As we head into our Christmas celebrations, we thought we’d lighten up the blog with some fun Q&A. Whether you are celebrating at home, traveling, surrounded by family and friends, or enjoying some quiet time to reflect, we pray that you are in awe of the miracle of Christ’s birth.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23
What’s a favorite Christmas memory?
Ruth: When my oldest daughter was in Morocco in the Peace Corps, I talked my husband and three daughters into going away for Christmas to snowboard. We rented a chalet on the hill, snowboarded all day, went to a small country church for Christmas Eve and then my husband and I made love on the floor overlooking the slopes.
Melanie: When I think of Christmas, I immediately smile while recalling my youngest son dancing at church to the song “Little Drummer Boy.” He dances with abandon and I imagine God being so delighted. The song is a family favorite. We watch different renditions of it on YouTube together during the holidays. My favorite versions feature drum solos. The song’s lyrics are so relatable, too. None of us has a gift that is fit to give the King, but we can offer our best for Him. Our church plays the song on Christmas Eve every other year and this is the year! I can’t wait to feel the vibrations from the drum solo in my chest!
What’s a memorable gift that you received from your spouse?
Ruth: I actually have 3 favorite gifts. The first year Jim and I were married he gave me a coat made of rabbit fur. It was so unlike anything that I would have bought myself and it kind of tickled me that he even though about me like that. About 10 years ago, Jim made me a huge rolling pin by gluing up some maple and using the tools at work to turn the wood. He made handles out of walnut and used his engineering skills to design the shaft and assembly. Last year, my husband gave me ear rings that he made me. On a trip to Iceland in the blue lagoon, he had secretly collected small lava rock from the bottom of the pool. When he got home, he polished them and had them mounted on dangle ear rings.
Melanie: One year my husband surprised me with a gift that I had been requesting – you’ll never guess – it was a parking pass for his office. It didn’t cost a thing, but it was invaluable because it allowed me to visit him at his work without finding a parking meter and ensuring that I had coins in my wallet. We were no longer bound to visits in multiples of 5, 7 or 15 minute increments. It removed a frustrating obstacle between us and allowed us to maximize our time together. As silly as it sounds, not worrying about how much time I have left on the meter allows me to be more present with him, too. The icing on the parking pass cake was that he filled out the paperwork and went to office to pick up the pass himself – he didn’t pass the buck to his secretary. It was such a treasure that I can’t even remember what other gifts I received that year.
What’s a favorite Christmas tradition?
Ruth: Christmas morning my kids were only allowed to open their stockings before breakfast. Eager kids that were impatient to wait for mom and dad to get out of bed turned into all four girls clamoring into our double bed with us to open their stockings. The addition of our son-in-law has only recently changed this tradition but I still remember it fondly.
Melanie: Christmas day looks a bit different from year to year, but our Christmas Eve routine is pretty rock solid. We attend the Christmas Eve service at church, followed by driving around oohing and ahhing at Christmas lights and then returning home to watch our sons open one gift of their choice. I’m reminded of the importance of this tradition every year when my sons talk about Christmas Eve with excitement in their voices.
Another tradition that means the world to me involves my grandmother, who was a very talented and creative seamstress. She passed away several years ago, but every Christmas we pull out our stockings that she knitted, our tree topper that she made, and our tree skirt that she quilted for us. On the front of the skirt is an applique of the Holy Family and on the back of the skirt is an applique of my family, including our two babies that we miscarried. The handmade items always remind me how much heaven is going to rock when our family is whole again!
How do you and your husband keep intimacy growing during the busy holiday season?
Ruth: Cold winters in Minnesota require lots of snuggling to keep warm. We also preheat our room with a small electric fireplace to make it extra cozy. The holidays are a great time to ask your husband about his holiday memories as a child. During holiday parties, I haul my husband into the bathroom, turn off the lights and take advantage of a quick make out session.
Melanie: Colder weather naturally finds us huddled up close together at the end of the day. We tend to keep Christmas celebrations, gifts, cards, and other obligations simple so we have white space on our calendar. We are blessed to have amazing family and friends, but have been known to decline a party invite in order to enjoy a night in together instead.
We’d love for you to take these questions, or make up your own, and exchange answers with your spouse. It is an easy and fun way to stay connected during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.