We found an apartment together. We bought furniture and moved in our things. We went to the temple with all of our family, knelt across the altar and it was the most amazing kiss I ever had. There was a reception and dance and hugs and the blessings from our fathers in which my dad said my married name for the first time. Through the wedding and marriage, I thought I knew what I was doing.

I just hadn’t thought it all through. I only began to understand what marriage would mean a week or so later when I found myself in a hotel room, awake very early in the morning, sneaking around. The light peeked through from the other room. I quietly and carefully found the stocking I made with my mom and her friend. I filled the stocking with an orange, book, nuts, candy and gifts. I arranged everything around the generic hotel tree.

As I looked at it all, I had a shocking realization – I’m Mrs. Claus! How can that be? This means I’m also the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and…what have I done? It was suddenly all so real! I had responsibilities! I love my husband, but what would he be like as Mr. Claus?

Children acting out nativityMaybe jolly isn’t the word, but to be my Mr. Claus, he definitely needs a sense of humor. We’ve had countless nativities with the children. One of our children, as Mary, snuck twin dolls into the manger. Another mimicked my pregnancy waddle which led to a horribly inaccurate family demonstration. Some of our family nativity cast have turned into baby thieves. We’ve had bucking donkeys. One shepherd climbed the angel in order to see the baby better. There have been wise men in tutus who were very unsure of directions. It takes a very generous reading of the scriptures and a healthy sense of humor to survive our Christmas Eve nativity!

My Mr. Claus needs mad nursing skills. Quite a few Christmases have involved infants for us. We have four babies that were born within two weeks of Christmas. The twins were born just three months before Christmas which made another December finding me in the rocking chair while Chris took care of us and all of Christmas as well.

We’ve also had a chicken poxy Christmas. We caroled ourselves, drank a lot of purple poxy shakes and spent a bulk of December in our pajamas. We watched a lot of Jane Austin and had our own family Christmas party.

Sometimes Mr. Claus has needed nursing. One Christmas he was out of commission with a bad back injury and I still had a slide to set up. I called on his elves, in the form of very un-elf-sized nephews!

My Mr. Claus has to be very flexible.

children-christmas-tree-1083261-galleryThere was the Christmas in which one particular child woke up before us and discovered the wonderful cat that was to be part of the kids’ Christmas and let the cat out of the house.

We’re so glad the cat liked us enough to come back to us so quickly!

We like live trees (and by that I mean I love live trees and he humors me). That has led to adventures. With the bait and switch Christmas tree, we had been eyeing the tree on our property for quite a while. The kids and Mr. Claus had marched out all excited only to find the tree covered with poison ivy. I have NO idea how we had not noticed this before. I also don’t know how everyone came back poison ivy free with a different, albeit smaller, tree. For a man who doesn’t favor live trees, the Christmas we spent climbing around on snowy hills to find the one tree his wife and children like requires patience and flexibility.

Mr. Claus needs to be able to set up bunk beds in the room with sleeping children and not wake a single one. I never anticipated him needing such a skill. That moves into superpower realm. But the year we changed the sleeping arrangements of 9 of 10 children, I learned my Mr. Claus has those skills. Which meant that when we went to sleep at 3am, everyone was now asleep in their new beds. They had been asleep in their new beds for a half hour at least, but we had to make sure Jimmy Stewart got the right girl (he did). I had seen his quiet, sneaky side before in countless doorbell ditches and getaway driving after we’ve left someone a Christmas surprise. But with the bunk bed Christmas, he far exceeded my expectations!

My Mr. Claus has needed all of these characteristics just to celebrate our anniversary!

In between the concerts, parties, birthdays and holiday craziness, we make time for us. We manage to get away some years. Other years have involved take out and the flu or a candle light dinner at home served to us by our own children.

Learning at Home

Learning at Home
To read more of Britt’s articles, click the picture.

My Mr. Claus knows I love a white Christmas only if that means the temple. Almost every year we’ve gone to the temple. It’s the perfect opportunity to get away from the craziness and business that can be December, dress in white, and focus on Christ and why we got married. In the temple together on our anniversary I frequently remember our first Christmas Eve when we sat in the Hawaii Temple visitor’s center and listened to choirs sing. I love remembering all of the color and light and serenity that is the Hawaii temple.

It’s been 20 years. He’s been a fabulous Mr. Claus – everything I wanted and many things I didn’t even know I needed. I’m overwhelmed that I’ve been loved so well for so long! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for making me your Mrs. Claus!

 

About Britt Kelly
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.

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