For my family, the week before and after Christmas is always jam-packed and crazy. No wonder I needed three weeks to go by before I could write about it . . .
- On the 20th, we went to a party for Jeff & Brian’s Tae Kwon Do class. Everyone referred to each other as “sir,” which is apparently a Tae Kwon Do thing. (“Would you like more cheese dip, sir?”) The most coveted prize in the white elephant gift exchange? The Chuck Norris t-shirt, hands-down. (“Chuck Norris slams revolving doors.” “Chuck Norris can split the atom with his bare hands.” “Chuck Norris doesn’t scuba dive — he just holds his breath.”)
- On the 21st, Brian’s family congregated at my house for a gingerbread-a-thon. This year, they decided to make a castle, complete with stained glass candy windows, Snow White in a glass casket, a Rapunzel with braided licorice hair, a very cool gumdrop dragon, King Claudius poisoning Hamlet’s father, Ophelia drowning in the moat, and an assault by a bunch of Gummi Bears with a battering ram made from a Pirouette cookie. Other Gummi Bears stood on top of the gatehouse, pouring a pot of molten candy down on the invaders. I commented that it was a tableaux both whimsical and under siege. “Oh, just like Christmas, right?” joked my sister-in-law, Kristen.
- On the 22nd, we celebrated my brother’s birthday with a dinner at my parents’ house. My kids got to play with their cousins, which was delightful. Their favorite game was to use a string of golden tinsel as “reins,” and then take turns being Santa Claus and reindeer.
- Dec 23rd: every year Brian’s grandmother, who is 102 years old, “hosts” a Christmas party for her extended family. This year it took place in La Jolla Groves, a restaurant in Provo that, while fancily decorated, had some of the worst table service I’ve ever seen. (They brought me a plate of food, then hastily took it back, saying “that’s not for you!”; they brought Brian a half-eaten bowl of soup and a dirty spoon.) But it was fun to see the family and watch Jeffrey and Eleanor put on their “good manners” — or try to. Afterwards we went back to Brian’s parents’ house to stay up late playing games (or, in my case, going to town on their Steinway baby grand with a fat stack of Christmas music. Golly, I love to play on that thing).
- Dec. 24th. The aforementioned bell choir performance was followed by a big dinner for my extended family. (Yeah, I think you can actually hear my bones creak when reading that sentence.) I love roasting a ham with Bosc pears and then turning the fruit into a compote with cranberries. I also tried making a triple-chocolate peppermint trifle for dessert, which turned out tasting like silky sweet manna. After dinner, we exchanged presents and played the “thimble game,” where we each take turns hiding a thimble around the room.
- Dec. 25th. Our kids always sleep in, regardless of what day of the year it is, which means I always get to shower and dress myself on Christmas morning (huzzah!). We always like to have a special sit-down breakfast for the holiday. This year, the kids requested blueberry pancakes. After playing around in pajamas for a bit, we headed back down to Provo for more gift exchanging and games. My mother-in-law had purchased and wrapped several gifts for “baby girl,” but had changed the labels since I had revealed the baby’s name (Katherine Suzanne). I thought this was rather adorable. Jeffrey was given a set of Lego Star Wars figures, which he held joyously above his head and shouted “Wow! This is just what I need to make my day!” My brother-in-law and his wife also gave him a tricorner hat, which he has worn pretty much constantly ever since.
- Dec. 26th — yet one more bell choir performance, ho boy
- Dec. 27th — Brian went back to work, and we spent the day at home doing NOTHING. NOTHING, do you hear me? Excepting grocery shopping, laundry, and housecleaning. This apparently counts as “nothing.” (Very tired at this point.)
- Dec. 28th — my family met in Salt Lake for a photo shoot, followed by pizza at my house. In the middle of all this, Brian’s parents arrive to take Jeff & Ella down to St. George for a family reunion. (Brian and I stayed at home with William, since I am Great With Child.)
- Dec. 29 & 30 — we spend time moving William upstairs into Jeff’s room, then cleaning out the old nursery and repainting it to get everything set for Baby Katie’s arrival
- Dec. 31st — Jeff & Ella return; we go to a friends’ house for a New Year’s Eve party. Just after midnight, I notice that baby Katie has “dropped,” and I can breathe again. Hooray!
- Jan 1st — as per tradition, we host a sledding party for mine and Brian’s families; at the very last minute half of them decide they’d rather not come because “it’s cold outside.” Lamest thing ever. But making the extra-thick hot cocoa and pumpkin spice doughnuts made up for it. A bit.
- Jan 2nd — I actually got a good night’s sleep for the first time in a month, and so I was actually cheerful at one last whole-family gathering at my parents’ house. William and cousin Sarah are adorable playmates. My sister made the owl hats they are wearing in this picture — in fact, she made a hat for all her nieces and nephews, which is something amazing. (My kids love to put them on and spend a good hour talking in “owl language.”)
- Jan 3rd — the kids go back to school, and I take a nap. Naps are golden.
One thought on “The Rest of Christmas”
Whoa, I am getting tired all over again thinking about all that fun stuff! Something interesting about those plates in the kitchen table picture. My friend has some displayed in her dining room that had been handed down to her from her mother. She told me she saw them in an antique store while visiting Texas. The smallest plate was $25. Should make whatever you are eating taste—richer:) Love you!