Christmas was on the last Sunday of the year and I guess because of that I felt like I had more time to prepare for it. My holiday stress level was at an all-time low which was really nice, although I'll admit that it made me often wonder what important things I was forgetting to do ...
Eric's company Christmas dinner was on Friday December 9th at a local caterer. For the first time we went to the cocktail hour before dinner. Hey, we don't drink, so why go to the cocktail hour, you know? But it worked out for Eric to pick me up from work early and we got to the dinner early. My, what we have been missing all of these years. I knew that there would be appetizers. I just didn't realize the extent of the appetizers. There were tables set up along the exterior of the room with some food. Eric declared that he was going to save himself for dinner, so I got a small plate with a little bit of pasta, and we found a place to stand along a wall. We soon realized that we were right outside the kitchen door. Every four or five minutes a server would come out with a plate of something delicious. "Spring roll?" they would ask, proffering their platter. "Stuffed mushroom? Crab cake? Shrimp? Lamb chop? Chicken cheese steak? Dumpling?" There was no end of amazing food coming out of that kitchen. Eric soon forgot his resolve to wait for the meal. Then we went in to dinner itself which was nothing spectacular. It is pretty much the same every year: soup, salad, roll, main course, dessert. It is served in courses and takes about 2.5-3 hours to get through it because there are so many people to serve. I told Eric that next year we should go for the appetizers and leave before the dinner!
The next evening was my work's Christmas dinner which is always at Maggiano's. We look forward to that all year: good food along with good company make for a really enjoyable evening. As always the food was incredible and there was an abundance of it. I could have made a meal out of the appetizers alone. By the time dessert was served I was stuffed but of course I had to try that too! We ate too much but enjoyed every bite of it.
On Christmas Eve Eric's immediate family met at 52 for our traditional gift exchange. Normally we have it after the evening service, but because everyone had the day off we were able to schedule it for the afternoon which was really nice -- all of the kids were wide awake and happy!
On Christmas morning the four of us opened our gifts before church. The Boogie was so excited. As each thing emerged from wrapping paper she would exclaim, "It's just what I wanted!" Ah, appreciation. When Peabody would open a gift she would chant "Rip rip rip" as she tore the paper off, and then exclaim "A box! Yay!" After the morning service BIL/SIL1 and their crew came over for a nice relaxed dinner. The kids played with new toys and the grown-ups played several rounds of Snap! which was hilarious as always.
However, don't you know that a couple of days after Christmas I came into the living room to find this:
Normally we have a family party with MIL's side of the family before Christmas. Because Christmas was on a weekend we pushed that gathering to the 31st. In recent years the Delaware family has done the driving to New Jersey, but one of Eric's cousins had just had knee surgery, so this year the New Jersey families made the trek to Delaware. MIL's brother and his wife hosted in their beautiful home; there was lots of yummy food; and we all enjoyed visiting and exchanging gifts. It was a really lovely time. (Sadly I have no pictures. I'm not sure how that happened -- I know I took the camera! And I'm almost positive I can remember taking pictures with it ... hmmm ...)
The final family get-together is usually with FIL's side of the family on New Year's Day, but again because of when the holidays fell we pushed that one back as well, to January 7. Our family missed it because we were in Kentucky for Papaw's funeral. I think that's the first holiday gathering that we have missed since Eric and I got married (well, so far we haven't been able to spend any holidays with my side of the family. Every year we say "maybe this year!")
Despite my Papaw being ill it was a good month. We are so blessed to have wonderful family, nearby and far away.