nativity missing the Infant Jesus until Christmas Eve.  All the decorating around here happens on Christmas Eve making for one fun and busy day.

I have learned from previous years not to wait until the last minute to get our tree (one year we had to purchase a display tree from Michaels because all the real trees were gone).  We get our tree the week before and keep it in water on the porch which makes the porch smell lovely.  This year I asked the manager of our supermarket if they had clearanced the few trees left.  She recognized me as the lady with all those kids and said “I don’t know, lets check it out”.  So we went outside over by the trees left.  She asked me which I wanted and I said I would love the huge one depending on the price.  She said “Well, its yours Merry Christmas”  That was such a great surprise and another reason I love living in a small town.

This Christmas has been so crazy with Poppa losing his job and a few major things that have happened to me.  I have honestly had the blues and the more I try to break out of it the blue-er I feel.  I had a list of so many wonderful things I wanted to accomplish. So many projects to get done and looking back I did none of them… Then I realized that the most important thing that would happen around here was not on my list of projects.  It would be the meal we would eat together, the preparation of the tree and decorating on Christmas Eve, the majesty of our choir at midnight mass and the anticipation in my childrens hearts for the magic of Christmas morning. 

On Christmas Eve we cooked and laughed and put up all the lights and manger outside.  We ate dinner and then decorated the tree just as we do every year and it was so wonderful.  New pajamas mark the first of the 12 nights of Christmas presents and they were given to each child right before we headed out for midnight mass.  When we returned from midnight mass with a few little ones asleep, they headed up to bed with the happy nervousness of what the morning may bring.  Then Poppa and I as well as my brother (who brought my nephew and niece and spent these days with us) put all the treasures under the tree and I hung each stocking and put little goodies in each one and finally headed to bed a few hours before the children woke us up again.

Christmas morning came and everything we needed was in place, a few gifts for my babies, my husbands strong arms hugging me and the love we each have for each other.  It was all just as it should be and the rest of those projects may or may not get done in the next few days and weeks because Christmas has just arrived.

One of the things I did not get to this year was my childrens favorite sugar cookies (and I am sorry that I promised my sugar cookie and icing recipe a few days ago and did not post it).  I am hoping to get some time to bake with the kids this week and will definitely post the recipe then.  The other major thing that did not make it under the tree was the girls Waldorf dolls,  everytime I tried to work on them it seemed like climbing a mountain and I realize that the blues can even stop you from doing those things you really enjoy.  I decided to give them as Epiphany presents so I need to get back to work.

I hope your Christmas was and is wonderful and that you got to spend it just the way Baby Jesus planned for your family.  I am including a linky at the bottom of this post in case you would like to share how you spent your Christmas Eve and day celebrations. 

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or follow me by email at the top right hand of the screen to have future posts sent to you. Tricia (Crunchy Catholic Momma)

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A Christmas pickle…crochet pattern

Today I am working on sugar cookies (recipe long overdo will be posted tomorrow), cooking up presents in the kitchen and working on some ornaments.

My children are big on traditions, just as the daily rhythm of our lives keeps their world feeling just as it should, the rhythm of our traditions does the same.  They however are not big on changes to our traditions but this year I am pulling a fast one on them.  For a few years I have wanted to add the tradition of hiding a Christmas pickle in the tree.   It is the last ornament to be put in the tree on Christmas Eve and the first child to find it in the morning gets a little extra surprise.  I am thinking that would be a little handmade toy or a sweet.

 The tradition of hiding a pickle is a medieval tale of two Spanish boys traveling home from boarding school for the holidays. When they stopped at an inn for the night, the innkeeper, a mean and evil man, stuffed the boys into a pickle barrel. That evening, St. Nicholas stopped at the same inn, became aware of the boys’ plight, tapped the pickle barrel with his staff, and the boys were magically freed.

I could not find a pattern that looked like a pickle much to me so I made this one and though it does not look exactly like a pickle it works for me.  I have not tested it so if you find any mistakes please let me know.  You can make one of these in about 20 minutes so perfect for last minute new traditions : )

Christmas pickle pattern

I used a chunky wool blend yarn and a size I crochet hook.  You also need a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each row.

Row 1: Make a magic ring, 5 sc in ring

Row 2: 2 sc in each st around

Row 3 to 8:  1 sc in each st around

Row 9:  sk 1st st, sc in next st, sk next st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, sc around to last st, 2 sc in last st of row

Row 10:  repeat row 9

Row 11 to 14: sc in each st around, stuff with wool or fiberfill, bits of yarn or whatever

Row 15: sk next st, sc in next, repeat around

Row 16: repeat row 15 until the hole at the top is closed, ch 8, sl st to next st.  Fasten off and weave in end.  Hide your ornament until Christmas Eve then hide is really well in the tree and don’t forget to have a little something to give the child who finds it.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or follow me by email at the top right hand of the screen to have future posts sent to you. Tricia (Crunchy Catholic Momma)
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