Merry Christmas! What a sweet day it was! To my surprise, I did not pine away for my family this year. I think having just spent Thanksgiving with them helped. I also think I've gotten used to being away from them, and the traditions we've established here have stuck. No longer am I focused on missing the California traditions! Instead, I've come to love and anticipate the traditions we have here. I think listing the traditions we've established (along with a few photos) is a good way to recap our Christmas this year!
Getting our tree together
Going to Purple Cow for burgers and shakes on Christmas Tree day
Decorating the tree together while watching White Christmas (carryover from my childhood)
Eating Hashbrown Casserole after the tree is decorated
Going all out on decorating the outside of our home
Taking each child shopping individually, and enjoying a stop for hot cocoa on the journey
Searching the ads, watching the sales, and getting as many great gifts as possible for the least amount of money possible (this was a record-setting year!)
Driving all over town to look at Christmas lights
Cuddling on the couch and watching as many Christmas movies as our dvr will hold
Caroling with our Awana friends
Baking dozens (44 dozen this year!) of cookies to give to neighbors
Sending love boxes of gifts to our family
Creating our own Christmas card using Snapper's artwork
Sending cards and photos to our friends
Matt participating in the Christmas musical at church
Getting the kids dressed in special clothes and going to the Christmas Eve service at our church
Coming home for Christmas Eve soup
Letting the kids interact with Bradley, Matt's bear puppet, discussing the true meaning of Christmas
Opening Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve
Having a Baby Jesus hunt first thing Christmas morning
Birthday breakfast for Jesus
Spending the rest of the day enjoying our gifts, calling our family, and just being together
This year we added playing board games to our Christmas Day agenda, and it was wonderful!
The kids loved their gifts! Santa brought a telescope ($15 on clearance) for Snapper, and a bucket of Army men ($7 on sale) for Pepper.
Mommy and Daddy got a bowling set ($10 on sale) and some other small toys for Pepper, and an iPod Shuffle ($55 purchased with a giftcard I received as a photography session thank-you) for Snapper.
The kids chose special gifts for each other. Snapper picked out the Kung Fu Panda dvd for Pepper. Pepper got a new swim cap for Snapper. Then when Pepper and I were grocery shopping, he saw a Tinkerbell doll, and was firmly insistent on buying it for Snapper. Hey, he was so excited to pick out a gift for his sister, how could I say no?
This year Snapper really wanted to find the perfect gift for her Daddy. She offered to do a bunch of extra housework to earn the gift, so of course I said yes! She found a fantastic book--Tickle Monster--and purchased it for Matt. She wrote the sweetest letter about how she loves it when Daddy tickles her, and we glued it to the inside cover of the book.
My gifts to Matt were practical and very needed: lots of new clothes (all 70% or more off of regular price!), and maps of Florida and Orlando. For me, it really is all about giving. I love to give gifts to the people I love! I received nice things, too! Matt gave me Christmas dishes! They're from Walmart, but they do a great imitation of a Lenox pattern that I have loved for years! He also gave me the ox and goat to add to my Willow Tree Nativity. The rest of the nativity was the gift from all my extended family! Perfect! I also was able to combine cash gifts from Matt's family to buy the Vera Wang purse I've been eyeing for 3 years, but couldn't bring myself to buy because of the cost. But the day after Christmas it was 40% off, and I had enough to splurge! The gifts I received this year were all so thoughtful, and exactly what I wanted! Thanks, dear ones! I am spoiled!
That pretty much sums it up! If you've stuck with reading this and reached the end, I'm impressed! Merry Christmas to you!