Early Christmas present

blogIMG_4845Santa came early this year.

He brought a bright red sack full of Christmas stockings filled with goodies for our children who, of course, are actually adults.  

Mama had to kick it into high gear and get the decorating completed and the gift shopping finished and she readily admits online browsing for gifts surely did help.  That and a one night get it all done or bust shopping excursion with Papa.

But despite the whirlwind and flurry of getting an early Christmas ready and waiting, we succeeded.  Shiny lights and wreaths adorned the exterior of the house.  Garlands and candles and festive decorations bedecked the inside.

The Christmas tree flaunted its finery and stacked beneath it gaily wrapped packages awaited opening. The once empty bedrooms were ready for nestling in beds with visions of sugarplums dancing through heads.  The pantry and fridge stood stocked and equipped for good eats and despite fighting off some sinus crud for a few days this week, Mama, with the help of Papa, prepared for a weekend of celebration.

One by one and two by two they arrived to celebrate an early family Christmas because of work schedules for the medical duo and travel schedules for the adventuring twosome and crazy busyness of new job and new home for the other couple.

First to arrive on Friday night was son driving all the way from a brand new home in the state on the other side of us with the grandpuppy in tow.  Daughter-in-law would be picked up at the airport Saturday morning as she flew in from a business trip.

The second homecoming brought oldest daughter and son-in-law, tired from a long week at work and a long drive here yet excited to be together with the family before they leave on their grand adventure to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and sightsee in Africa.

We snuggled with puppy, we chatted, we ate, and we howled with laughter all over again at the crazy holiday movie, Christmas Vacation.  And we enjoyed each other’s company as we waited for the last couple, middle daughter and son-in-law, who arrived Sunday morning since daughter was in a friend’s wedding on Saturday.

Mama rose early on celebration Sunday to whip together a most yummy crock pot version of hot chocolate for breakfast and begin Christmas dinner preparations when the door opened and the last of my loved ones finally arrived.

There was much hugging and laughing and talking and it was one of the most relaxed Christmas celebrations I can remember for quite some time.  We opened our gifts with exclamations of surprise and gratefulness, gathered around the dining room table for a simple but filling Christmas dinner, and topped it off with singing the birthday song to oldest son-in-law as it was his special day. 

And all too soon, time came for departure.

We joined hands full circle and prayed for safety and well-being during the grand adventure taking place this month and for safe travels for all as two by two they left the homestead.  Again we embraced and even shed a few tears this time.

As the door closed after the last couple departed, Papa and I gravitated to our usual spots in the family room.  The quiet enveloped us once again here in the empty nest.  For us, the family Christmas is over.  Oh, we’ll still celebrate some more by attending Christmas Eve church service and taking time to contemplate the wonder of the most amazing Gift ever given to mankind on Christmas Day.

But for now, I’m left with a sink full of dirty dishes, loads of towels and sheets to launder, Christmas gifts to put away, torn and crumpled wrapping paper to dispose of, leftover food to eat…and memories.  And for that early Christmas gift, I am most thankful.

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” ~ Burton Hillis

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


18 responses

  1. So glad you all enjoyed such a memorable time together, even if it was a bit early. I’ve certainly learned to appreciate any time I can have my little family together, which doesn’t happen very often these days. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! I’m pretty much signing off until after the first of the year, as we are traveling in the RV for Christmas this year with our son and will meet up with our California kids on Christmas Eve to go camping together in the mountains for a few days, a dream come true for all of us. Hubby and I will be gone until early January, and we will have very little cell and internet service. My kind of getaway! 😉


    • Now that all the kids are married and living afar, we do treasure any time we get together as a family. Hubby and I lived away from our folks for 20 years so we truly cherish family time. Have a blessed and relaxing Christmas on your trip and enjoy every minute of it. I’ll ‘see’ you in January when you get back on the grid. Enjoy, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m afraid our Christmas will be too quiet this year with no sighting of granddaughter and her parents as they travel north. Son and his wife will be here but I’m lamenting the absence of the others. Your holiday sounded perfect. The best presents is always presence.


    • Thank you — that’s a lovely compliment. I do try to convey as much as I can through my words and it blesses me to know when a reader feels that. Family time means the world to me and my wish is that you will enjoy time with yours as well.


  3. I agree with Dor that the quote is so grand. Perhaps you’ll remember “That was the Christmas we celebrated early” although the picture of Dad above and the joy you described of being together could have been taken any Christmas day. Christmas is the day our Savior was born, and it’s also the spirit that captivates us in all you described above. Perfectionism or not, thank you for sharing the perfect details.

    Happy Holidays to you, to the Papa of your Empty Nest and your beautiful family!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s the little things that give us the warmest hearts and happiest sighs – precious gifts indeed. Did Barley like all the leftover paper and trimmings? What a duo he and the littlest she will be NEXT Christmas! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Simple things are the most precious. Let go of my perfectionism when it came to Christmas this year and I find I’m enjoying it more. Barley liked the cardboard tube from inside the wrapping paper roll the most. He chewed on that forever and totally massacred it. He spent a lot of time sleeping on people’s laps and loving us all. If all dogs were like him, I’d actually find myself liking them more! 😉


  5. What a wonderful time you all had and I am sure it was hectic and chaotic and then oh so quiet. I always become a bit verklempt after the holidays but this year I am anticipating a lower key Christmas, some beach time and a lot of time with my “men”. I am blessed. Merry Christmas!!


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