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Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Doesn't Get Better Than This!

Doesn't Santa do nice work?
And the stockings were hung by our first real chimney!
 Anyone with teenagers can tell you that holidays may have lost some of the magic that accompanied them when the cherubs were little. The threat of Santa checking his list to determine the naughty from the nice kids isn't the motivator it once was. Pretty lights and the first snowfall aren't nearly as interesting as counting the presents under the tree and fretting over present equity. There also wasn't a single one of my five that I could convince to sit on Santa's lap for a picture this year. Therefore, when Craig and I decided our family would join our friends at a candlelight church service on Christmas Eve, you might have thought we suggested a family root canal. We soldiered on in spite of the groaning, hoping that some singing and hearing the Christmas story might be just what we all needed. As it turned out, we had a lovely time and our teens were very well behaved. My girls enjoyed being with friends and acting very grown up. I know my boys especially liked being able to hold a lit candle while we sang near the end of the service. They would have been even happier if Mom hadn't been keeping a watchful eye on their attempts to:
a) stick their fingers in the candle flame
b) drip hot wax on the sibling standing closest to them
c) slip away from the Mom in order to find a quiet spot for fire-eating practice

We returned home unscathed and in a merry mood. It wasn't long before we had a celebration going with tasty snacks and beverages, music, and much laughter. The happy mood continued through Christmas day, one of the best in my memory.

The kids are allowed to open one gift each on Christmas Eve and (as usual) they were very excited. I'm not sure why they continue to be excited about this tradition each year because (as usual), they received pajamas.

Aniyar likes his new pj's...go figure.
 The best part of this year's PJ gift was what our son Madiyar got. You see, our Madiyar hates PJ's. He likes sleeping in his boxers even in the dead of winter...which is fine until he shows up at the breakfast table in them. So what did Madiyar get for jammies? Why, green and red velvet elf shorts with a matching elf hat. We all got a good laugh out of the gift...and Madiyar was a great sport about the teasing, even modeled the outfit for us!
Elf Madiyar

Christmas morning started about 7:30 when Craig and I got up to make coffee and put the turkey in the oven. Much to our surprise, we woke up before the kids...although it wasn't long until they started appearing in the kitchen one by one. We sent them back to their rooms for a bit while we turned on the tree lights, readied the camera, and took a sip of our eggnog lattes. (What can I say, I married a darn good barista!) Once we turned the kids loose in the living room, it was pretty much pandemonium. The first order of business was to check out what Santa brought and empty stockings of all sorts of candy and trinkets. In the excitement, the kids almost missed the gift Santa left for the whole family, a new flat screen TV!

Kate discovers the new TV first!
Next it was on to finding the pickle ornament on our tree which would entitle the winner to open the first wrapped gift. Kate took the honors this year...but the others weren't far behind. In a veritable blizzard of wrapping paper and ribbon, Christmas secrets were revealed and hugs and thanks were given. The frenzy subsided and was replaced with a contented enjoyment of the new games, movies, and other gifts. Dad made his recipe for Cranberry-Orange Relish with Tanya's help . Once the turkey was roasted, I set about making a vat of homemade gravy from the pan drippings and stock, a process that makes me nostalgic every year. It reminds me of Christmases past when I was just a girl. I can see my mom's capable hands stirring the gravy patiently as she showed me just how to thicken and season the gravy to perfection. My mom is gone now but her presence is still strong in my kitchen; I close my eyes and hear her voice. As I stir, I feel her love...and I like sharing her recipes with my own kids.

Our friends joined us for dinner so there were 10 of us feasting on roast turkey with all the trimmings, a rib roast, potatoes, and veggie and fruit side dishes. No one went hungry...in fact, we had to postpone dessert for a couple of hours until we could find room for it!

Christmas dinner 2010
Our first Christmas in our new home...and it was perfect. Our material gifts are great...but our best gifts are so much more than things. We shared this holiday with our closest friends who also are now our next door neighbors. We are surrounded by other neighbors who have known and loved our kids as long as we have. We are just where we were meant to be, with just the kids we were meant to have, in just the house we were meant to raise them in. I can't think of a better Christmas present than that!

1 comment:

Donna said...

Dee, I wonder how many folks read your posts and think, wow, I wish I could be part of a family like that. I have enjoyed the glimpses of your new kitchen in the photos along with seeing the joy in your faces. Love, Donna