Merry Christmas!

We had an extremely relaxing Christmas. We didn’t travel anywhere and no relatives came to visit. What we DID have was all daughters home with us. As much as it’s great to see people, the process of coordinating travel plans and figuring out where to send gifts adds an extra layer of stress, and that’s compounded when whether or airline issues mean delayed or cancelled flights, which has happened to us often.

Instead, we relaxed on Christmas Eve for the most part. Normally if we’re home on Christmas Eve, we’ll go to an evening service at the UU of Schenectady, but since our G has been attending the Catholic Church near us, we decided to go to St. Kateri instead. It was packed. We got there ten minutes ahead of time and there were already tons of people standing. With M still recovering from surgery, G, M, and I made our way to some of the very few seats left in the very front row so that we could sit down, while Cute W and J opted to stand. Then Cute W remembered a few minutes into the service that he’d left something in the oven (one last Apple Crisp, a G favorite, before she moves to her host family), so he actually left the service, drove home, turned off the oven, and came back mid-service.

After the service, we were excited to check out the newly-expanded beautiful luminaries all over our neighborhood, thousands of them, including up and down our street. We took a short walk because that was all M could manage, but then the rest of us couldn’t resist a little bike ride to see more territory. It was a little cold (only a little since it’s still been unseasonably warm), but absolutely worth it. Even as we explored, G and I lamented to each other that there was absolutely no way to capture how lovely it was in a photograph. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t try (and yes, the picture in the middle is blurry, but the golden glow of the lighting is more accurate, so you’ll have to imagine the focus, the golden lights, and all of it going on the miles around to imagine what it was like.

One thing that’s fantastic about having G for Christmas is that the girls are enthusiastic about doing all sorts of Christmas traditions so that she sees them, even if it’s stuff they may have outgrown. So we’ve been diligently keeping up with advent calendars and they made a plate of cookies for Santa plus a carrot for the reindeer.

Still, with a crew that consisted of a 21- a 19-, and a 17-year-old, the morning started off later than normal. G was astonished when we told her that we used to have a rule that the kids had to wait until 6 am before they came downstairs, and then Cute W and I would “check to make sure Santa came,” which actually consisted of getting a fire going in the fireplace and queuing up the music. Instead, it was pushing 9 am when we finally started Christmas morning in earnest.

Aside from the gifts that Cute W received, which I think were a bit uninspired, Santa did an excellent job with stockings. In our house, we have a few very specific items that we include. Mrs. Claus always wraps up something sensible and old lady-ish, like socks, underwear, or pajamas. The girls always get at least one book. And hopefully Santa has some highly-coveted and impressive item that gives a little “wow” factor when the girls first walk in. This was much easier when it could be something like a dollhouse or a Barbie jet, or even a fancy rug. Now that they’re older, it’s a bit tougher, but G was thrilled with her Harry Styles pillow, J was surprised and pleased to receive a lovely print of her house at Smith College. Meanwhile M was unexpectedly enthusiastic about a t-shirt that Santa/I accidentally tried to give to her sister even though M had asked for it (sometimes Santa gets confused), plus she said that she thought it was her best stocking in years. So: go, Santa.

After an easy Christmas Eve dinner (potato leek soup and plenty of cheese, crackers, olives, and more), we were a bit more ambitious for Christmas, with Cute W spearheading a roast chicken and a new macaroni and cheese recipe while I made our broccoli stuffed tomatoes. I was just going to link the soup and the stuffed tomatoes, because these are absolute recipe classics/family staples, but apparently I never shared them — how is that possible?

Christmas Day and the day after Christmas went by so fast. Among other things, the girls completed an easy puzzle (we’d recently had a puzzle fail and needed a win in the form of 500-piecer).

We also made gingerbread houses, which was J’s idea because it’s fun and also because she felt like it was a Must Do for G.

And Cute W had a new game for us to try: Planted. Poor Cute W struggles with a family that is not nearly as enthusiastic about games as we are. J and I, in particular, just get stressed out. So he chose the game hoping that we’d be charmed by the pretty pieces and the notion of nurturing plants, and, for me at least, it totally worked.

The trouble was that while I felt very good about growing my own cute little plants, apparently I wasn’t too strategic, because I came in last place. But luckily it was a complete surprise to me that I was sucking so bad at the game while it was happening.

And now we’re getting a bit closer to a regular routine, including appointments and normal dinners, but all the girls are off from school, and there’s still a super-abundance of sweets in the house, so we continue to coast on some holiday vibes. Altogether it was a pretty fabulous Christmas, even if we didn’t get the snow that we’d hoped to have for G. I hope you’re all enjoying the time off as well.

One Comment

  1. Nana in Savannah

    The luminaries are gorgeous! I can’t begin to imagine what it must have looked like in person. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas week. Sending hugs!

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