Wow, this Christmas. I really don’t even know how to describe it, though I’ll try my best in these next 1,326 words (you’ve been warned).
With everything the past couple months has brought, I really wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. However, it turned out to be one of my most favorite Christmases ever, and not just because we were in pajamas 75% of the time (though that certainly didn’t hurt). I don’t even know how to write about it without it sounding like a (not so) humble brag, so let me just say I am blessed with the most incredible, loving, joy-filled family. I completely understand how fortunate I am to be able to say that and do my best not to take a minute of it for granted. Having three days to just be with each other brought me to happy tears more than once.
Ok, ok, I think you get the point- it was a beautiful Christmas.
The whole crew showed up Friday afternoon. My mom, dad, brother (Kris), sil (Cara), their au pair (Michelle), and my adorable nieces. The weather was cool, but beautiful, and David’s favorite thing is a bonfire, so we all settled in at the fire pit.
The girls took off exploring, leaving the adults to catch up by the fire.
It was such a beautiful evening and the warmest of the days, so I’m glad we took advantage of the outdoor time while we could.
Saturday, the 23rd, was our day of (glorious!) nothing. We had no plans, so it started off it a relaxed fashion with the kids playing with the train and the adults in the kitchen baking loaves of sourdough and some cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast.
After a leisurely morning we all decided we’d like to wiggle, so we took a family walk for a couple miles around the neighborhood before coming back home to warm up and eat some lunch.
From there the day just flowed- we played games (charades will forever and always be my favorite), watched some football, and chatted while David made gumbo and napped.
Late afternoon I pulled out the sugar cookie dough and Michelle, the resident baker, got to work rolling it out while the rest of us worked on icing prep and sprinkle distribution.
I wish I could show you the actual making of the cookies, but the girls decorated in their underwear after I learned last year how badly icing stains clothes! The kids loved it, and the adults even decorated a few too. After sweeping up flour and scrubbing the girls down in the tub, the adults decided we had certainly earned a martini!
For dinner we dug into the seafood gumbo, which was delicious! I wish I would have remembered to take a real picture of the finished dish, but the martini was flowing through me and I guess I was too busy chatting. David snagged this one of Lacey Mac not looking too impressed with the dish- ha.
Sunday morning, Christmas eve, we all had a big breakfast then got to work on assembling the gang for church. We got the girls ready first, then set them up with The Grinch so the rest of us could follow suit- so cute in their bows!
With the cloudy skies, perfect for pictures, I was determined to take some family photos of all of us dolled up. Somehow the stars aligned and we snagged some good ones.
We got to church with plenty of time to spare, making it easy to check the kids into “Jesus’ birthday party” that was taking place in the childcare. I love church on Christmas eve. The music is beautiful and hearing Oh Holy Night belted out with perfection brought tears to my eyes. That song brings me to my knees. The Christmas sermon felt like it was meant for me and I left with a full heart.
Once back home, it took me about 10 seconds to change into my pajamas. We filled the afternoon with snacking, playing Outburst, relaxing, sipping coffee, listening to Christmas music, and keeping up with the kids. As we got into the evening, we decided to check in on Santa’s worldly progress. Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Hailey so enthralled with anything in her life.
She was fascinated and would not step away from the TV except to answer a phone call from the big guy himself. David’s dad does an excellent Santa impression and with Mema ringing bells in the background, Santa proceeded to briefly chat with Hailey, Kyla, and Kaitlyn. They were in awe that he knew what they had been up to and even their teachers’ names. Hailey was over the moon- truly, this was the most magic-filled Christmas for her yet.
The Santa watching continued and Michelle helped the girls compare where Santa was on the screen to where he was on the map. It was so cute! We somehow got dinner in the girls, then got them into their Christmas pajamas.
We put out sugar cookies and milk for Santa, and tossed the reindeer food into the front yard. Finally, I had the honor of reading The Night Before Christmas to the whole gang before we settled the girls down for the night.
We planned on putting Christmas Vacation on in the background, but we must of all been in the right mood for it because we all ended up watching and laughing through it together. Would you believe it was my dad’s FIRST TIME seeing the classic?
That night David set the girls’ clock back 30 minutes. I believe my mom called that move “mean” last year, but somehow she came around to seeing its brilliance this year- wink. That meant the adults had until 7:30 AM to get ready for the kids to come downstairs and believe me, those 30 minutes make a big difference.
We were all thrilled Christmas morning to see that Santa had come!!
The girls took off to their individual areas to see what the big guy had brought. As usual, the stockings were the favorite! Hailey noticed a note stuck on her basketball, telling her to go check out the driveway. She took off to see what Santa could had possibly left her in the driveway and her reaction (we have it on video) was absolutely priceless. She almost burst from excitement!
Back inside, we all dug into breakfast and more coffee before returning to the living to open family gifts.
The morning was a blur of gift opening and eventually the girls dispersed to play with their new goodies and gadgets.
For the rest of the day, I mostly put my camera away. We made the girls an early dinner to coincide with an early bedtime, as they were all quite beat.
Once the girls were tucked in, us adults took to the kitchen. With Christmas music playing, we worked on dinner dishes, laughed, told stories, danced a bit, and honestly had a grand ‘ol time. I don’t think a single picture could have captured the fun of it all, but I’ll keep that warm and happy memory in mind for all time.
Once dinner was ready and the table was set, we continued the fun with a long, lively Christmas dinner.
The evening concluded close to midnight after rocking out to our favorite songs in the hot tub, and though I was flat out exhausted the next day, it was totally worth it.
Though I tried with this lengthy, photo-filled post, I don’t think I can convey what a wonderful Christmas it was. Having time to just be together, relaxing, having real conversations, watching the kids, and sharing stories and memories made it nothing short of a truly magical Christmas. It was the lift in spirits, hope, and love that we all needed.
I hope you have been able to spend some quality time with the people you love most too- it’s what it is all about!