A Family Christmas Evening

Today is our first day of Christmas break. It started early for me as I had to run my teens on an errand at 8am and then that was followed by grocery shopping with one of my daughters as my helper. Then off to two more stores to finish up my Christmas shopping. 

This afternoon we did “The Great Name Exchange” where all the kids who don’t have their own funds draw one of their siblings names out of hat and I give them $5 to go thrift store shopping and pick a small present. Every year it’s a puzzle to figure out how to get each one into the store and buy a present without the other siblings seeing what they got. But it actually went really smoothly this year. Then home to wrap the presents and make supper. 

After supper we stayed at the table and read our devotions and did our nightly advent reading. The kids wanted to watch a movie, but I vetoed and I suggested that we sing Christmas Carols instead. 

And we had a wonderful Caroling time. 

Now, you are probably imagining all my children lined up neatly around the piano, focused on singing, harmonizing, everything beautiful. 

No. 

I had one daughter who sat on the piano bench with me and sang all the verses of each song with great gusto. My teen boys started a chess game on the chess board which happens to be located on the back of my baby grand piano. They sang along on the chorus most of the time while they played their chess game. The four year old got our glockenspiel out and sat in a corner cheerfully banging away his own accompaniment. The two seven year olds would occasionally join in when they knew the song, but they were also busy throwing a marble back and forth at each other. A couple other people had hot drinks sitting on the couches and I heard their voices occasionally. Then a couple kids pulled out a puzzle on the coffee table and sang along while they pieced together the puzzle. The marble-chasing kids were running around, making noise. My oldest son popped in for a couple minutes. A couple arguments broke out. And then got resolved. My voice finally gave out and we turned on some Christmas music, including Straight No Chaser’s “The 12 Day of Christmas” which is just hilarious. (I just have to add that the fire is going in the fireplace and the tree is sparkling in the corner!)

It has been a wonderful family evening. 

People always say “Enjoy it now! They’ll grow up fast!” And it’s true. I’ve got a twenty-one year old off living her own life, my twelve and fourteen year old boys are taller than both their parents now. My youngest is about to turn five. And so, I write this down so I can enjoy this evening for years to come. A peaceful Heneise Family Christmas evening. 

I am feeling especially thankful.