Anna June and the rest of the family had a wonderful Christmas. I thought I would focus on telling the story of our holiday season in terms of our Christmas traditions. Inspired by my modest success in NO-vember, I said no to a bunch of stuff. Basically, if it was a community-oriented event that we weren't starring in, we didn't attend. Everything else was personal, which helped keep us focused on each other.
Christmas Eve Eve - my parents had their 26th annual party, complete with 72 guests despite the tornado watch in the area. AJ and I spent parts of Monday and Tuesday helping get ready. Lots was done ahead of time. We just had the touching up to do, which was not as strenuous as some years. The prep is more about being together with a common goal than the actual work, anyway.
Christmas cards - We sent actual cards and not photo cards this year. Anna June helped by signing most of them. We received cards back from 11 different states. Fun and educational!
Christmas movies - We watched my favorite, Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas, which I require that we watch annually. We had talked about going to see a holiday film at the Alabama Theater downtown, but could not work out the timing. Instead, we watched Home Alone and Ernest Saves Christmas. Both were fun nights for us.
Decorations - We put up a tree, wreaths on the doors, and green electric candles in the windows. I don't love outdoor decorating, as it is expensive, time consuming and difficult. But as we drove around looking at over-the-top lights displays, I could tell it may be something we do in the future (decorate for ourselves, not go looking at lights).
Baking - AJ and I made my mom's famous M&M Cookies the night before the big party. I also made a couple of batches of cinnamon sugar pecans for both of our offices. All were well-received.
Music - We didn't play too much Christmas music around the house, but I did listen to the Indigo Girls' Holly Happy Days several times and Josh Groban's Christmas CD.
Santa - We did not visit the big guy at the mall. AJ insisted that she was too shy and didn't want to. However, he did send AJ a video message via email for the third year in a row. He told her she was on the nice list, in case she was worried. Then, on Christmas Eve, AJ wrote him a note explaining her choice of goodies to leave for him. She left a marker and space on the page for him to reply. Incredibly, he took the time to write her back! What a great guy!
Gifts - Santa also left AJ a whole bunch of toys. She got two Baby Alive dolls (one that poops and one that wants her teeth brushed), an Easy Bake Oven, board games including a new chess set, books, candy, and something called Thinking Putty. She also got a lot of other things she wished for, including an Elsa dress, a pogo stick, legos, a knot-a-quilt set, and more. Ben got me a beautiful enhancer for my diamond solitaire, and I got him a Nest thermostat. Everyone's wishes came true.
We skipped some parties (sorry Shelley and Michele)! We missed some events that I'd like to take AJ to one day, like The Nutcracker (at least 3 versions were playing around town). But overall we had a low-key, successful holiday filled with friends and family.
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