Maggi, even though I commented on your flickr account, I just have to tell you again how beautiful your girls look for Christmas!
Mikan your comment is so right on!
" I keep hoping people will keep up the spirit of giving, the expectation of extraordinary acts of kindness, and so on even past Christmas! (It's a little sad to me how it all builds up and then abruptly ends, the lights go down, and suddenly everyone is grumpy again. We should keep up good will throughout the year!)"
My husband and I learned one year how wonderful it was to get ready for Christmas early. We enjoyed buying gifts for our family and friends through-out the year. We took our time with decorating at the end of November and loved how peaceful it was to enjoy the process rather than rush through it just to get it done. By December 1st we were ready for Christmas and were able to truly enjoy the season. I cannot tell you what a difference this made and it's something I strive for each year, it's not always possible but I try. So many amazing, beautiful things can happen in December, I've noticed that when I'm free of having to worry about getting things done for me, I'm open to giving and serving in ways that wouldn't be possible otherwise. It's easier to turn my back on the crass commercialization when I don't have to step one foot in an overcrowded mall or department store. I am SO grateful for the internet, I love shopping online in my jammies with a hot cup of cocoa at 10 p.m.