Saturday, December 30, 2017

On the First Day of Christmas, My True Loves Gave to Me...

 A relaxing morning to open presents underneath the tree with some of our favorite people.

We got over to my sister and brother-in-law's house at a reasonable hour and gradually got into opening presents once the munchkins had eaten some breakfast.

It was delightful not to be in a mad rush to do everything.  In previous years, my mom, sister, Kevin, and I have gone to Mass on Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve.  This year we went the night before, so we were able to spend as much time as we wanted opening gifts and hanging out together.

It worked out very well.  Our nephew dove into his new Ninjago Lego sets.  Our niece and my youngest sister had fun with her new Play-doh.  Of course, there were breaks in there to read books. We all enjoyed the quiche my brother-in-law made.  It had broccoli and little pieces of sausage in it, and the crust was perfect.   

It's a tradition in our family to open stockings first.  It's also a thing that we go downstairs youngest to oldest so we all see the tree and presents at the same time.  (Santa didn't wrap everything under our tree when we were growing up.)  Both our niece and nephew had been downstairs past the tree a number of times and weren't begging their parents to drop everything and let them open their gifts.  It's possible that our nephew wasn't worried, because he had whispered to Mimi (what he calls my mom) more than once what he wanted her to get for him.  He knew she'd come through.

Both kids got some fun toys that allow them to explore and use their imaginations while developing their fine motor skills. (And the early childhood specialists rejoiced!) Their whole family loves books, so there were definitely some of those underneath the tree.

I'm delighted with my gifts and the goodies left in our stockings.  My favorite gift of the season has been quality time with my family hosted at their places (my mom's and sister's).

The material gift I'm most excited about I received has gotten my creative juices flowing: The Joy of Creativity.  I've done more than a page of writing, drawing, and/or made a collage (some of the suggested activities in the journal) every day since Christmas.

Kevin and I gave the gift of year-long memberships to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens to each other.  We both love spending time outside, and my honey knows that's one of my absolute favorite places to take a bazillion photos.

This year Kevin and I opted to give everyone gift cards and buy a book for each of the kids to open Christmas morning.  Since other people hosted the gatherings yet again this year, we thought it would be a good way to contribute to their generous hospitality, something we definitely couldn't manage last year when I was recovering from surgery last December and all the associated expenses.

My sister takes after my father in that she likes to get a live tree and have it trimmed as close to perfect as possible.  She keeps to white lights and an elegant bird motif.  On the top of the tree is a bird's nest with painted eggs resting inside.

There are many reasons Kevin and I are grateful for family. Two of those are that they are willing to host things at their homes and that they have gone to the trouble of making their houses look warm and welcoming.

We don't have a very big place. It's not kid-friendly and the space we do have is taken up by our belongings so we don't usually have more than one person over at a time.  Here at the Potter residence, we did about as much decorating as we were up for last year.  I got the Advent wreath out, but we never ended up lighting it (or the candles). I also pulled out our tissue paper wrapped nativity set, but since I didn't get around to putting that up before December 25th, I put it back in the box of Christmas things we keep in our office.  At least we have the two-foot tree our friend gave us sitting on a table.  It's not decorated or anything (the table or the tree), but it's visible.  Neither of us felt like hanging lights in our windows.

This year, I feel we've done more to prepare for Christ's coming in our hearts by spending quality time with people we love.  That's always been my favorite gift and primary love language.   
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