24 December 2014

charian christmas

before we left for our grand east coast road trip, we decided to have “charian christmas” – a time for us to do all the traditions we want to make sure to have in our new little family, and to open presents so as to not haul them to the other side of the country. monday the 22 was charian christmas eve, and tuesday the 23 was charian christmas morning!

we started our celebrations after our city-christmas-day with dinner at a cozy middle eastern restaurant in hayes valley. every christmas eve of my entire life {except for the one christmas i spent in england as a missionary}, i’ve had a middle-eastern themed dinner and conversations with family about mary, joseph, and the baby jesus. us eyres call this meal the jerusalem supper, and we dress up in clothes meant to resemble those worn at the time of the birth of christ, and we eat only by candlelight. as soon as the electric lights are turned off, we enter into character, acting as if this is the last meal mary and joseph are sharing with family before they head to bethlehem. it’s kind of a silly tradition, but it has always helped us to think about what that really must have been like, and to focus our christmas celebrations on the birth of the savior.

so the boy and i had a little jerusalem supper in that restaurant in san francisco – but we just had a good discussion about the nativity, rather than dressing up and going into character :)

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then we came home and snuggled up by our tree, read luke 2 (and watched this lovely little video), sang some carols together, shared what we’d like our gift to jesus to be this year (it is his birthday, after all!), opened one present (from my parents), and fell asleep by twinkle lights in each other’s arms. it was just the sweetest.

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when i woke up the next morning, i had that perfect christmas morning experience of being so butterflies-in-the-stomach excited and bubbly but not knowing how early i could wake anyone else up :) i read some scriptures about the birth of christ, set out some gifts by the boy’s sleepy head, and lay waiting until 8am. then i woke him up, and charian christmas morning began!

we were very excited to give each other the gifts we’ve been scheming up for each other. the boy’s favourite was the 2 pound bag of pez i gave him. he just looked at it in pretty much utter disbelief of delight for about thirty seconds after he opened it. haha! my favourite was the darlingest, most perfect bike that the boy gave me! it has a leather seat and leather handlebars, lovely light blue fenders, a perfect little bell! and just-right space for a basket. i was soooo excited when he brought it inside!!

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every christmas morning of my entire life {including the christmas i spent in england as a missionary}, i’ve had eggs benedict for breakfast. as soon as we’d admired our gifts a little, i got right into the kitchen to get cooking. seriously, i have no idea how my mom made this meal for 11+ people for so many years. it is so tricky to get everything just right and hot and ready all together. our poached eggs were a liiiiittle too runny, the kitchen was crazy speckled with butter and yolks and dishes, the hollandaise sauce was not lemony enough, and different parts of the meal where quite cold by the time we ate…but! the tradition was fulfilled, and mostly deliciously. the pez garnish was a nice touch from the boy.

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after breakfast, we went on the most happy lovely bike ride maybe ever. it was soooo sunny and warm and beautiful out, and we cruised around stanford campus, both admiring my new bike about every 2 minutes. holy canoli my heart was full of joy – christmas morning joy, the simple joy of bike riding, true love joy, sunshine joy, gratitude for where we live joy, wind in the hair joy.

then, so quickly, it was time to clean up and pack up! on to christmas round 2!

28 comments :

  1. Man alive, you must have that boy of yours wrapped around your little finger, if all you gave him was a 2lb bag of pez candy......disappointing to learn that not only would you buy him such an inexpensive present, but a present that is not great for his teeth or even his health at large........you sound like a user,Charity........happy holidays.

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  2. Re-read your blog, and it seems as though there were other gifts you may have given your boy that you did not mention......so there is a chance that you stepped up to the plate where the gift exchange is concerned.......hope you included some good toothpaste and scheduled a 2015 dental check up for your boy.

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  3. Re-read your blog, and it seems as though there were other gifts you may have given your boy that you did not mention......so there is a chance that you stepped up to the plate where the gift exchange is concerned.......hope you included some good toothpaste and scheduled a 2015 dental check up for your boy.

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    1. happy christmas! this was a fun email to wake up to ;) yes, i gave the boy other gifts! he is very practical and appreciates experiences much more than things, and i think i did a pretty good job :) the pez was just his favourite, and it's a good thing he has hearty teeth because it's incredible how much he loves candy!

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  4. Charity, sorry about the terrible response of the person above. Fortunately you can pray for them and know you have a much better attitude. Please ignore him/her/them and have a beautiful Christmas.

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  5. Is the first comment for real? That has to be a joke right? Enjoy your first Christmas together!

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  6. Yes, I agree with posters #4 & 5. My earlier comment to Charity was terrible and completely out of line. Please accept my apology.

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  7. I have been a long time blog follower and I adore you, however, do you ever do any traditions of Ian's other than gingerbread houses? Everything is aways for my whole life i have done things this way. being married means combining both into one and you might, but hardly ever display that here on the blog.

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    1. happy christmas and thanks for reading!
      I see how it might have come across that we are doing christmas just my way, and I'm mad at myself for that because in reality I've been working so hard to make this christmas so special for the boy! we are spending actual christmas with the boy's family, so more of his traditions are happening on the actual days (and you better believe his stocking was filled with all the things he remembers getting growing up!). but also, the boy's family just doesn't have as many engrained traditions that he cares about. we have talked about what traditions we want to continue and start, and we both feel great about it.
      hope everyone is having a magical day!

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  8. Charity you need to block anonymous comments!

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    1. I just want to protect you. This is not a blog where you are looking for opinions of others regarding your life. What you are blogging has already happened, no need to get commentary on what you "should" have done...you are seemingly far too busy to put the energy into negative people...I just wish everyone could be nice in this world! :). I know you are so gracious to respond to people but sheesh, even if you're able to have thick skin, it's still got to hurt and you don't need that. You are great just because you are you! Maybe you will be able to change someone's views or help someone in some way, but at what cost? Just my opinion (which is funny because I'm telling you you don't need anyone else's opinion but your own, ha!).

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    2. Very valid point. This is YOUR blog, Charity.

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  9. Charity! Your first christmas round looks lovely! Enjoy married life with your sweetie!

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  10. Merry Christmas Charity and to your Boy! Looks like a perfect first Christmas together! I agree with someone else, you should block Anonymous. There really isn't purpose in commenting on a blog and that you obviously can't appreciate. So move on person and spread joy.

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  11. I read this blog from time to time and I've noticed an increase of negative comments - not really sure what that's all about. Anyway, I just wanted to say, yes it does seem like all the traditions are Charity, but you also have to remember this blog is a snapshot of someone's life. Maybe she didn't show everything (heaven knows if she did someone would complain it was annoying and too much); maybe her husband didn't want to share some of his traditions with everyone (seeing as how someone would probably say something negative); maybe her husband doesn't really care - I know with my husband traditions are way more important to me than him. He is happy to go along with whatever but doesn't think about things to do like I do. I just think the comments over the last few months are weird. Sometimes I like what she writes, sometimes I find I don't. When that happens I just read something else. I just don't get why some people spend so much of their free time (which I'm sure is limited) reading a blog that seems to annoy and irritate them to the point they feel the need to write negative and sometimes downright mean comments. Life is too short people - find a different hobby.

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  12. Merry Christmas!

    I think you had a good idea to celebrate just the two of you before the whole family fun begins where there are so many. My husband and I started the same last year. We also do more of my traditions (and now ours), since I care more about them than he does about his.

    I hope you had/have a lot of fun and Christmassy feelings :-) during your road trip!

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  13. How pathetic to criticise charity on Xmas :((( talk about mean spirited and unkind .!! Read another blog if you don't like her traditions . When I read about talking about Jesus over dinner ... I find a bit odd and certainly not
    For me but I appreciate diversity in the world . Charity this is all plain jealousy and I hope you know that? You have a beautiful life and marriage and outlook and some people just can't handle that you are capable
    Of this kind of joy

    I can be critical and judgmental myself but this comment made me realize how harmful and rude that can be and I will try much harder to not
    Ever do that to others

    Pez is a super gift !!!!! What is this dentist forum
    Or something ???
    Merry Xmas charity and Ian!!!

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  14. Some readers are proposing discontinuing the "anonymous" option. This suggestion seems reasonable and prudent, but here are a few thoughts about what this change could mean, not just for Charity's blog, but for other blogs as well.

    Allowing anonymous comments are not for the faint of heart. Some blog readers can be mean spirited, rude, jealous, vindictive, and viciously competitive. If we look at Charity's readers for her Charian entry, the first reader was indeed, cutting, and mean spirited. A second reader was less openly hostile, but conveyed that Charity was not focussing as much on her husband's traditions, as she was on her own. These sorts of reader responses are offensive, and off putting.

    Despite the obvious incivility in two of the blog readers, the "anonymous" option allowed some interesting developments among the 15 comments that had been left on Charity's blog. The anonymous option allowed the first reader to publicly apolige to Charity for the terrible and out of line comments that had been shared. Another reader revealed that the hostile comments allowed her to reflect on her own judgementalness, and that she was now moved to not treat others meanly and disrespectfully.

    That's pretty neat that Charity's blog offered up a space for people to engage in self reflection. In one case, the opportunity to apologize after writing a mean spirited comment; in another case, the opportunity to think about the consequences of mean spirited behavior, and the public declaration to do better.

    While removing the "anonymous" option makes sense, and would decrease the likelihood of Charity enduring unfair and stinging mudslinging, it is a testament to Charity, that she has allowed readers to express what is on their mind, even when the presentation is ugly.

    I admire Charity for not censoring the dark dynamics that can surface in reaction to a blog post. Perhaps the darkness that surfaces, even if it stings and is downright emotionally vile, allows Charity the chance to reflect on the darkness in her life that she may not be in touch with, or explicitly choosing to not reveal.

    Yes, the "anonymous" option would be an effective way of promoting and enforcing civility on Charity's blog. All that said, if Charity decides to eliminate the "anonymous" option for readers, what would she miss out on in terms of providing her readers with an opportunity to think about the impact of their words. Moreover, what would Charity miss out on in learning about her inner life (or her current circumstances) through this blog journey.

    Charity's willingness thus far to allow the "anonymous" option conveys that she is non defensive, and has an inner strength to discern when a blog reader is accurate and when they are not. It is a testament to Charity's character that she can not only tolerate unflattering comments, but that she can also put the overly flattering comments in perspective as well.

    What ever Charity decides to do will be respected and supported by me.

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  15. Sounds like a great Christmas. How fun! I love how excited you two are about the little things and I also like the focus on Christ! :)

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  16. Traditions will evolve as the a new family is formed and members added. I'm sure they will work it out.

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  17. It seems like some of these rude commenters are being fueled by GOMI. The comment and then go brag about it. I love reading your blog, Charity. Thanks for addressing all the drama with grace and love. Merry Christmas Charian!!

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  18. I adore the post about the anonymous posting. Totally totally agree. Good for all the comments-wise-and unwise. A blog is for that right? You make your life public and you reep the benefits and support of that and you also let strangers and strangeness into your wold in doing so. Hopefully all of it ends up in a better life and soul and human being in the end.
    Whoever wrote that comment-beautifully written.

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  19. I think you're adorable. I love to read your over the top-ness. It makes me smile . Have a great holiday!

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  20. Such sweet pictures. I love the traditions you are blending into your own family now. What a wonderful time in life. Such a cute bicycle too.
    Interesting how people tend to criticize the whole gift giving thing.We decided this year to do practical and useful things-- such as giving everyone in our family new bamboo pillows. We figured since 1/3 of life is spent in bed- it would be a much appreciated item. Funny because my son went to his high school basketball practice yesterday and all the guys were asking "What did you get for Christmas?" When he told them he got "a pillow, blanket (personalized embroidery by Grandma), and pajamas." The guys said, "I feel sorry for you!" My daughter said, "Obviously, they don't know how awesome these pillows are." :) They did get a few other things (headphones, etc.) but I think some people focus too much on the gifts rather than the true meaning of Christmas.
    I hope you enjoy your fun Christmas adventure visiting 5 different siblings. So fun!
    You and Ian make such a great couple and I am so happy that you are so happy!

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  21. Sound like a wonderful day. Where did you find 2lb of pezs? Amazon? My hubby would love that too. Merry Christmas

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  22. WOW! Well done! It's a Christmas you'll never forget!

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  23. How exciting to share your first Christmas together! Your enthusiasm for love, life and Christmas traditions is contagious. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of it:)

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  24. How Wonderful!!! Merry Christmas abd a happy New year :-)

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