Let's see - where did the holiday season start for us this year?
We bought a droopy little Charlie Brown tree this year - maybe subconsciously, it's just what fit our Christmas mood - but either way, it was cute and it was ours. Xander and I had a fun time decorating it, as rinky-dink as it looked. It only took about a week of it sitting in our front room all bare waiting for some clothes.
Xander had his school Christmas program right before they let out for holiday break. It was definitely a joy watching him this year. Last year, he basically just froze on stage once he saw all the people in the big auditorium. Things went much better this year - for the most part. He did have one narration that he had practiced over and over again, and knew like the back of his hand, that he was supposed to say before one of the little kids' songs. I thought that maybe this would be the year that he would overcome his fear of speaking in front of others (that he may or may not get from both of his parents). But this was not the year. He peeked outside the curtain, looked around at everyone, and basically stood there. After about 5 seconds, he went back behind the curtain. He wasn't going to do it. But his friend Sabrina came out holding Xander's hand and said the words for him while Xander stood next to her. I was happy that he at least stood up there with her and kind of got the feel for it. But a bit of me was still a bit sad knowing that Xander knew those words so perfectly and that he should have been the one saying it. Oh well. Next year! I'm just happy that the rest of the performance went smoothly. He knew all the words to the songs and all the movements to the dances they had been practicing for months.
Next up is my most looked forward to event of the season. The annual family cookie bake-off! My older sister, Jenny, has hosted this event for at least the last 8 years or so. We take what we think is our best cookie recipe, bake up a batch or two, then send them off to very willing judges (neighbors) to vote for the winning cookie. This year, I also set up a cookie decorating station to keep the kids occupied. I made an amazing sugar cookie and frosting recipe that I found through Mel's Kitchen Cafe. As much fun as the kids had decorating, it definitely didn't take them much time at all. After about 10 minutes, they were over it and off just playing with toys again. Oh well - can't say I didn't try! As for who the winner was this year - let's just say it's a sensitive subject... I hate to say that I didn't even place in the top three! (or 4... or 5...) Ugh - how embarrassing - what does that say about the recipes on my blog?! I'm not even going to tell you what I made. In lots of peoples' opinions, it was one delicious cookie. Unfortunately, the judges weren't any of those people. So moving right along ...
Everything was leading up to this day, and what a great Christmas it was! We spent Christmas Eve over at Tiffani's mom's, where we ate a yummy dinner, dessert, played games, and exchanged gifts. I made a yummy (and VERY easy) Broccoli Bake to go with dinner and Joy the Baker's aMAZing peppermint chocolate roll for dessert. Both were hits! We stayed until about midnight playing a new game called Logo with Tiff's siblings. We didn't do so well on our team, but it was still a fun time.
When we got home, I still had to get the egg casserole into the crock pot, and then wrap presents! Oh my, it was a late night. We were up until about 4:00, and Xander got up bright and early around 8:30. Just about 4 hours of sleep just doesn't cut it for me! We had a fun morning spoiling each other around our Charlie Brown tree, then we ate a yummy breakfast that I didn't have to fuss over at all since it had been in the crockpot all night. After breakfast, we took Xander over to his dad's and it was off to my parents' for us. I made mashed potatoes for dinner and actually made a second peppermint chocolate roll for them as well. It was ALSO a hit there! I think this one's a keeper!
All in all, it was a crazy whirlwind of events, but there was a lot of great time spent together as a family. I was very happy being able to spread out our Christmas events by doing the bake-off one night, Christmas with the in-laws another day, and then Christmas with my family on another day. It was a lot less rushing around and time spent driving than what we've had to do in previous years. I vote for the new relaxed version of celebrating the holidays.
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas season, and I hope the New Year brings all that you hope for. Have fun and be safe!