Dec 28, 2007

Tis the Season to Be Jolly

Valerie J. Steimle

This past Christmas season has been an interesting one. After all the drama of the breakup with my boyfriend right after Thanksgiving, I didn’t feel like celebrating Christmas at all. I didn’t do any Christmas shopping or Christmas caroling. I didn’t do any decorating or baking until the very last moment when I had to, including the tree. I ignored my Christmas card writing and our traditional neighborhood Christmas cookie deliveries because I was being a Scrooge. I did eventually get my shopping done but it wasn’t fun. I really wasn’t looking forward to Christmas at all. Not to mention the washing machine broke down, one of my sons lost the second set of car keys and I forgot to pay the phone bill. December was not turning out so well.

But there were several activities and events that improved the month as I went. One of those being our stake singles Christmas Dinner and Dance the first weekend of December. I was in charge of the whole thing and I really put my heart into it with decorations, food and music. Maybe that’s why I was so burned out by December 3rd. But the activity was a smashing success and everyone was happy with how it turned out. I was glad I could help others have a good time.

Another highlight of my Christmas celebration was our ward Christmas party. Our whole ward had dinner together in the cultural hall and our activity committee decided to include only adults in the annual Christmas story performance so there were three wise men (one of which was my returned missionary son), and four shepards (two of them being my other two sons all over 6 feet tall). There were six angels (I was one) and a Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. There were several young women helping in the singing and a handful of primary children doing one song. When we got together for practice the Wednesday night before the actual day, it was a disaster. The piano player kept missing his cue, the wise men kept singing faster than the angels and the angels were getting very frustrated and upset. Baby Jesus was getting fussy and the shepards were singing off key. I think on purpose. The narrator had to read his part several times over to make sure everyone knew what they were doing. Poor Sister Benham (our activity director). I don’t think she thought we could pull it off but we did. Even though one of the wise men kept losing his head piece throughout the whole thing, we did beautifully. The Spirit was strong and we all sang Silent Night at the end. It was wonderful.

The biggest highlight of the month was Christmas day itself. Eight of my nine children, one son-in-law and my first grandchild were gathered in my living room talking and laughing. We opened presents, ate food and had a great time. My other child was in Las Vegas on a mission so I got to talk with her later that day.

All in all it was a great day and next year I’ll try to start earlier in my preparations and won’t be such a Scrooge no matter what may be going on. Oh and by the way, the washer got fixed; my son found the car keys and the telephone was turned back on again.

Happy New Year.


  1. Valerie,
    I love keeping up with you and your life events. I hope that the New Year brings you happiness and that you find peace and joy with or without a significant other.

    At least it was your phone and not your electricity. I did that recently (thought I'd paid the bill on line). What a surprise to come home to a dark house and cold water. (They did leave us with enough power to run a couple of lights). No one could come out to turn it on until the next day.

  2. Hey, my husband and I have nine children, also : ) Though we didn't have 8 of them in our living room on Christmas Day. We did have two parties (one in Phoenix, one on the 23rd here in Salt Lake City) where our kids and grandkids opened their gifts as though it were Christmas morning (which is always very fun to do and stretches out the fun of Chrismtas).

    Hope this New Year is joyous for you : )

  3. Valerie, if nothing else, your life is exciting. I'm glad Christmas came - as I started reading your blog I was afraid I was in for a dismal ending but you pulled it together. 'ATTA girl! There really is magic in family and service and Christmas.

  4. Hurrah for you, Valerie! Wasn't it wonderful having that grandbaby with you at Christmas?! I'm so glad your activities turned out well and brought you such joy.

    We were blessed to have all 9 of our children, the 4 spouses, the one fiance and all 10 grandbabies at the house. Actually, most of them have been here for more than a week. It will probably be 4 or 5 years before we are all together again due to missions and school, etc. I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can.

  5. Valerie,

    I'm sorry to see you leave the blogging scene, but excited for the opportunities that will open up for you this year. You're going to meet wonderful, creative people 'out there', and so will your children as they attend public school. I've been a teacher in the public schools, and I know there's lots of goodness there, too. Your children will gravitate to what is good and be stronger for it.
    Let us hear from you every now and then on the social line so we know how you're doing.

  6. Thank you all for your comments. I will miss the closeness here but need to move on to my job which will take up a lot of time. I have enjoyed all of your comments and your encouraging words. I will keep you posted on what is going on in my life.
    Love to you all......

  7. I just discovered I had not posted a comment here, and I thought I had. I thought about your post often, Valerie. I felt like I'd been there, done that. Well, I only have seven children, and have only felt single when my husband was overseas for a year at a time -- twice. I did go to college and teach while I had children still at home, though.

    Also, I was once in charge of a roadshow where the only time we rehearshed on stage--the night before the performance--was such a fiasco that the stake leader (from our ward and whose husband and children were among the performers) was acutely embarrassed. But I knew we had a good script, and excellent props, if they could be finished on time. Somehow, the cast caught the spirit of the thing, and we walked off tops in all the judging (though in two or three categories they awarded a runner-up instead).

    Miracles continue to happen. We just need to be as patient and as far sighted as our exemplar.

    We'll miss your bi-monthly comments, but understand and applaud your choice. You really do need to leave time for your family. Since mine are long gone from my immediate charge, the stress isn't so immediate. For that, your turn is coming.

    Good wishes in all your endeavours.


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