Saturday, December 25, 2004

Happy Christmas, everyone!

I have made a marvelous discovery! I almost didn't make it in time. You see, I usually take a little longer to get into the Christmas spirit every year. If you start too early, by the time Christmas actually comes around, you're sick of it. This Christmas, I didn't get into it until about 8:30 last night. And all it took was a little good old-fashioned SERVICE. I felt ridiculous, not to mention awful, to have not done some of that before. It was like one of those lightning bolt moments, you know? One of those times when you're in the middle of doing something good, and all of a sudden this little voice pops into your head and says, "Hello? Duh! Isn't this what it's all about anyway?!" It was fabulous. I feel refreshed.
This Christmas was wonderful! The traditional Wolff family Christmas was the usual memorable affair, with singing and presents and food and people arguing about politics in vehement German. It was great to spend some time with my Oma and Opa...after the visit, I asked Dad whether I'm just getting older and noticing it or whether Oma and Opa are getting funnier. He said he thinks they're getting funnier. They just have so much personality, and they're so funny, and the best part is they don't even know it! Observe the following conversation I was privy to during a visit. All this is said with endearing heavy German accents.
Opa: Is the heater off again?
Oma: Ja, I turned it off.
Opa: Why?
Oma: Because it's been on all morning and we don't need it.
Opa: It's 64 degrees in here!
Oma: Hans, I know. That's why you go outside and sit in the sun.
Opa: But it's cold!
Oma: I know. Hans, go sit in the chair outside and read your paper.
Opa: (as he goes outside to read his paper in the chair in the sun) So cold...why don't we use the heat?
They are just the funnest, most wonderful people. They pretend to argue like that at least 15 times a day, but they're still so much in love with eachother, after almost 50 years! There's just something about that that makes you feel kinda warm and tingly inside, you know?
After the visit in California, Beckah and I flew back to Boise and then drove to cozy little La Grande. What's Christmas without family, so we decided to invite the whole Gardner side to our place! Aunt Stacey and Uncle Chris came with their kids and stayed for a few days, and Bill and Sherry came with their crew just for the day today. Our expected 23 guests were cut down to 17 or so, and I don't know what happened. The men discussed it, and besides, those are details that just don't seem to be discussed around here. We went caroling and spent hours baking and doing dishes and laughing and singing and sneaking into the garage to snitch the homemade candy that's setting out there. Of course, I see no harm in this, as we cooked for a lot more people than actually came. The 25-pound turkey is going to take us a little longer to consume, though...
I think the greatest thing about this Christmas has been realizing what a great family I have. I always knew they were pretty spectacular, but they're also fun and smart and egocentric and altogether endearing. I always used to be a little scared of Chris and Stacey...Big, tall, wide Uncle Chris with the bushy red beard and eyebrows, with his jeans and flannel shirts, and Aunt Stacey with her beautiful nails and blonde hair and whacky jewelry. I've come to know that Uncle Chris is just a big teddy bear and that Aunt Stacey is oodles of fun packed into 5 feet and 5 inches with the greatest laugh and a wonderful spiritual side. Uncle Chris and I had a nice talk...he reminiscing about BYU-Idaho and me telling him which things were the same and which were different. He told me how he and Stacey got married when they were young and the next day started school at Rick's. I said I couldn't understand how people could do that and that I don't want to get married in the middle of school. Chris replied "Well, you get married anytime you want to, sweetie pie," and then told me that marriage is a wonderful thing. He also said something that I'll never forget...he said "Well, you know, life is just such an adventure and I didn't want to do it alone." Yeah. That's what it's all about.
What else can I say? I love Christmas! This year was just about as close to perfect as I can imagine Christmas to be. There were deeply spiritual moments, hilarious moments, tender moments, and moments when all I could do was just look around and think "This is what it's all about. This is why I'm here. This is an eternal family. How blessed can you get? How on earth did I land such a wonderful family?" I'm so excited to be married and have a family of my own and carry on these traditions and start some new ones! I'm so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a member of this family!

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