We have had a lovely Christmas season. Having the kids off of school for the whole month makes holiday fun so much more relaxing. Of course, we have had our fair share of "I'm bored", "You're the meanest sister EVER!" and "Mommmmm, she hit me!", but overall, it has been good. We have baked cookies, decorated gingerbread men, attended holiday parties, and pigged out on holiday donuts at Krispy Kreme. (The BEST donuts ever. All you Dunkin Donuts fans (RB... talking to you!) need to get your taste buds tested. There is no comparison. I know this as fact because I went to school in Winston-Salem, NC, where Krispy Kreme started. Beat that.)
We went to see the Nutcracker Ballet. Note that my mom dressed for "the season" while the rest of us dressed appropriately for the weather!
Disney on Ice was the other holiday show we attended. Now, someone answer this question for me. See the ridiculously overpriced snowcone Nina is holding in this photo? They had that identical cup in four characters - Cinderella, Tinkerbelle, Mickey and Minnie. The Cinderella and Minnie snowcones were $10. The Tinkerbelle and Mickey snowcones were $12. What gives? Doesn't that seem unfair to moms of boys? They were all the same size, yet if you had a boy who insisted on a Mickey snowcone, you had to cough up the extra $2. Needless to say, Nina's choices were limited to Cinderella or Minnie.
As Christmas Eve rolled around, I decided my old lady hip was not up to cooking a big dinner like we usually do. Instead, we declared it finger food night, and everyone chipped in. J.C. made sausage balls. Elise made pigs in blankets. Addie put together a crackers and cheese plate. Nina cut veggies for veggies and dip. I made Grinch kabobs. Cute, eh? Credit goes to some creative person on Pinterest. I just copy.
I can remember Christmas dinners growing up when we each made a dish. My dad always made an appetizer - usually involving smoked salmon and hearts of palm. I would usually make a veggie or dessert. My mom would make the rest. It seemed all family-family-joy-joy and Christmasy at the time, but now I get it. It is really nice to have help in the kitchen! I'm thinking finger food Christmas Eve where everyone pitches in may become our new tradition.
Christmas Eve night, I had my heart set on watching either Arthur Christmas or Elf. I figured between Netflix streaming, Amazon Prime streaming, Uverse on-demand, and HBO on-demand this would be as easy as turning on the TV and hitting play. WRONG. We couldn't get either of those movies through any of those methods without paying about $10. What? Huh? It used to be you could find Elf on TV on just about any station any time of day for the whole month of December. Now I have to pay $10 for it? Bah Humbug. We watched some forgettable princess movie instead. Between now and next Christmas, I will be purchasing DVDs of Elf and Arthur Christmas, so we will have them for next Christmas Eve.
Before heading to bed to wait up for Santa, the girls opened their Christmas Eve PJ's and we lit the luminarias on the driveway.
Christmas morning featured Christmas morning video failure for the second year in a row. Why am I so incompetent when taking videos on Christmas morning? I don't have this problem any other time I want to take videos. Frustrating as it may be, if you could see the video, it went something like this: Kids running down the stairs. Nina and Addie run to their Santa gifts saying, "Yea", "Cool", or "Awesome". Elise runs to her Santa gift and yells, "A phone! OMG! Santa got me a phone! I can't believe I have a phone! Squeee!!! No way!! No way! I have a phone! OMG! I have a phone! What's my phone number? Squeee!!! I can't believe it!!" The other kids can barely be seen or heard in the background. Anyway, it would have been a great video, but you'll just have to use your imagination. I don't even have photos showing her excitement because I was so busy "videotaping". Sigh.
The rest of the morning was spent opening gifts,
cheering about good ones,
and putting new ornaments on the tree.
My parents came over for brunch which was very low-key. I was all about simplicity this year. I know you can hardly see these in the photo, but my mom made the Christmas cowboy boot napkins and table runner for me. I love them!
After opening gifts with my parents,
we played some games,
read some new books,
played with the new Guitar Hero set,
and Nina did some sketching with her new pens and sketch book.
In the afternoon, Nina put on her new favorite shirt (for fun... ask Siri "What does the fox say?"), and ...
we went over to J.C.'s parents' house for more gifts, more food, and fun with cousins.
While 2013 was my year for scaling back Christmas and cooking as little as humanly possible, my mother-in-law went in the opposite direction. She decided to turn Christmas dinner preparation into an Olympic sport. I don't think I've ever seen that much food in my life. It covered every square inch of the kitchen counters and kitchen table, and then overflowed to the top of the washer and dryer and into the garage. I think she deserves a medal, or at the very least a weeklong nap.
The big feast was enjoyed by all though.
After dinner, we decided to attempt mission impossible - a photograph of all 27 family members in attendance without an SLR camera, a wide angle lens, or a tripod. J.C. came up with this brilliant idea for a tripod though. Nice, eh?
Given the circumstances, I think the picture turned out remarkably well!
I apologize for the length of this post. I certainly had no intentions of it growing this long when I first started writing it. 2013 really was a nice Christmas though - full of fun, smiles, family, and food... just as it should be. I hope yours was too.