Thursday, December 30, 2010

What We Really did on Christmas Eve...

By the time December 24th rolled around, we had attended two "Christmas Eve" celebrations - one with each side of our family. So it was pretty low-key at our house.
I-man made his famous (well, famous at our house anyway) french toast.
Papa read to Sarah Jane.
Cate read to Grandma.
We worked on our traditional Winter break puzzle.

After dinner we drove around to see the Christmas lights and then the kids came home to a treasure hunt to find their new pajamas.

Then it was off to bed so Santa could get busy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve Celebration 2010 - The Second Half

My mother - the matriarch of the family. She is beautiful inside and out. Her passion for family and tradition has created meaning and continuity in all of our lives. I couldn't be more grateful!
The pre-show.  Isaac and Addie showing off "the human basket."
Cute cousins.
Cate was first on the program singing "The Star of Bethlehem." (again)
J sang a cute song from school, "Must be Santa."
Sarah sang her version of "Jingle Bells,"  where she sings the first part of the chorus over and over and over again.  I have wondered how long she would keep singing if we didn't stop her!
Isaac and Addie performed "Gesu Bambino."
Amy taught the family a Hungarian mixer dance.
Then the adults gave it try!

And then the Nativity:

After our program - my parents had one more activity planned.  One that goes waaaaaay back - pulled from the Christmas celebration archives.  The "Santa Game".  I remember this game from when I was a child.  It was often played at neighborhood parties and Naturalist company parties.  Each team was given a bag with red and black crepe paper, cotton batting, tape, scissors, etc.  Then they are given a certain amount of time to dress up a team member as Santa.  Here are the results!
The winner?  It ended up in a tie.
Finally, time for the presents!  SJ loves horses!
Cate received some coloring books from her cousin and didn't wait one minute before cracking them open!
The kids received from Grandma and Papa these awesome penny banks and a bag full of shiny, brand new 2010 pennies.
Addie wearing Weston's Santa hat.
Another wonderful Christmas Eve Celebration!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve Celebration 2010 - The First Half

Our traditional Christmas Eve celebration has been pretty much the same since long before I was born. Except now the faces are different...
My parents home is always decorated beautifully and welcomes us with a warm, crackling fire.  And the family makes the scene complete.
Addie is now lucky enough to be a student in Aunt Amy's dance class.  Learning from the best!
N brought his girlfriend.  Wow - is he that old?!

The official welcome and prayer...
The yummy buffet!  Against the backdrop of my mom's Santa collection.

This Santa is checking his list of children's names.  This goes back to when my older siblings and neighbor friends were children.  My name and my kids' names have been added through the years.
This has been my parents' Christmas tree for the last couple of years.

After the delicious meal, it's time for the rest of the celebration!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Village

A couple days before Christmas we were running some last minute errands and saw this sign by one of the older homes in the area:
It sparked our interest so we pulled in the driveway to check it out. There was an elderly man out in the yard so we inquired about the "Christmas Village." He told us we were welcome to come in and see. And so we did!  The scoop:  This elderly couple has been collecting and displaying their miniature village collection for about 10 years.  They own over 400 pieces and every year they open their home to the public to view them.  They even hand out candy canes!  The kids absolutely loved it!  It was very charming and the Larsens are such warm and friendly people.  It truly made our day.  We want to make it a yearly tradition. (Apologies for the quality of the pictures.  They were taken with my phone.)
Their display filled their front room, kitchen, dining room and enclosed deck.
Most of the pieces were either lit up or were mechanical.  They told us that they add a couple of pieces each year - some bought online and some even bought at yard sales or DI.

Addie loves miniatures and she wanted to take her time to view each and every piece.
I am not sure why we were so touched by this.  Maybe it's because the Larsens are a dying breed.  No longer do people open their homes to complete strangers in this way.  The Larsens start setting up the second week in November and when I asked how many people had come to see their Christmas Village?  75.  I feel so lucky we were able to be part of that small group.  And we thanked them profusely for opening their home to us.  She even gave us her phone number and told us to come back next year.  If we come at night and call first - they will have their whole house lit up.  We will look forward to that!