I had written a long description of our Christmas activities two nights ago, and my connection was lost just as I was uploading my long missive, and all was lost!
Well, today is the Fourth Day of Christmas! I love celebrating Christmas for the traditional Twelve Days, even though I've been in bed for the vast majority of Christmas thus far, as I recover from the Christmas Eve and First Day celebrations with family.
On Christmas Eve, we attending church at Lake Murray in the morning. Somehow we squeezed two services into one, even though there was standing room only along the back wall. The fourth Advent candle, the Angel Candle, was lit, and we sang carol after carol, finishing with "Go, Tell It on the Mountain."
Then at 3:00, the Keith's side of the family started arriving at our home. Kevin and Renee brought their five kiddos, along with Renee's parents and sister from Michigan. Karen brought along her friend, Rob, and two of her grown ones, Steven (currently in the military), and Connie. Dad came down with Renee's folks to help us set up. We had a hors d'oeuvre meal, with sandwich stuff, wings, egg rolls, cheese and sausage platters, vegetable and fruit plates, chips, etc.
After the meal, Dad read to us all from the second chapter of St. Luke's gospel. T and J played a few carols they learned on the keyboard, and we opened gifts. Afterwards, we sang "Happy Birthday, Jesus" over a gluten-free spice cake and enjoyed cookies, toffee, fudge, peppermint tea, and other goodies. Everyone was on their way home before 9:00.
Keith and I managed to sleep until 9:00 on Christmas morning. The kids opened their stockings first, then we had a nice breakfast of eggs and sausage before opening the presents under the tree. B was thrilled with his Darth Vader voice changer, and J loved his black cowboy hat and Pirates of the Caribbean sword. T enjoyed a new influx of spyware, and E received a pile of CDs (mostly soundtracks) and some Harry Potter stuff.
The boys gave Keith some long-sleeved T-shirts, and E presented him with a watercolor she painted in Colorado. I gave him some Williams-Sonoma pie plates that he had been drooling over. He gave me my first cashmere sweater (blue cardigan), a New Yorker Desk Diary, a long black-beaded necklace, and warm wool socks. B gave me a new wallet, while the other boys gave me necklaces. E presented me with a vase she painted in Colorado and with a Bible box.
We dressed quickly and drove up the mountain to my parents' cabin. The kids were excited to see snow still on the ground, just enough for sledding. The boys certainly took advantage of that opportunity, even though it got a bit muddy off the trail. So we had a White Christmas after all, which we celebrated with my parents, my mom's brother, sister, and sister's husband, and my brother, his wife, and their two kids. So having only fifteen people felt small, but was a good thing in the 600 square-foot cabin.
After the ham and chicken dinner, the kids discovered a dead fawn that a predator apparently dragged into the driveway while we were eating. I'm sure now that this Christmas will be remembered as the Dead Deer Christmas which fascinated the boys and repulsed everyone else.
We had a lovely but busy two days, and I'm still recovering. But we all enjoyed every minute!
Merry Christmas to all! Enjoy ALL Twelve Days!