Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Christmas Eve. I don't even know where to start. This year was totally different, which made for a lot of mixed emotions, the presiding one being that we had a fabulous time. My parents house is still under major renovation and there were no decorations hung there and nowhere for guests to sleep. There was just no way that we could have our usual Christmas there. Now, it should be noted that we decided last year that we would stay at our house for Christmas Eve this year. Getting "Santa" to my parents house in Tyler was a logistical nightmare last year and we knew that Colin was going to be old enough this year that we needed to stay home to preserve the secret of Santa Claus. That was hard to imagine because NOBODY and I repeat NOBODY does Christmas like my mom. It truly is important to create your own traditions as an adult with your own family, and going to my parents house during the season will remain an important one for the Shaffer household. We had planned to go there for either the days leading up to Christmas and come home on Christmas Eve or drive there on Christmas Day and spend the days after Christmas. But we didn't get much farther into planning because the renovations are far from done and it just wasn't an option. SO, we stayed here at our house for the duration of the holiday. It was actually surprising wonderful because there was no stress to travel and we got to really relax and enjoy the whole holiday. That part, I loved. I did, however, truly miss being surrounded by my big loud hysterical family. There is a moment when we are all together, with the cousins all playing and the adults all eating and the absolute joy of my parents house decked from the rafters with Christmas stuff when you just feel at peace. Colin missed Jackson and Pryce a LOT and asked about them so much. The only way I can describe my parents house at Christmas is "happy". It is just so happy and full of joy. That was GREATLY missed this year.

We decided to go over to Jer's parents (mom and step-dad) house on Christmas Eve in the afternoon and have our special meal and let Colin open his presents from them. That was AWESOME because we normally have our Christmas with them on the 22nd before we leave for Tyler. It was great fun to be here that week and then go over to hang out with Mom Mom and Pop Pop before the big Santa prep started. :-) We had a great time! Mom Mom made our now family favorite Christmas meal, Seafood Gratin. I LOVE THAT STUFF! Colin opened presents and played with his toys and we ate a TON of food. I brought meatballs and a salami and cheese tray with roasted grapes. I also made Pop Pop his very own pecan pie for a a present and also whipped up my mom's lemon cake to take. It is amazing that I can still wear my pants after all this awesome food! Colin loved his presents and was especially taken with his Lightning McQueen remote controlled car. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever and has been playing with it constantly ever since! Jer's dad and step-mom and sisters got Colin the Leapster LeapPad and let me tell you, those two presents have been in CONSTANT rotation. Grandparents always seem to win when it comes to gifts! With the amount of time that Colin is on that LeapPad, I am hoping it teaches him to read. And do math. But I digress. :-) After we stuffed ourselves silly and had as much fun as possible, we loaded back up to head home for the big night. Colin and I jumped right in to making cookies for Santa and reindeer food. Reindeer food is our newest tradition and one that we will absolutely be keeping. It was so simple and Colin had the most fun putting it out in the yard! He was taking it so seriously! Colin dictated a note for me to write to Santa and then informed me that he only likes chocolate milk. I made some that we left out with a few cookies and the note. I really should devote an entire post to our other new tradition this year, which is "Elf on the Shelf". We purchased the elf for Colin this year and it came in a beautiful boxed set with a book and instructions. Colin named him "Snowflake" and he would perch somewhere all day in our house before flying home to the North Pole every night to report back to Santa about Colin and how he did that day. He would then fly home before we woke up, but land in a new spot. Every morning for the whole month, Colin would BOLT out of bed and begin looking everywhere for Snowflake. It was so precious! You can't touch him or else he will lose his magic and Colin was so very careful not to go near him and only chat with him from afar. I loved absolutely every minute of it. Colin actually got teary on Christmas Eve because we knew that Snowflake would get picked up by Santa that night and would not return to us until next year. Colin asked to get his picture taken with him (his last perch was in the middle of the Christmas tree) and then sweetly told him goodbye, that he would miss him and that he loved him. Ever since that night, he has asked me randomly what I think Snowflake is doing at the North Pole and happily chatting about when he will come back. What a wonderful new tradition!! After we finished up with everything, Colin went to bed and Jer and I started to put everything together. I had wrapped everything in the days leading up to Christmas Eve, so all I had to do was make a million bows and Jer put together Colin's new trampoline. We listened to Christmas music and carefully laid out Santa. It was so peaceful and wonderful. It was just us together in our cozy house with our sweet little family surrounding us and I honestly loved every minute of that night. How lucky I am!

Christmas Eve!  Click on the picture to see it in it's glory!  :-)


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