Storytelling…Christmas Style!

Sometime soon, I will write a blog post about being a story-teller and about collecting stories. For today I just had to share a little fun with you. Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we have enjoyed the story-telling!

I have a huge Fontanini Nativity Set that we put up each Christmas. The kids usually decide on a setting and make the appropriate scene. Many years we set up the Wisemen in a different location, then add them as visitors to the Christ-child on Three Kings Day (January 6th).

nativity set

Our Nativity Set -- 2011

This year, we put the wise men plus three other “Christmas Visitor” figures around a candle on the table. The extra figures are: the Krist-Kindl (Christ-Child) who brings gifts in Germany, St. Nicholas who was a real person in history who cared for others, and Santa worshipping Baby Jesus. Our wise men follow a Hispanic tradition of including an elephant along with camels. Some day I will find a horse for the traditional third wiseman…

wisemen scene

our story-telling wisemen

With such a fancy tablecloth on the table for the month, we occasionally pushed it back to have a bare table for crafts or to eat messy foods. When we did, the figures apparently decided to entertain us after we slid the tablecloth and figures back into place…

One evening, we found one of the wisemen facedown in the pool of “water.” “Look, Mom,” Jakob called me over. “He must REALLY be thirsty after walking through the desert.”

thirsty wiseman

the thirsty wiseman...

Another time we found the elephant laying down next to the “water.” Can you imagine how thirsty an ELEPHANT would get if he had to walk through a desert day after day after day??

elephant...

the poor tired elephant...

And then there was the tipsy wiseman… We never did decide if he was dehydrated and weak…or if he was hungry and weak…or if he was at high altitude and weak…(we avoided suggesting he was drunk…) Or maybe, he was leaning in to help St. Nick? Whatever the story, we laughed and laughed and laughed.

tipsy wiseman

the tipsy wiseman...

These little stories were fun to hear and fun to discuss…but I took even greater enjoyment in realizing that Jakob and Anna are becoming story-tellers. I love to see creativity and silliness and enjoyment of the little things in life coming out in my kids!

santa jakob

santa Jakob

silly anna

Silly Anna

May each of us see the world through the eyes of a child this coming year…

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Take Time to SMILE

You have forgotten what it is to smile
In your too busy life come, rest awhile.

{Lucy Maud Montgomery}

...gettin' silly...

I smile often. I smile as a greeting to strangers. I smile in agreement when talking with a friend. I smile at the wonderful, creative ideas my kids come up with. I smile at the antics of some of the critters around here. I sometimes even smile at the irony of bad service or frustration bureaucracy.

And I love to laugh. Even more than smiling, laughter lightens the mood of those around me, whether friends or strangers. (You should SEE the looks I get when I laugh out loud at something I’m reading in a coffee shop!) I enjoy getting silly and laughing with my kids, my mom, my friends. And it’s even more fun when they initiate the silliness and trigger my own laughter.

Some parents worry about what their child thinks of them. I take it as a compliment when I’ve said something silly and my oh-so-serious son says with disgust, “MO-om…” Then I know I have done my job well and enriched his life with a laughing moment. After all, “they” say laughter makes you live longer. (Just who are “they”? Dunno…“they” seem to be authorities about many things. But I digress…)

James with the Cheshire Cat Smile

Something I treasured after our son James died a few years ago was all the comments by friends about his smile. So many remembered how his smile lit up the room, how the memory of that smile stayed with them for hours, how he delighted in mischief and in making them smile as well. One commented that James was like a Cheshire Cat—even after he left the room, his smile was still with them. I hope others think of me that way…

The quote at the start of this post was a good reminder to me. It has been a hectic week in every way. Yesterday, I was rushing to get out the door, discussing something with Randy, thinking ahead of everything that needs done over the weekend, and not-quite-looking-forward to being a chaperone for a school trip. Anna came into the room wanting attention for the third time in as many minutes…and I snapped. Neither she nor I had any hint of smiles at that moment.

...playful, colorful SMILE-bringers...

I was too busy. I had forgotten my smile. Fortunately, once we got to the State Fair, our little group took time to enjoy the Chinese Acrobatic Troop. When the bouncing, colorful lions (dogs? dragons?) came on stage, I suddenly found my smile (and my laughter) again.

Maybe I should make a large print of those wonderful critters as a reminder that the more hectic and busy my life gets, the more important it is to SMILE.