Christmas was a lovely mix of chaos and calm.
It seems on every occasion or gathering or holiday I have about 25 things I had planned to do or make that I never get around to. But, the great thing about holidays and celebrations is once it's time, they happen. Regardless of how much is finished, whatever happens is usually good and just about right. All those things that didn't get done? They don't really matter anymore. It's not like work tasks or cleaning or all the other things I ignore that never disappear until you actually do them. Celebration preparation on the other hand...as soon as the time for celebration arrives, I decide there is nothing else that needs to be done and it's time to enjoy.
Okay I don't totally forget about what didn't get done, but I do wait a couple days before thinking about how to better organize my time next time around.
Our Christmas celebration started the afternoon of Christmas Eve with Verna's 90th birthday party. She had quite a lot of family and friends at the Senior Center in Mission to celebrate with her. I hadn't seen Verna much the last few years until recently, but she really seems to be doing well. Still hanging out with Patty, playing cards, winning bingo at the Center. Seeing her always makes me remember Grandma. They were always together, doing those things Verna is still doing now--all sorts of world travels and routines of Senior Center meals and Foothills Club and card parties when they were in town.
|Gwen sharing with the group one of our family's favorite stories about Verna-- Grandma's story of that first Christmas Eve she was born.|
After Verna's party, our family gathered for Christmas Eve dinner at Mom & Dad's.
|Once again Mom cooked an entire, huge meal for about about 40 people. The rest of us filled in random appetizers and desserts and side dishes. We had three tables of food.|
After dinner Gwen organized the kids to do their annual nativity play.
|The kids lined up and ready to start.|
|Lex the shepherd... distracted by shiny packages.|
|The quartet of angels|
|Most of the nativity. Azia's doll Carissa stole the part of Baby Jesus from Paisley, but Paisley made a pretty awesome angel.|
|Azia the wiseperson trying to fit in the basket-manger.|
|The little kids thought this was very exciting even though they didn't get to open anything. They liked picking presents out for everyone else. (They did the cousin present exchange afterwards.)|
|All the cousins in their cozy new Christmas Eve pajamas. We forgot to take the photo before Gwen's older kids left!|
After we came home the kids just watched a movie before heading to bed. I also tried to take a photo of them all together, but that didn't go so well.
After all the comotion of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day is always really mellow. I like that's how it all turns out because we have very few of those slow, unplanned days scattered throughout the year.
The kids actually slept in till almost 8:00! Yesss!! (Well there was an attempt to get up at 5:15, but after that they waited till nearly 8:00.)
|Israel was our Santa Claus stand-in & delivered the presents to everyone to open.|
|Lex wasn't quite on board with the early wake up. And he doesn't wake up happy (or really at all ) if he doesn't want to, so he slept through the first round of present opening.|
|and the other three couldn't wait to open their packages.|
The one problem we did run into is that I'd somehow completely forgotten to buy any real groceries for the past few days before Christmas. Day-to-day tasks get a little neglected during all this celebrating. Nothing is open on Christmas day so while everyone else was sitting down to these delicious Christmas Day dinners, I was starving. Luckily I had also run out of time and not delivered some of the plates of goodies we baked. So, mainly I ate caramel all day. The kids ate cookies. I also had the last bowl of clam chowder. I would have had more if I hadn't had to share what was left with Israel. Good thing Gwen decided to leave food in my refrigerator. Everyone else around here just empties it out.
|"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup." Buddy the Elf|
That evening we headed to Missoula to the movie. The last few years we've just gone to Polson, but we decided to see Gulliver's Travels and it wasn't playing there. It's always challenging to find a movie that appeals to 25 people who have a 50 year age span. (And sometimes we don't and we split up between a few movies. Mom actually volunteered to take all the little people to the Chipmunks movie a few years ago so a bunch of us could see....well I don't even remember, but it was something that wasn't the chipmunks.)
|Part of our large movie crowd|
|Lex and Dev back home playing with new Christmas toys.|
And next year I'm going to be more organized. I'm going to start finding good scripture passages for our advent boxes now and I think Azia and I will have a Christmas craft session in July where we make the ornaments...maybe we'll take a Christmas card photo then, too. I think next year I can get it down to only 15 things I don't get done. Maybe I'll make it one of my New Year's resolutions. I usually don't really think about those till February so I'm already feeling on top of things for the new year.