We actually had a ward Christmas party without Santa Claus this year. It was so wonderful! We had a program with narration and music instead that focused on Jesus and then again on the Sunday before Christmas, we had a mostly musical program in sacrament meeting. It was so nice! (And very ambitious for our little ward!) We don’t do Santa at our house for several reasons and can mostly avoid him, so I get annoyed when he shows up at church. It was a nice change this year.
Christmas Eve morning came bright and early for us, if you can call 8 a.m. bright and early. With DH home for the past two weeks combined with late nights, 8 a.m. has been early, sad to say. I set my alarm though so we could listen to Christmas from King’s College Cambridge, my Christmas Eve tradition. DH rolled over and said he supposed we had to get up now. But no! Thanks to technology, KBYU was streaming the program online and we could just lie there and listen in on my phone, at least until four children finally ended up awake and in bed with us at which point there was no room left and then yes, we did have to get up. As always I had big plans to do a lot more baking for friends and neighbors on Christmas Eve, but reality kicked in and I decided just making pies for Christmas day was enough. Cookies and rolls could still come after Christmas. So we had a pretty relaxing day.
DH and C put themselves in charge of Christmas Eve dinner (for which we have no set traditions although I’m in search of something) and made shrimp and mushroom alfredo pasta. It was really good! After kitchen clean-up, we moved the Advent wreath into the kitchen to do our readings. We’ve been gone so many nights that we’ve really neglected our Advent readings. Some nights we’d read several from the previous days and some nights we’d just say, “Skip it. We’re only reading today’s selection.” We did it more often than not though and it was really a good way to prepare for this Christmas season. The boys really loved Sunday nights when we’d light the candles and looked forward to Christmas Eve and the lighting of the middle Christ candle.
C read the Christmas Eve selection from our book and we listened to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” then I read the selection from our LDS Advent reading and we sang “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth.” Then we moved to the living room to watch last year’s Tabernacle Choir broadcast with Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw relating the story of the Candy Bomber. But our tv was not working properly and we missed a good part of the first 30 minutes trying to get a decent signal. Frustration mounted and kind of killed the spirit we had going, but we were able to tune in for the last half of the concert before sending the boys off to bed so we could do all of our present wrapping (which I always say I won’t leave for Christmas Eve, but always do.)
After Grandma and Poppa brought us all their presents last weekend, it hardly looked like we needed to add our own (although we did!) Last year they gave us Disneyland so there wasn’t nearly so much to wrap and put under the tree. We had to laugh at the big box on the right. They sent it home two weekends ago with no tag so the boys wouldn’t know who it was for and wouldn’t shake it or get too curious. It lasted maybe 12 hours before they were getting too curious and I had to move it to our bedroom for safekeeping.
Dad called us on Christmas Eve to say it was for E and it was the first thing E ripped open on Christmas morning. He finally got the hang of present opening this year and knew to look for his “E” on the tags. We were up much earlier than intended Christmas morning after the boys took turns getting up all through the night. Finally about 6:40 everyone was so antsy and while DH and I tried to pretend we were still sleeping, C would have none of it. “You’re talking.” Technically we were giggling, but we were coaxed out of our warm bed at that point.
We’ve worked on the habit of getting up and getting dressed on school mornings a lot this year . I guess D is trained. He got up and got dressed, even on Christmas–the one day I’m all for staying in pjs as long as possible, or at least until new clothes are unwrapped. Of course the clothes I got I won’t be able to fit into for another 6 weeks at least.
One day my kids will all laugh at how Mommy used to stop the present unwrapping quite frequently to gather up all the wrapping paper and boxes. With six people’s presents, the wrappings build up rapidly in our little living room and it drives me crazy to have them all over. I’m quite fanatical. I think we’d gotten behind when I took this photo though.
And here’s about the only other picture I took Christmas Day. A had quite a fun time putting together E’s play kitchen that was in the big box from Grandma and Poppa.
After presents, we talked to Poppa on the phone, then had FaceTime with Nana in Ohio and saw DH’s sister and two of her boys and their new puppy. Then we had crepes for breakfast because D told his Primary teachers on Sunday that that was our tradition. (We’ve made them once.) But I guess now we’ve made them twice so maybe it will become our Christmas breakfast tradition.
We picked up my Grandma and took her to Grandma and Poppa’s house with us for a wonderful turkey dinner, of which E had about three bites. But I’m not complaining because he didn’t throw up all over me like he did last year.
All in all, it was a lovely day.