Here's how we spent our Christmas.
Since moving to Idaho, we started this weird tradition of having a junk food feast for three days (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day). Don't ask, long story, but we let the kids indulge in all the forbidden stuff we never buy otherwise. Mostly this gets interpreted as a variety of different chips. There is utterly no restrictions. Potato chips for breakfast? Go for it! (For the record, by evening of the third day they're begging for broccoli and no one wants to look a Dorito in the face for another year.)
For Enola Gay's youngest two kids (who adore fishing in my purse for a TicTac whenever I visit), I got them each a couple containers of TicTacs of their own.
We were serenaded by a cheerful group of carolers.
In the evening Don and I wrapped presents. We always use brown paper bags for wrapping paper with recycled bows and ribbons we keep from year to year. (We're cheap. Or green. Not sure which.)
The presents are never from us. No, they're from the livestock or pets. Matilda. Gimli. Major. Lydia. This year the girls even got gifts from the mosquitoes, the house mice, and the resident spiders. What lucky kids.
Pretty tableau with the unlit Advent wreath and an oil lamp.
Thursday was busy with baking as well as making three pizzas. We have neighbors who join us every Christmas Eve. The husband can't eat dairy, and so his wife never gets pizza with cheese. Every year I make her three pizzas so she can get her "cheese fix." I put a box under the tree for her to unwrap letting her know the pizzas are in the freezer.
In the evening we had yet another round of carolers, belting out songs with enthusiasm in the frosty air.
Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day is our big day of celebration. It dawned cloudy but pretty...
...with a couple of ghostly deer passing through.
I folded all the laundry before dawn because I knew the kitchen table would be entirely occupied for the next three days.
The girls couldn't wait to spread out the feast. Chips, nuts, leftover birthday cake (frozen up to this point), shortbread, salami, pepperoni, etc.
Here's what the tree looked like. Gifts for the girls, gifts from the girls, gifts for the neighbors. It's amazing how presents can multiply with effortless ease. But it's pretty, don't you think?
We follow the traditions of Don's family and open our gifts on Christmas Eve. (Presents from "Santa" are opened Christmas morning.) Our neighbors join us every year. Dallas's kids are grown and live all the way across the country, and Susie never had children, so they enjoy watching the kids open their presents. They've joined us every Christmas Eve since we moved to Idaho, and it just wouldn't be the same without them.
Here Don is reading Luke 2 before handing out presents one by one. He reads from the same Bible his father used to read from when Don was a boy.
A couple hours after we finished opening gifts, we drove into town to attend our church's candlelight service.
This shot is dark, but of course I didn't want to disturb people by using a flash.
Another pretty dawn.
We always feed the animals extra on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because legend has it livestock are granted the gift of speech on Christmas Night, and if you mistreat your animals they'll spread the word. Can't have the beasties tattling on us to the neighbors!
Back in the house before the kids woke up. Christmas morning is reserved for a present from (cough) "Santa," as well as stockings.
Stockings have candies, nuts, and fruits.
I made these stockings the first year Don and I were married - red velvet outside, lined with red satin and trimmed with white rabbit fur. Good thing we only ended up having two kids because I never got around to making more than two stockings!
Older Daughter's special present was a basket of perfumes. She says perfume is the only "girly" thing she likes, so with the kind assistance of the wonderful folks who brought us Lydia (who have a business selling bath salts, essential oils, etc.) we got a dozen bottles of various floral, fruit, and herbal scents. She loved it!
Younger Daughter's special present was a precision wood-carving kit. Lately she's been carving fanciful and gnarled faces out of wood, using the poor carving abilities of a pocket knife. Now she has superior tools to use for her artwork.
As I said, Christmas Eve is our big day of celebration, so Christmas Day was quiet, almost boring. No arguments from me! It was calm and peaceful.
Thank you, all my wonderful readers, for your kind wishes during this holy season. I hope your Christmas was as happy as ours.