Friday, December 4, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Christmas Card Peer Pressure, a Year of Unexpected Family Time, and Trying Not to Ruin My 7th Grader's Life

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


You people are all annoyingly on top of your Christmas game. This week, before it was even December 1st, we got four Christmas cards in the mail.


Considering that we haven't even finished raking the leaves in our yard for winter, I'm a little intimidated.


The early Christmas cards reminded me to start writing my own family's year-in-review newsletter, so at dinner I asked everyone to brainstorm ideas.

After claiming that "we didn't do anything this year," which was sort of true, each family member was at least able to think of a few new developments with them this year (learned how to read! started 4th grade! got my braces off!)

I still didn't have much for the 4-year-old, so I turned to the rest of the family and said, "Help me out, guys. What has your little brother been up to? What does he like to do?"

Completely serious, the 6-year-old immediately answered, "Fight with me."

So it's going to be a very entertaining Christmas letter, I can tell.


How do those of you in big families do sibling-to-sibling gifts? What's worked for us for the last several years is something we call "Secret Sibling." 

The kids all draw names at the beginning of December and are supposed to do something nice for their secret sibling each day. On Christmas, they creatively reveal who they are.

Despite repeated warnings not to reveal whose secret sibling he was, the 4-year-old announced it almost immediately. The next day, the 12-year-old's secret sibling left a piece of gum on his pillow and he figured out who it was since he knew only one kid in the family was in possession of gum at the moment.

I guess this year, the emphasis is more on the 'sibling' and less on the 'secret.' I tried.


Lately my 6-year-old, who is a beginning reader, has been obsessed with this set of illustrated scripture stories we have. Whenever he's quiet, we know he's got his nose buried in one of them.

A few days ago he approached me and asked, "What does 'Denny Jesus Christ' mean?"

"Huh?" I answered articulately.

"What does 'Denny Jesus Christ' mean?"

Denny? Like the restaurant? Like my name with a 'D'? What is this kid talking about?

"Umm... can you tell me where you heard it? Like, in what context?"

Of course he's 6 and has no clue what "context" means, so he shrugged and said, "In the scriptures. Like 'Denny Jesus Christ.'"

Finally I asked him to show me, and this is what he meant:

From the illustrated Book of Mormon stories.

Whenever I read the scriptures from now on, the word "deny" will be pronounced "denny" in my head.


One thing I've really liked about this semi-quarantine time is that without very many evening activities left, we're all home together every night. We eat dinner together and we always have everyone there for Family Home Evening, which is kind a like a weekly family devotional.

This week at Family Home Evening, we learned a Christmas song that the younger kids would probably be learning at church right about now if they were having their regular singing time hour, and then we got out the Nativity set and the scriptures and had them arrange the pieces as we read verses to them from Luke 2.

This set has been around forever. The fact that we aren't missing any pieces is a legit miracle.

Then we made and ate sugar cookies and nobody can complain about that.

Looking at this picture with everyone in the same room makes me so happy. This is why, when I look back, I think I will remember 2020 as one of the luckiest years of my life.


My 7th grader was doing online school, and I happened to overhear all of this because I was sitting at the other end of the table reading my scriptures.

In the middle of class, my son's teacher called his name and asked, "Did you go somewhere this morning?"

"What?" my son said, confused.

"Did you go anywhere special?" 

"No," he said, looking down at his polo shirt. Admittedly, it did look pretty dressy, but it was probably just the first rumpled thing he'd pulled out of his dresser that morning. (He was also having a particularly good hair day, if I do say so myself.)

"Oh," the teacher said. "Well, you just look so... dapper today."

He gave me the side eye off-screen and the teacher said, "Is that your mom over there?"

My son turned his laptop to face me (luckily I'd showered and gotten dressed already or I would've been hiding under the table) and the teacher asked, "Doesn't he look dapper today?"

I looked at the on-screen grid view of all my 7th-grader's classmates thinking, "Okay. I'm pretty sure my 12-year-old doesn't want his mom gushing to his entire class about how handsome he is. What is the absolute least embarrassing thing I can do here? Just evaporate?"

Maybe I should have hidden under the table, after all.


It's December, which means that my church's annual Light the World campaign is happening. They do it a little differently every year, but the basic idea is to do something every day to emulate Jesus and feel closer to Him by Christmas.

Yes, it's December 4th, but that doesn't mean it's too late to start participating. I've learned in the past that doing good things imperfectly is better than doing nothing at all.

You can download a daily service calendar or learn more about Light the World at the official website if you're interested. Good luck!

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1 comment:

AnneMarie said...

I have this feeling that I am going to start hearing "denny" in my head while reading the Bible now haha.

I am always impressed with people who get out Christmas cards/letters in December. We have never done an actual letter, I usually just send a handful of random cards to random people, but as I've pulled back from social media even more, I'm starting to think that it would be fun to do a family letter. I'm thinking maybe a Lent or Easter letter might be the most realistic thing at this point, with my lack of motivation ;)