Whew!

Did any of the rest of you feel like that after Christmas? It’s been a very good but very full few days.

Jason and Mittu were planning to go to OK to see her mom for Christmas, and we were planning to exchange our gifts with them the night before they left, which would also be right after Jeremy got here. But then Mittu got a new job that week, and since she only had Friday and Monday off along with the weekend, they needed to leave Thursday night, the night we had planned exchange gifts with them. So we decided to do our gift exchange after they got back. They did exchange gifts with Jeremy and we got to visit all together briefly before they took off.

With Christmas being on Sunday, our church decided to have one service at 11 a.m. with a brunch the half-hour before. We didn’t want to rush to open gifts in the morning before services — we like to take our time, each of us opening one gift at a time and seeing what we all got before moving on. And typically Sunday afternoons Jim and I are tired and sleepy. So we decided to open gifts Christmas Eve. Poor Jason — he has wanted to do that all his life, and the one year we do, he’s away.

Then we had to decide what to do about Grandma. She’s getting to where an excursion of any length is taxing. A normal Sunday service and then dinner here is almost too much for her any more. She goes to bed early, so coming here Sat. evening wasn’t really an option, but she would have been too tired to enjoy it much if we waited til Sunday afternoon anyway. So we decided to take her gifts to her room Saturday morning. That worked out really well.

I had assumed that when we were going to open gifts Christmas Eve, that meant evening. But Jesse lobbied for Christmas afternoon on the logic that that would give them more time to play with their expected (hopefully) new games. Since Jeremy was here only for a few days and he and Jesse love to play games together, that made sense to give them as much time for that as possible. But that meant really stepping things up the day before to get ready.

And then…I had planned all along to roast the ham Sat. night anyway, because I didn’t want to leave it in the oven Sunday morning with no one here. So I proposed that since I would be cooking it Sat. anyway and we’d be smelling it and our mouths watering, we might as well go ahead and have our Christmas dinner Christmas Eve. Then Sunday after church we could just heat up the leftovers. That met with everyone’s approval.

So except for the church service Sunday, we ended up celebrating Christmas mostly on Christmas Eve. It was odd to open presents in the daylight when we’re used to doing it in the morning while it’s still dark out. And it was odd for Jim to go out for a part that was needed and me to make a last run to the grocery store, when usually we’re all in for the whole day.

Sunday morning we enjoyed a nice service at church and a very restful remainder of the day. I was able to call my step-father that evening and was glad to hear our gifts to him arrived Saturday.

Usually on Christmas we have a breakfast of sausage rolls and cinnamon rolls just out for people to munch whenever they want. That wasn’t really going to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day this year, but we still wanted them, so we had them Monday morning.

Then Jason and Mittu were due home late Monday night, and she had to work Tuesday, so we hadn’t really decided when to exchange their gifts. But they decided to leave Sunday evening for a variety of reasons — weather, the opportunity for her to rest a bit more before work the next day, etc. So they drove through the night Sunday night, got home after a few stops to nap Monday morning, and came over here in the afternoon, when we exchanged gifts with them.

So we ended up “doing Christmas” in several stages! I know some of you with extended family are used to having more than one get-together, but this is a first for us except for the time when Jason and Mittu got engaged and he went to visit her family for Christmas. We might end up having to do that again as they kids grow and have their own families, but I hope that in the next years we can go back to our “usual” routine. I was thinking, somewhere during the last few days, that as good as traditions are, they shouldn’t be binding: we need to be flexible and willing to change things up when necessary.

It’s been a really nice Christmas “season,” with time to do fun things like seeing Christmas lights and making gingerbread houses and bears, several special services and quiet times of reflection, the flurry of shopping (mostly online, so thankful for that! But I did want to make just one trip to the mall, and was able to round out what we needed there) and wrapping and sending cards, and then time with family. It was tempered with some sadness with missing loved ones who have passed on, hearing of a friend our age who passed away, and our dog dying.

Jeremy left for his home yesterday afternoon. It doesn’t get any easier to say good-bye. I felt bad that we really put him to work while he was here: Jesse’s desktop computer that he and Jeremy had built for gaming a few years ago had suddenly died last week, and his laptop that he uses for homework was infested with viruses — it was still running, somehow, but extremely slowly. Jeremy was able to get them both up and running well, and then I pestered him with multiple questions about my new iPhone. But he lent his expertise generously and then had time to just relax the last few days he was here.

Jim is off work and Jesse off from school the rest of this week — actually Jim is off through Monday and Jesse through Tuesday. We have various things to take care of, one being taking Christmas decorations at some point this week, but otherwise I’m not sure what we’ll be doing. I’ve enjoyed taking a day or two just to relax after everything else. I’m working on a list of books I read this year and trying to decide on my top ten books from that list. Often at the end of the year I look back over the last year’s post and choose one or two favorites from each month, so I might do that as well. And some time in the next week or so I want to write a post about our dog, Susie, but I need to look up and scan some photos of her younger years for that.

I had wanted to make a separate post some time this month called “Christmas photo takes and outtakes” but never got to it, so I’ll leave you with photos we took at Thanksgiving to put with Christmas cards. I like some of the “outtakes” as well as the “good” ones. Most of those took place when Jim was adjusting the settings on the camera and we were playing around waiting.

I feel like maybe I’m supposed to start tap dancing there…

Now this is real life. No, just kidding. Really.

But we did get several good ones! Here’s one:

I hope that you had a very special Christmas as well!

6 thoughts on “Whew!

  1. Your pictures are fun! As much as I enjoy Christmas, I do enjoy getting back into daily routine. I like what you said about traditions not being ‘binding’. Learning how to go with the flow seems to included added peace.
    Happy New Year, Barbara!

  2. Great to see all these pictures. I loved seeing the ones of Grandma. We have had a strange but nice Christmas too. I still have to see my daughter’s family which we will see over New Years.

  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas, even if it was changed up a bit this year. We have some traditions (Christmas Eve at our house just the 4 of us and gifts Christmas morning) but every year things get changed up a bit depending on who is celebrating with who on what day. It always ends up being wonderful though.
    Love all the pictures you took for the Christmas card. They are all keepers 🙂

  4. =D That was a fun post to read through. Sounds like y’all had a delightful Christmas season.

    I’m trying to think of something more clever to say but am coming up a wee bit dry. OUR Christmas was relaxing and nice. Just the five of us at home. THe kids waited until after Christmas to get sick but once they did – boy howdy! I ended up in the ER last night with my oldest who was spiking a temp of 103.6 which I couldn’t get down! It’s been a bit harried around here post-Christmas. I’m very grateful that Jonathan has been off work this week so I’m not trying to take care of sick kids all by myself! Yay for daddies!!

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