Nothing Left But The Smiles

Christmas has come and gone. For some reason, this Christmas season seemed to stretch on way beyond the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each year I vow to start all my shopping, cards, decorating, etc earlier, and each year I shake my head and say, *next year, yada,yada.*
Despite all the Saturdays spent baking and weeknights spent wrapping presents, Christmas this year was fun. Traditionally, we spend Christmas Eve with my aunt and cousins in Boulder. Very festive evening. Good food, good fun, good fellowship. After the presents were opened and the last bite of cake and coffee consumed, we drove back to Longmont in time for the Candlelight Service at church. We sang holiday tradition and listened to the timeless message of the birth of salvation. Beautiful reminder of what this season of joy and giving is all about.

Christmas morning finds the Harders’ family preparing for the holiday meal before opening the presents. This year, a lamb and pork roast went in the oven and a turkey breast in the slow cooker. Ahh, the smells that filled the house made our mouths water : )
Presents were appreciated by one and all, but I especially appreciated the presents MADE by my husband. Gary made all the gifts he gave this year. He is a master of creation with scrap wood. Kara and Bud and many of their friends received duck calls handcrafted by Gary. Yes, yes, yes, we listened his *testing for tone* all December long. Along with the duck calls, Kara and number of the female friends received earring presented within handcrafted acorns.

Christmas afternoon found the Harders’ side of the family at our house. A buffet for 13 lined the wall of my dining room and kitchen. Everyone ate well and we still had abundant leftovers to send home. The little kids tore into presents and the adults laughed with the excitment.

My presents were the best of all. Gary and the kids know how I love receiving office supplies and gadgets any time of year. The kids fed this hunger with post-its, oversized push-pins and paper clips, and various notepads. Gary crafted a storage box for all the little supplies and a paper clip holder with a magnet set in the lid. I love them!! I love the time he took to make each gift special for the person receiving it : )

Christmas evening wound down with the wrapping paper all thrown away, the table collapsed to its normal size and the kitchen clean. By 7:00, I was ready to turn off the lights and head for bed.
What a wonderful, blessed Christmas. God is so generous, I feel incredibly blessed surrounded by the special people I call family and friends.

I pray your Christmas warmed your hearts and may the joy of the birth of our Savior live on in your hearts all year long.
Merry Christmas!
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