|Christmas Eve we took our neighbor friend Alleen to look at Christmas lights.|
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas this year was made magical by the myriad of decorations Amara put up all by herself the night we got home from Thanksgiving vacation. She stayed up until 2am setting up everything, the tree, the nativities, the lights, everything. And as soon as the tree was up, it was only moments before presents began to fill the space beneath. It really made the season feel exciting to see the presents piling up.
A tradition we have is to deliver homemade treats to neighbors. This year, we took a little help from the store and bought pre-made sugar cookie dough and snicker doodle dough. That was a wonderful energy-saver, even though the flavor isn't as good as from scratch. The sugar cookie dough we added a little flour and rolled out to cut into cute shapes. We turned the sugar-cookie gingerbread men upside down to create reindeer heads!
We also made some green Christmas tree-shaped rice crispy treats. They weren't as dark green as we would've liked, so next time- use more food coloring! or better yet, dip it in green colored white chocolate!
The ward Christmas party was back this year, even though the pandemic is still around. We enjoyed going there, singing carols, eating dinner, and the kids created mini gingerbread houses with graham crackers.
The evenings in December, we watched cheesy rom-com Christmas movies almost every night, and this year we discovered a channel, GAC (Great American Christmas) that was even better than our old go-to, Hallmark. In fact, every Hallmark Christmas movie we watched this year felt so agenda-driven it was hard to enjoy, but GAC put out equally cheesy movies without the socio-political mumbo-jumbo. Yay!
One movie we've added to our traditions the past few years is a funny comedy called Pete's Christmas, which we watched on Amazon Prime. It's about a boy who lives the worst Christmas over and over until he figures out how to break from it. It's a good clean comedy.
On Christmas Eve day, we watched a couple of our favorite movies - It's A Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge. Something we didn't watch, but a movie I love is The Man Who Invented Christmas. Maybe we'll get to that next year.
We unwrapped new pajamas on Christmas Eve after we went looking at Christmas lights. Because we did that in the opposite order we usually do, I didn't ever get a pajama picture, aww. But you can see in the following pics our pajamas.
|Pippin doing his "long puppy" crawl across the floor as we are getting ready to unwrap our Christmas pajamas.|
|I started collecting mini nativities when I got married. I like to display them all for Christmas. You wont see many Santas and reindeer in my decorations because I really want the focus to be on our Savior.|
|Our stockings are too heavy to hang when they're filled with goodies, so on the couch they lie until the sleepyheads get up. Pippin posed funny for this picture. In the background you can see one of the 3 strands of red and white garland Amara made|
On Christmas Day we drove to my dad's house for a big family gathering. There we were surprised by my brother Joseph and his entire family who had flown in from Hawaii!
|appetizers including the famous crab-stuffed mushrooms.|
|Helping in the kitchen next to my dad is heaven on earth.|
|Mom smiling next to her eldest son, Joe, her surprise gift from Hawaii!|
|Roast BEAST! This year it was injected with whole garlic cloves, which when roasted turn into a delicious, nutty, savory treat.|
|Mandy made the delicious homemade rolls. The jello salad is "Betty's" salad from my dad's childhood. It's got a layer of sweet cream cheese-pineapple mixture layered between lime and strawberry jellos.|
The table is always set with Christmas China and every setting has a Christmas cracker gift for everyone to pop open and wear the paper crown.
What a Merry Christmas! When family is gathered to share a delicious meal, it's my most favorite event. ;)