A quick recap of my Christmas this year-- one of the best in my opinion. Though, as I've said, my seasonal spirit was nowhere to be found in the approaching days of the holiday, it was back for December 25th. Christmas Eve was a big disappointment, but I'd like to stick with the positive and brush over that low point. All of the Christmas enthusiasm I couldn't muster beforehand projected itself through the gift openings, laughter, sharing, and general merriment of the actual day.
Traditionally, the immediate family gathers at my parents' home, wakes somewhat early, opens gifts, eats breakfast, then heads out the door to my aunt and uncle's house to celebrate. The routine remained the same with a few tweeks: we slept until 8. It was wonderful and relaxing.
I love Christmas morning at my folks' place. We wake up to the smell of coffee brewing and Breakfast Souffle baking in the oven-- a dish that epitomizes holidays. Growing up, Mom made the souffle only on Christmas and Easter morning; twice a year, creating a magic for us children around this aromatic, incredibly tasty breakfast treat. It's a classic.
And so, while the house fills with our traditional smells of Christmas, we gather downstairs in the living room, in our pajamas, and the kids open their stockings. Yes, we still have stockings filled with goodies and presents from Santa-- Mom never had the heart to break with tradition. As an adult, encouraging Santa Claus feels like encouraging the Spirit of Giving. Obviously we are Christian and celebrate the birth of Jesus-- the greatest Gift of all-- but I love the youthful encouragement of generosity.
Once we finished rifling through the stockings and admiring the scent sprays, Starbucks cards, and treats Mom and Dad stuffed into them, the family moves to the Music Room. There, we gather round our Christmas tree covered in ornaments collected and given throughout the years, each telling its own story or provoking a memory. Of course, due to the plethora of gifts falling out from under the tree into the middle of the room, we spend five minutes passing out each package, and then my parents enjoy the surprised expressions lighting our faces as we rip the colored paper and toss the bows around.
After opening, admiring, thanking, eating, showering, and gathering, we pile into the mini-van then travel over the river and through the woods to Aunt Debbie's house. Below is a photo of the tree and piles of gifts from everyone. Did I mention everyone agreed to no presents? Don't let the picture fool you, though, most of these gifts are for everyone animals!
The 19 of us ate delicious food, phenomenal dessert from Jarosch Bakery (check out the site, people!), the women chatted, we played Apples to Apples, and the family sang carols. And the LAUGHTER. My extended family loves to laugh and boy did we giggle. :)
Overall, I am incredibly overwhelmed by the generosity from my parents, in-laws, siblings, and extended family-- AMAZING. Not only did God bless me with His Son and the ultimate Sacrifice, but I also get to celebrate the birth of Christ with a loving family.