We played games, visited, ate food, posed for pictures, exchanged small gifts and played the white (or blue as Julia says) elephant game...But mostly...
We sat around and...
cooed and stared at Hazel Claire. And you can see why.
Gramma gave really good and kid-friendly white elephant gifts!
At home we had our annual gingerbread making contest.
Some of the kids ate more than they built.
The goal-oriented eldest child built.
Christmas morning brought lots of smiles.
I'm not quite sure how we manage but each year Andrew and I put together a pretty sweet lay out displaying the kids' toys and gifts. It's so much fun for all of us!
Some other things we enjoyed were our annual trip to the movies as a family (I hope Palmer can pay attention next year...), our yearly shopping outing to the dollar store where out kids shop for gifts for the whole family...
Let me just say the dollar store trip is one of my favorites. I love to listen to each child work themselves through the gift picking process. Julia is going to spend it if it equals a dollar. She might buy everyone else four gifts each but she will definitely spend all of her money and try to talk everyone else into spending theirs. Alyssa took only five dollars. It took her three trips to the store to spend five dollars. This is where Julia spent all of her money. Three trips is a lot and she has to spend at least one dollar each time. Alyssa finally settled on a Chicago Bears calendar from 2001 for Andrew. Seriously, three trips. The "perfect" gifts they buy are so funny. I like this tradition a lot.
I also like our Christmas dinner tradition. We cook a prime rib, Greek potatoes, green beans and homemade rolls each year. Yummy! The kids ate and ate and ate and asked why we don't eat this all the time! That made me feel really warm and proud and good and well, like a mom. It was a pleasure to see them eating, licking their lips and asking for more! I can post recipes later if anyone is interested. And, Albertson's always puts prime rib on sale for $5.99 a pound the week before Christmas for people who like good food at good prices.
And, of course singing Happy Birthday to Jesus is one of our favorites. Through all the hype we pray our family will never forget to focus on Jesus, the One whose birth we celebrate.