Monday, January 27, 2014

Possibly the Best Christmas Ever

Today it's freezing cold outside, so brutally frigid that school is cancelled and it literally feels like -25 degrees out. The warmth, brightness, and excitement of Christmas has been over for a month, and the relative bleakness of winter has most definitely set in. It's a little depressing to write about Christmas now but I want to do it because I love looking back on these posts and this is the main way that I record our family's experiences. So, even though my present self isn't terribly excited about it, this is for you, future self! I know you'll appreciate it.

Last month, we enjoyed possibly the nicest, most peaceful Christmas we've ever had as a family. We were very blessed to enjoy such a peaceful spirit in our home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (Perhaps it was fortification for the travel nightmares adventures in our near future!)

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. It's such a magical, special day. This one was probably the best I'd had in recent memory because it was simple, quiet, and peaceful. Peter went to work but he came home in the mid-afternoon. I let John and Sam each open a gift in the morning, which I've never done (our tradition has always been to open a gift on Christmas Eve evening), but I knew that it would keep them occupied and there were going to be a lot more presents the next day, so why not? I turned out to be right--their gifts did help keep them occupied, not to mention happy!

We tracked Santa's journey around the world throughout the day thanks to NORAD.

Boo Boo was cute in his festive court jester "necklace." It fits his fun-loving personality well. Yogi runs away at the sight of it (smart dog), but Boo Boo is always game.

The boys got along well and had fun together. The knowledge that Santa would be coming that night must have been very motivating for them.

We have a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve with prime rib (or some comparable cut of meat). 
It was ready right on time, and it was delicious!

This picture literally makes my mouth water. I really wish I had some of this to eat right now!

Cleanup after dinner was amazingly quick and we weren't running late like we normally are on Christmas Eve. After the kitchen was clean we read the account of Christ's birth from the scriptures and then we each opened a present. We threw a mixture of oats and glitter out front for the reindeer, Peter and John made a special treat for Santa, and the kids went to bed. I already had all the presents for the kids and Peter wrapped (Peter wasn't quite as lucky and still had much to do), so I got everything arranged and then watched It's a Wonderful Life, one of my favorite movies. I was amazed that everything had gone so well that day. Usually there's more fighting, things are running later than I'd like, I get impatient, and I'm really tired by the time the kids go to bed. Not this year! 

It was Brian's last night with us until November 2014. Bye Brian! Sorry for all the times I forgot to hide you in a new place. I'll try to do better next year!

 Santa brought this classic Christmas train set for train-loving Sam. It couldn't go around the tree, but it could go around the coffee table!

I posted this picture on Instagram.  

Christmas Day

Again, another peaceful, practically perfect day. This was the tree before we opened presents with the addition of the gifts Peter had added.

A beautifully wrapped gift for me.

John's favorites were everything Pokemon he got and the chin-up bar for his room.

Sam's favorite thing was a cool new Lego train set, and of course the Santa train and tracks set. He also liked this cute dollhouse. (What? Boys can play with dollhouses too!)

Being a tunnel for his train. I love this boy! 

The boys got a fun Angry Birds Pirate Ship Jenga game.

I cleaned up the post-present mess while Peter cooked a delicious breakfast. We have a nice Christmas Eve dinner and a nice Christmas morning breakfast, and then we take it easy and have leftovers and easy things for the rest of the day.

Sam enjoyed every bite of his special snowman Hershey bar that was in his stocking. It's funny how much he likes chocolate and how much John doesn't.   

Another reason this was a picture-perfect Christmas was that it unexpectedly snowed all afternoon into the evening. Those dreams of a white Christmas were indeed met. There was already snow on the ground and the falling snow made the day even more picturesque. 

I indulged in my favorite thing to do on Christmas. I read on the couch by the tree all afternoon and into the evening. I happened to read the perfect Christmas book too, A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer. The warm glow of the white Christmas lights, the gently falling snow outside, and being cuddled up under a blanket with a good book made the day a 10. 

A blissful scene...

In the evening, after the kids were in bed, I was still there. 

I actually ended up sleeping on the couch by the light of the tree that night! 
 This was the view from my position of repose. Have I mentioned how much I love reading (and sleeping) by the light of the Christmas tree? Because I really, really do.

A few random pictures from the day:

These were some of my gifts from Peter. An iPad Air, Ralph Lauren Romance perfume, a book I'd been wanting. Not pictured is a beautiful set of pajamas that Peter picked out on his own and surprised me with. They're comfortable, soft, and really nice-looking. He's got good taste!

You can't see it here but the glitter from the reindeer oats was sparkling, and the porch looked enchanted to me, which is why I took a picture of it. 

Snow falling behind the nativity sets. I love this picture.

The reason for all of this:

It really was a magical Christmas and things just went so well and felt so peaceful. Part of me wondered, and still wonders, "I hope it wasn't so good because it was our last one together." What if one of us dies unexpectedly before next Christmas? It's a thought too awful to dwell on, and I'm not that worried about it, but it helps me to not take our family, my life, and our blessings for granted. I can't wait for next Christmas! (As long as I'm not dead!)