Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sweet Christmas

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!

All photos are the property of Life Art by Emily


Tara said...

Glad y'all had a lovely Christmas! Y'all have a lot of traditions and one I thought about today was starting to have a Happy Birthday, Jesus birthday cake each year. I see y'all had something very similar.

Stef said...

Oh, I loved all these pictures! Ethan thinks the purple milkshakes look "totally awesome!" :)

Looks like you guys have some great traditions! I've gotten amazing ideas off of my friends blogs.
We did the watching too many Christmas movies that our DVR would hold as well :)

Stef said...

oh... we started the cake for Jesus too. Kids loved it :)

Lori said...

Sounds like a great Christmas! :) I need to steal some of your ideas for family time during the holidays... we had a series of unfortunate events that got in the way of doing all the fun advent things I had hoped to do.