Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas with the Lewis family

Here's how we spent our Christmas.

Dec. 23:
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.

Dec. 24:
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.

The aftermath.

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.

Dec 25:

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.


  1. We too celebrate Christmas eve. After reading the account in Luke 2, I read the following "In Hoc Anno Domini". It was written by the late Vermont Royster editor of the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ publishes it every year in the last issue before Christmas.


    When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

    Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

    But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

    There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

    Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

    And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

    So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

    But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

    Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

    Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

    And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

    Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

  2. It looks absolutely delightful! Thank you for taking the trouble to share it with us.

    Bill Smith

  3. Oh, how the wife and I enjoyed your pix and the telling of your Christmas celebration! We haven't opened any presents yet except one from each of us: A box of See's Candy that we have only on Christmas. It's SO good! We're waiting for our daughter, her hubby and their two young boys to get here this Tuesday. THEN we'll really celebrate! However, yesterday and today we drove around to our nearest neighbors and friends and handed out tins of our home-made Christmas cookies: Pineapple-filled, thumb prints, ginger snaps, frosted cut-out and butter cookies. We got some very nice presents in return, including a whole 16 ounces of pure vanilla, a very large jar of cinnamon and some delicious home-made banana-nut bread. All of our neighbors are conservative Christians, so we had no "happy holiday" wishes and no liberal sour pusses to dampen our joy, just lots of hugs and wishes of MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  4. Lewis Family, thank you for sharing your Christmas with us. Christmas Eve is our day for merrymaking and Christmas Day is more reflective and lowkey for us. We don't celebrate Boxing Day at all. (Isn't that British?)

    Anonymous Dec. 25, 7:42pm - thank you for posting that WSJ story.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

    Anonymous Patriot

  5. A little different take for us this year, as we just moved to Japan (Navy). We always do our big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, and this year was no exception, though the prime rib from the commissary wasn't great. Presents on Christmas morning, as always, with a lovely view of Tokyo Bay making the scene a little odd; I prefer snow at Christmas! Our teenage daughter wanted to go hang with her friends by about 2pm, but overall, it was a decent holiday considering the adjustment to location. I'm happy for and envious of people who can develop family traditions in one place. Just a few more years for me....
    Merry Christmas to all, and I hope you are as safe and warm as we are!

  6. Dear Patrice,
    Its good so see you and your family and friends are enjoying the true meaning of Christmas:)
    I wanted to let you know my husband was pleasantly surprised to see his tankard and loves it! A carpenter by trade, he really appreciates all the work that went into it-thinks it's a great idea and expects to use it for a long time. Thanks for adding to our "made in America, back to the basics" Christmas this year-it was really a special one! Blessings to you and yours,

  7. Mary, I'm so glad he liked it! The funny thing is, it's the woodworkers who appreciate our tankards the most because they know what goes into making them, LOL. Happy New Year to you!

    - Patrice

  8. Hi Patrice,

    Have you always lived on the farm? If you didn't, what caused you to move to the country?

    Pete from New Berlin, Wisconsin