I feel like vacuuming the living room floor, clapping my hands together briskly and declaring, “Okay everybody, that’s a wrap!”

It’s a 30 day holiday, you know. A full 30 days of eating too much, buying too much, and sleeping too little. (Did anybody else’s kids wake up at 4am on Christmas morning, unable to sleep a minute longer, as if they knew their parents had gone to bed only two hours before then?)

For 30 days we caroled and baked and wrapped. We spread Christmas cheer, pored over our itemized lists to the North Pole and then agonized whether they’d make it in time. (Good thing I found Santa’s email.) We left goodies on doorsteps, subbed for Santa and even managed to get a family picture taken in coordinating outfits! We baked gingerbread houses, decorated gingerbread houses and then watched them slowly disappear, nibble by covert nibble…

Then there’s all the “magic” my husband and I created whilst the little ones dreamed of sugar plums. For 30 mornings they woke up to our Elf on the Shelf, Ernie, in one predicament or another. One morning Ernie found himself backed into a corner fighting off carnivorous dinosaurs from the back of his trusty woolly mammoth with nothing but a Lego sword and his cunning for protection. Another morning they found Ernie hiding from his Naughty List adversaries stashed in the poinsettias while Darth Vader and his gang of toy cronies stood all around the pot, weapons cocked, searching for the tattling elf in vain like the Naughty List Gestapo. 30 mornings of this high adrenaline lifestyle was about all Ernie could take. Whew!

I’ll admit, there was a point when I found myself tapping my toe, wondering if the 30 days would ever be up. How long can one holiday possibly last?  I was so wrapped up in my to-do lists, turning my home into a cottage industry and magic making, I found it difficult to ponder that silent night for more than the duration of a very brief nativity play.

This is why I was so glad Christmas fell on a Sunday this year. Putting on our Sunday best and singing along to sacred Christmas hymns was just what I needed to wash down all the cookies the kids had put out for Santa. For a whole glorious hour, I felt as though I were one of the angels singing in that heavenly host over 2,000 years ago. We were like happy little whos down in whoville, with Christmas bells ringing, standing hand in hand and sing, sing, sing, singing!

And like the Grinch, I couldn’t help but think, “It came! It came just the same. It came despite all the ribbons, despite all the tags. It came despite all the packages, boxes and bags!” And even though emotion choked out my attempts at harmonizing, the voices in that chapel sounded divine. O holy night.

Even though the trimmings, trappings and wrappings are all wrapped up for another year (thank goodness), I hope this feeling will last for another 30 days. At least. Hopefully longer.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, free-lance writer, wife and the mother of five small children. Read more at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com