Christmas was quite the whirlwind. I give the credit to the SLC School District. They decided we needed to stay in school until Friday the 23rd. That means we were busy with homework and waking up early and doing all that stuff all the way until the day before Christmas. I did not like that. At all. Earlier in the year I had a scheme to just not go to school those last two or three days but my weird kids actually wanted to go. They didn't want to miss out on the class parties and things like that. That was fine, but I expected the teachers to lighten up on homework or something that week. They totally didn't. Oh well.
Christmas Eve was a very big and busy day, and we had a lot of fun. For starters, Troy and I were in charge of his family party this year and when we looked at the calendar, we wondered if we could convince the family to get together for a Christmas Eve brunch. It was a Saturday, most of us don't have regular plans on the 24th, so we thought we could pull it off. It was a great success - everyone except Tonja's two kids were able to be there. I don't think we've all gathered like that in quite some time. I'm realizing we didn't manage to get a picture of all of us together. Oh well.
We met at our church building which has a big massive kitchen. The night before, our family went up to the Church to decorate - I really wanted to make it look nice and show that we put some effort into making a cold empty church into someplace a little homier. Luckily I was given a bunch of extra decorations by two different friends and I think we were able to make the space at least a little bit fun.
I tried my hand at making gingerbread cookies so the early arrivers could have some fun decorating. I think the cookies turned out cute and the kids and even grandma had some fun decorating them but I didn't see too many nibbles taken. I think I need to try a different recipe next time.
Breakfast was waffles with all the toppings, fruit, sausage, fried potatoes and juice.
|Oh look, I did get one picture of us - not a great one - but here it is!|
The present exchange was really fun this year. Bitty got this awesome hat and Yoda flashlight, Skippidy got a Shopkins craft kit, and Cap got a lego kit. Troy and I got a panini press, which I had used multiple times since then. We enjoyed giving gifts like a Luminoodle to Rick and earrings to Tonja, Hufflepuff gear to Alyssa, an R2D2 t shirt to Curtis and gift cards and beauty supplies to Annika.
It really was a fun morning together. At about noon we hopped into the car to drive to Crystal Hot Springs - I thought it was a brilliant plan, actually. Sam and Kathleen invited us and we were super happy to go. Christmas Eve, as I think I have mentioned before, can sometimes feel a little empty. We don't have big family traditions on that day and all the other parties and celebrations seem to be over by then. I loved having an outdoor activity with family. We took zero pictures. We were too busy enjoying the mineral-filled hot water. It was awesome.
What was challenging was getting home. I was also in charge of the evening celebration - dinner and a movie and gingerbread houses with my dad and Troy's parents. I knew we were going to be late - I almost didn't go to the hot springs due to a completely messy house and no food being ready at all, but it felt lame and sad to stay home for the big Christmas Eve activity of the day. And of course that's when the big classic Christmas Eve storm hit - the roads were pretty scary as our days of rain started turning into a big slush storm. We were very glad to make it home safely. And indeed, Troy's folks were there waiting when we arrived, but oh well. We got everyone settled and I started to get food ready. We did a ramen bar - one of our favorite things - plus beef stew for Morris. I thought Carol would go for the stew as well but she really enjoyed the ramen. That made me happy. We ate warm simple food, watched A Christmas Story, which our parents all love because it's so full of great memories for them. The kids made really fun gingerbread houses - that might have to become an annual Christmas Eve tradition as well. It really kept them busy and was very festive. I missed having the houses around for the whole month of December to help add to the decor but this was a great idea.
All of the grandparents headed out after the movie. I had planned a big dessert but didn't get to it - and everyone loved raiding my giant platter of treats from the neighbors. That was another great thing - a great way to enjoy the neighbor treats!
As we were getting ready to start getting the kids settled and ready to read some stories and scriptures, it was time to set out the cookies and egg nog for Santa. Bitty let me know that she wanted to give me my present early. We had drawn names for family gifts this year, and Bitty was really excited to give me mine, because it was something that was better used on Christmas Eve than Christmas. She was so excited for me to open this Santa plate - she knows that I love Santa, I collect Santas, and was so happy to add to my collection with this plate that we can use for his cookies every year. I thought it was super sweet and clever.
The best part of the night came after the kids were in bed. By then, the snow had started falling in earnest. We had a lovely fire crackling in the fireplace. We put our favorite carols on the stereo. The presents were all tucked under the tree. Troy and I snuggled up on our big chair under an absolutely amazing blanket that my friend Jane had given me for Christmas. Fuzziest, hugest, warmest blanket ever. We sat there until midnight, enjoying the quiet and peace and holiness. Possibly my favorite moment of the entire season.
Christmas morning finally came with all its chaotic wonderfulness....I think the pictures say it all.
We spent the evening at my sister's house with her girls and my dad. We enjoyed Mexican food and watching home movies. My surprise gift to all my family members was finding an old video tape of all our childhood home movies and getting my friend The Becky's husband to help me get them digitized. I really enjoyed doing that project and sending a thumb drive to everyone. My dad watched it on Christmas morning as he was snowed in and solitary - I was really glad to have given him something to make his morning special.
Both of the girls had asked for roller skates for Christmas. I was super happy about that request. And Skippidy picked up on it faster than I expected. That Christmas Eve storm really dumped on our valley - it was freezing cold and there were many inches of snow. We were a little snowed it. But the girls totally bundled up and enjoyed skating around the back porch. That was pretty cute.
It was a great Christmas, and I miss it already.