We had such a nice Christmas this year. It felt really quiet. Well, I guess it was completely hectic and packed until just a day or two before when suddenly my to-do list seemed to be pretty much all checked off. I even put movies on for my kids and wrapped presents all afternoon on maybe the 22nd so that I didn't find myself up at midnight on Christmas Eve blearily wrapping things that only had a few scant hours to stay wrapped. I hate that. If I'm going to go to the trouble of covering everything in a layer of shiny paper and a few bows I want it to stay that way for at least 24 hours.
I even got a chance to have several hours to myself on the 23rd to clean the house as deeply as I could while listening to music and podcasts. Thank you, dear Ruth, for letting my kids play at your house for all those hours. It felt much better after that.
Christmas Eve was absolutely delightful. We started the day by enjoying breakfast with friends. Our dear friends Martin and Becca have a tradition of listening to the King's College BBC Live Christmas Broadcast every Christmas Eve morning, and invited us to join them. We listened to the gorgeous and holy choir singing while we made french toast, sausage, tea, hashbrowns and juice. What a very pleasant morning. I would like to do that every year. But only because we can't do it every day.
Not long after breakfast we headed to the southern end of the valley to meet Troy's brother Sam and his family at Gardener Village to go on the elf scavenger hunt together. It was so freezing cold. Everywhere else in the valley was downright balmy for a Christmas Eve but somehow conditions combined at 7200 South to be just frigid. So we enjoyed our elf-hunt as quickly as we could, picked up a free piece of taffy and ran for the cars. We lunched together at a burger joint that wasn't too bad and then drove back downtown for the much more comfortable and much more indoor window display scavenger hunt inside the Grand America Hotel. That place really does a smash-up job on Christmas. It's so lovely and well decorated and you just feel like Eloise herself at the Plaza Hotel.
With all the hobnobbing we did in the morning and at lunchtime, it was surprising to find ourselves with a very quiet afternoon on our hands. We tidied up the house and made a little food, Bitty and I ran a couple of last-last-last minute errands and before long we were making waffles and cider getting ready to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. We never did get to watch that with Peter and Sheri this year - they had been planning on coming up to Salt Lake the previous weekend but between Troy's family party and Peter getting a ticket to the Ute's bowl game in Las Vegas, it just didn't happen. We were sorry to miss them for our waffles and wassail night, but Christmas Eve seemed the perfect time to watch. Normally on Christmas Eve I feel like we are doing a lot of cooking or traveling to someone's house or welcoming several guests or something. This year just my sweet parents came over and it was so quiet and calm. Weird. I'm not used to that on Christmas Eve. We ate delicious waffles and fruit, enjoyed The Muppets, sang songs by the piano and read Christmas stories. We opened gifts from neighbor friends and then snuggled up in our beds. I kept wondering why I didn't feel more exhausted.
Let's see...what are some of the fun details to remember from this year? I guess one funny bit was that we used some cookie dough given to us by some neighbors to quickly bake up some treats for Santa. The dough turned out to be rather high in butter and low in flour so the cookies were baked into flat crispy wafers that absolutely shattered into crumbs when touched by a spatula. So that didn't go too well. Luckily the kids decided that Santa would be perfectly happy with some left-over chocolates. They were right. Santa did like those.
Another perfectly wonderful detail is that Gregor...
ok side note. Stomper asked to be re-named Gregor after his favorite character in his favorite book series, Gregor the Overlander. Possibly the first book series he's ever willingly read (I had to actually STOP him from reading a few times) in his life. Besides Diary of a Wimpy Kid, that is. Anyway, he's loving being called Gregor but after a family discussion we decided to do yet another switch from Gregor to Cap, after Captain America, his most beloved super hero. We thought it might last a little longer, and since we ALL love Steve Rogers around here, Cap it is. Okay. Back on track.
Another perfectly wonderful detail is that Cap wrote this teeny tiny little note in squiggly swirly curly handwriting saying, "I hope you enjoy your gifts, love Kris Kringle." He stayed up a little later than the girls so he could set it out on the plate we left for Santa. It was so cute. He said it took him forever. I love the fact that Cap's Santa knowledge has not decreased his Christmas excitement in the slightest. He was more excited this year than he has ever been, in fact. I believe that on the night of the 23rd he woke up every two hours or so, and was up for the day by 5:30. Well, we thought, I guess that means that he'll sleep well on Christmas Eve. Not so. Good heavens, that boy could hardly keep his eyes closed long enough to call it sleep. He was bouncing out of bed all night long.
Troy was suffering (and actually still kind of is) from a pretty solid head cold so after the gifts were set out and the lights turned low, we snuggled up on the couch so that he could snooze and I could type and watch....another version of A Christmas Carol. George C. Scott I believe. Why do I love that story so much? I do not know, all I know is that I never seem to get sick of it. I loved sitting in the quiet living room, sparkling with lights from the tree. My favorite quiet. Those last few hours of waiting for Christmas.
And....since it appears that we took ZERO pictures of Christmas Eve, I'll post this picture of the lights I put up on the house all by myself the week after Thanksgiving. Thank you. I was very proud of myself.