#2,559 Christmas Eve.

I don’t know what it was about last year, but I never really felt the Christmas spirit the way I had in years past. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a little anxiety about that as November turned to December this year and I was afraid it would happen again. But much to my surprise, I found that my career change (running my dream retail store) at Christmas all day every day put me in a place where I was surrounded by Christmas from the time I woke up until I went to bed, rather than insulated from it the way I was in my studio designing invitations in the past. I greeted every person who walked through the door and called out, “Merry Christmas!” to them as they left, and it’s like they say about smiling—the simple act of smiling creates endorphins that make you feel happy. Talking about Christmas and being surrounded by the sounds and smells of it during the day completely affected how much we got to enjoy it and feel a part of it this year. I felt true joy that wasn’t rushed or stressed for the first advent in my adult life. And I’m deeply thankful for that. Today the Mercantile men ran the shop and closed early while us girls stayed at home preparing for Christmas. I did that by deep cleaning the house and baking star breads (one garlic butter, one cinnamon sugar) while I listened to Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas album.

And at 3:00 Ben came home and rubbed my tired feet while we watched a few minutes of Scent of A Woman before heading to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve dinner.

We’ve got a balmy 75 degrees instead of snow, but that’s okay. Cornhole tournament!

Then gifts with Walker who is now old enough to really have fun doing it. We all let him open our gifts for us:

Clark introduced us all to his collection of in-box Star Wars toys he’s been hiding for 30 years. Walker was OVER THE MOON.

And then mama’s gumbo for dinner that might have been her best batch ever. And tomorrow, it’s Christmas.