I'm sitting here enjoying two of my presents - a milk frother and a MacBook Pro. The milk frother was from my mom, and I've made a mocha latte, two egg nog lattes (with Kahluà) and a chai latte, and I absolutely love it. This is not going to help me lose weight but is going to save me a fortune at Starbucks and other fancy coffee places. The laptop is from Santa and I am in love - with the computer and the guy who gave it to me.
Christmas this year was one of the best in a while, despite it taking quite some time to get into the spirit of the season. Ryan was in California teaching a course for two weeks leading up to Christmas (he came back a week before Christmas) and it just felt like I had 800000000 things to do, and not nearly enough time to do them. But by 3:00 on Christmas Eve we were headed to Mass, and I just thought to myself, "By the time we leave here, everything will be closed. If I don't have it now, I'm not going to have it for Christmas and that's just too bad. So be it."
So. I made sure I had everything I needed for Christmas dinner and breakfast and Christmas Eve dinner on Dec 23. All three girls were participating in the children's mass on Christmas Eve this year, so we had to be at church for 3:00 for one last practice. I put a beef stew in the slow cooker around lunch time, got everyone bathed and dressed and got to church just slightly late. Friends joined us for the service, all three girls were beautiful and well-behaved angels (seriously - they were dressed as angels for the nativity story). Sam did a reading and did a great job - she looked so big and so grown-up (you know, for a seven year old) and read beautifully. After Mass we came home, changed and ate our beef stew (new recipe, quite yummy) and then opened our presents from each other. We checked the NORAD Santa tracker, then put the girls to bed and finished the preparations.
Hailey woke us up by running into our room and yelling, "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" at reasonable hour (7:40, if I remember correctly). We opened presents, and Ryan and the girls spent quite a bit of time playing various Wii games. I started dinner at some point, with no real plan as to what time we would eat. It kinda went like this - I put the stuffing in the slow cooker and figured it could just stay there until everything else was ready. At some point, I put the turkey in the oven and said, "Okay, I guess we'll eat in about three hours." I made mashed potatoes, cooked some acorn squash, browned some buns, made gravy and set the table with Christmas stuff that I don't think I've ever used. It was awesome. The whole time I was just enjoying cooking and thinking, "Well, this should be pretty good, and hey, if it sucks, we have frozen dinners in the freezer." I was able to just relax and have fun with the cooking and enjoy the day and the meal with my famiy. It was very peaceful and relaxed and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely.
We decided after Rylee was born that we weren't going to run all over the province trying to get to everyone at Christmas. We celebrated with my parents and sister the weekend before Christmas, and will celebrate with Ryan's family tomorrow. Now we're building our own traditions, and I think we may have started some this year that I'd like to keep. The dinner in the slow cooker on Christmas Eve worked well, because we needed something that we could leave alone for about 3.5 hours and have ready as soon as we got home. It might not be beef stew every year, but for as long as the girls are involved in the 5 pm children's mass, I think we'll stick with that.
Dinner was also great. I did pretty much all of it, and actually really enjoyed doing it. Ryan did the vast majority of the shopping, which I think he enjoyed. I liked using my Christmas dishes and serving utensils and tablecloth. I have other Christmas things that didn't get used this year, but maybe next year. The fact that it was just our little family was nice, too - very low stress because I wasn't worried about impressing anyone or what anyone would think or how my kitchen looked (it was a disgrace by the time we sat down to eat) I think that now that I've done the whole thing, I could do it for others, but it was nice to not have to worry.
Overall, I think that's what made the day so wonderful. It was peaceful, no stress. I hope that whatever you celebrate this time of year, it was/is/will be peaceful and joyous.