While I never located my Christmas spirit, I think we managed to pull off a pretty nice holiday. One of the best things about keeping this blog is that I can look back and see what we did when (example -- we always look for a douglas fir, after first checking the blog from Christmas 2007); therefore, please bear with me while I detail the holiday.
Best Christmas Face - Nathan, when he opened his Buzz Lightyear. Actually, Nathan when he opened anything. No stick lip here.
(OK, so we missed his face. But I promise you, it was cute. Like this:)
Cookie time - Wednesday before Christmas, I fired up the oven. Literally. A Mexican wedding cookie rolled right off the cookie sheet onto the bottom of the oven, and when I finally fished it out, it was a cute little charcoal ball. And, I burned my hand, so the holiday is now complete. So I made iced cutouts (green trees, yellow stars and blue bells), Espresso chocolate drops, molasses cookies, pecan pie tartlets and the aforementioned wedding cookie (or are they Russian tea cakes?) I also made a batch of Chex mix and a batch of hot cocoa mix, dipped some pretzels and baked a coffee cake for Kenny. And, I made a fruit cake, using lovely dried fruits from King Arthur flour and their recipe. Note to my future self when reading this post -- forget the fruit cake. There is a reason why fruit cake is the butt of so many Christmas jokes, and your fruit cake only furthers the legend. NO ONE EATS IT.
Gifts - The thought of shopping made me anxious -- every time I was in WM or Target, I thought I would have a panic attack, and don't even get me started on the mall. We did a lot of shopping online, which turned out very well -- digital video cameras from QVC for the girls, toys for the boys, and almost everything for Will. Although Clay and I had decided to not exchange gifts, we are terrible at that -- I got him a cordless drill/saw set (so he can build that barn this spring) and a few other things; he gave me a subscription to Cooks Illustrated, a ME calendar (of course), some bamboo t-shirts for my trip and the Glee CDs. Sarah gave us a beautiful picture ornament of Allie (plus a sweater and pink water bottle) and Mags gave me a new crock pot. I got the Pioneer Woman cookbook from Karen (beautiful, just like PW's site) and some antique cat salt and pepper shakers from Sharon. Way, way, way too much, but lovely to be thought of, you know? (This doesn't even count the wonderful things from the kindergarten kids and J & L!)
Probably the best gift of the day (aside from Ron's gift certificate and the enormous bra) was the keepsake box Maggie gave to Sarah. She knew Sarah wanted some sort of box to keep Alex's blanket and other things in, and searched online unsuccessfully. I had a sewing box upstairs that my grandpa H. had made many years ago -- he had a little side business making pet coffins for the ladies down at the Eagles, and I think my sewing box was one of his prototypes! Maggie took that box to Nate, who made Sarah a box of the same size. It was beautiful; he carved handles and Alex's name on the inside of the lid. A sweet and precious gift.
Musically, this Christmas was much more relaxed, now that I am down to playing at two churches. The kid's mass at St. A was beautiful, as always -- we even had a 3-week-old baby Jesus. And OLP was wonderful, too. Father Scott came for supper -- we ended up making shepherd's pie with the lamb this year -- I think we may have hit upon a traditional Christmas Eve dish.
I didn't think we could do it, but we did. Merry Christmas.