I've had so much fun reading the Christmas blog posts of Teresa, Catherine and Lorrie that I've decided (one month late!) to give you a snapshot of our Christmas.
About four years ago we stopped traveling to either PA or GA for Christmas. It just got too hard, between snowy highways,the difficulties of transporting all the family's gifts, and the tendency of our kids to inadvertently introduce nasty flu germs to relatives (I still feel bad about Nate infecting Cal and Luis with a nasty stomach bug right before their wedding. Sorry guys!)
The first year we stayed home (2005?) was great, at least up until Christmas afternoon, when I suddenly got hit with a wave of homesickness, and I starting checking airline schedules to see if I could fly to see everyone. But we've worked on making our own unique Christmas traditions, and now, to be honest, I love our whole Christmas day, and wouldn't trade it for anything (though I do wish I could magically transport our families closer!)
So here's our brief snapshot of the Schultz family Christmas in 2009.
A couple of days before Christmas we had a fabulous snowfall, and the kids made a snowman, who greeted passersby with Holiday Greetings (at least until the rain on Christmas night wore him down to a wee snow pile.)
We do a ton of baking in the last few weeks before Christmas, and the kids especially love my molasses cookies (made from my Mom's recipe) and Mark's homemade donuts (made from his Grandma Betty's recipe.) Mark always makes a triple recipe and yet somehow they disappear very fast. Strange...
Our church has the Children's Christmas Mass around 5:00 on Christmas Eve, and our kids are part of the choir. Since none of you could make it, here's a brief video snippet of what you missed! (You may have to click the play button a couple of times)
We took a family shot at the church in our Christmas finery before heading home. Nate and Brennan look serious, but Annie looks like she's up to something mischievous, doesn't she?
As Nate will tell you, we're an extremely fortunate family, because we get not one but TWO personal visits from Santa! Besides the middle-of-the-night visit we also get a personalized, one-on-one visit with the Big Man himself on Christmas Eve. About an hour or so after we returned from church, we heard sleigh bells ringing outside, followed by a loud knock on our front door. It was Santa! With a gift for everyone! Amazing that he found the time!
Santa couldn't stay long, naturally, so we sent him off with cookies and a bottle of wine (for that cold night ahead.) See you next year, Santa!
After he took his leave, we played some family games. Here Brennan keeps us guessing with Guesstures.
The kids somehow managed to talk us into opening just a few more presents Christmas Eve night. These were gifts that family members had sent them weeks ago, which had laid under the tree tantalizing them since then. .
Nate and Annie open their gifts from the Green family. (Thanks, Aunt Jessica and Uncle Rocky!) Grandad and Gee gave the kids a wonderful labyrinth game that we can all spend hours on. (Thank you G and G!)Then it was off to bed and lights off. The tree awaits her mysterious nightime visitors, and the baby Jesus arrives in the manger.
Christmas morning! Christmas morning was , as alway, magical and exciting. (In honor of Fred, I wear a Santa hat all day on Christmas.) :)
Pippen makes herself comfy amidst the new pile under the tree. We're just gratful she didn't climb up the tree and knock it down, like she did last year.
Nate and Brennan were very excited to receive models and painting supplies for their new Warhammers 40,000 hobby. (which GrammaLu and Grandpa Don helped pay for; thank you!) In case you're wondering, our history buff boys are wearing Yankee and Confederate caps. (Brennan, our Dudley-Do-Right, prefers the Yankee cap. Nate, our rebel, leans toward the Confederates, natch.)Nate also loved his Star Wars Lego video game, which Grammy contributed toward (thanks Grammy!) (Mark and I are trying to remember when our "no-videogames until you're fourteen" rule fell by the wayside. Last year, I think? Hmmm. At least, we console ourselves, they do like to read!)
Brennan got excited about a book from the 'Warriors' series focusing on his favorite character of Ravenpaw.
Annie was thrilled to get her very first iPod (which was something else GrandmaLu and Grandpa Don contributed to. Thanks again!)
The kids tend to be most excited over gifts they've chosen for each other.
Christmas afternoon we all play with our new toys, blast our new music (and Christmas carols) and read our new books (Annie knocked off two of her new books by 4:00 Christmas afternoon, and the rest by the next day.) And either before or after dinner we always watch our all-time favorite Christmas movie - the 1970s musical Scrooge, with Albert Finney. We tend to sing along with our favorite songs ("I like life! Life likes me! Life and I fairly fully agree!") Every year Mark and get all choked up when Scrooge finally sees the light. (*sniff, sniff*)
Our Christmas dinner is pretty unusual -- fondue! We have a cheese fondue with ham, bread and veggies to dip, followed by a chocolate fondue. Take a guess which our kids love best.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! And we're hoping we can entice some family members to wander out to Joliet some year to share our Christmas. Whaddya think, huh? huh?
We'll close with our loveably goofy Annie, who can do a fairly good cat imitation in this video clip. Take it away, Annie!