Merry Christmas!
I got up early Chrismas morning to finish wrapping presents. We knew that Amy and Andrew wouldn’t be coming over for a while, so decided to get a good night’s sleep and finish today. That’s the first time I’ve done that, but as mentioned before, it’s been a busy month. I imagine our traditions and plans will change often in the coming years as we adjust to the potential of the kids not being in town over the holidays and figuring out ways we can still be together somehow and then adjust again when grandkids come. We’re looking forward to experiencing all those different seasons of life.

Terry and Kevin slept in, so the house was quiet. I turned Christmas music on quietly and finished up the last of wrapping and stuffing the stockings. By the time Amy and Andrew arrived around 11 a.m. we were all up and ready to go. We missed not having Erin there with us.

Christmas is a relaxing day for us. You’ll notice that several of us are still in our pajamas and it was probably early afternoon by then.

No big plans beyond opening and enjoying our gifts, some food and each other. We do our extended family gatherings on days other than Christmas, so as to reserve that day for relaxation and immediate family celebration.

We usually try to have a pretty simple meal so that we can just eat when we’re hungry. That started when the kids were too excited about their gifts to stop for a nice dinner, and when I decided that it should be a day of rest for me as well. This year Terry cooked a turkey on the grill. It turned out well, but I think was a little too ambitious for him because he also has a bit of a cold, so didn’t get to relax too much. We also had mashed sweet potatoes…they were just o.k. and a green salad (one of Andrew’s favorite things). We’ve never established traditional foods for Christmas so we get to enjoy different things every year.

In talking with others lately about their holiday, I realized that we all have just a little bit different traditions and habits. Here are some of ours:

  • Everyone gets to open new pajamas on Christmas eve. Terry doesn’t really wear traditional pajamas so I’ll usually get him aT-shirt that he can wear anytime. This year I got him a glow-in-the-dark skeleton playing guitar. He said it surprised him when he got up in the middle of the night and saw it in the mirror.
  • Everyone gets a Christmas ornament on Christmas eve. We try to gear the ornament to an event, milestone or interest of the person that year. When the kids moved out, we let them take their ornaments with them so it gave them a good start on their tree. We continue the tradition now with the spouses too.
  • We always put an orange in the toe of the stocking. This goes back to my days growing up in Ohio when it was a special treat to have citrus in the winter.
  • Everyone gets a new toothbrush in their stocking (to take care of all the treats that they get).
  • We put favorite candy, snacks and treats in the stockings. My family likes things like beef jerky, dark chocolate, Nerds, etc. Terry likes strange foods like oysters, clams, and sardines. This year “Santa” got him a can of spiced octupus…we’ll see what he thinks.
  • Andrew thinks it’s strange that we wrap the little gifts in the stockings. For me it just helps with the suspense.
  • On Christmas day we only open one gift at a time and go around the room so we can all see what each person gets. It takes a long time but is much more fun than rushing through it. Besides it takes months to prepare, so even when we’re done it seems to end too soon.

Terry makes up strange names for the gift tags, because he gets bored with the same old standards. He writes things like; To Lady, From the Tramp or he’ll give one of us a CD from the first name of a musical artist. I got one from James this year (Taylor, that is). Amy & Andrew got a book from Boris (Diaw, of the Phoenix Suns, that is). Now Kevin does it too, but his names are so random that they’re just funny.

  • We set up our nativity every year and leave the baby Jesus out of the manger until Christmas day, since that’s his birthday. When the kids were little, it was the job of the first one up to place Jesus in the manger.

When looking for a nativity I really wanted to find one that was somewhat natural looking. So many of them make the people look so perfect and unusual, not like real people. The one we have isn’t too bad, but as you see from the photo, the baby isn’t wrapped in swaddling clothes (he must be cold) and for some reason his hands are outstretched (probably because he’s cold).
Have you ever seen what a new baby looks like when they’re not wrapped in a blanket? They can’t stand being exposed and not securely wrapped. They’re used to being in a warm, safe, cozy place, after all. And Mary looks a little bit too fresh, clean and neat considering she just gave birth.
I’d love to find a nativity that’s more realistic. If anyone knows of a set that looks like real people, in a real stable, I’d love to hear about it.

Well, that’s just a bit about our day. Amy wrote more about it too. Terry and I have the whole week off so I’m looking forward to lots of relaxation, blogging, scrapping and spending time with friends. I’m even hoping to work on finally getting my scrapping area set up and organized…a little too ambitious, you say? …we’ll see.


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