Aaron and I have been contemplating the most sane way to handle the holidays for the last 5 years. Since my parents live a good 8 hours away, it can be hard to plan out how to split the time. My husband also comes from 2 VERY festive families who have grand events on either Christmas Eve, Day, or the day after. This also makes it hard to plan around. Sometimes this doesn't work out in our favor and we are left having to choose where to go or end up traveling to multiple places on Christmas. Lucky for me, I am an only child so my parents are extremely flexible in their plans. I also was blessed/cursed with parents who aren't as festive as the average duck. They may enjoy decorating a Christmas tree or hanging some lights on the roof but a "good dinner" can be home smoked cornish game hens and not a grand carved turkey with all the stuffings. A good family Christmas can also be a day out at the desert with relatives. It doesn't have to be snow ball fights and gift opening or singing Christmas songs around the fireplace. Sometimes this frustrates me but sometimes this works in my favor because that means that Christmas can also be "Christmas" a week before actual Christmas Day.
This year worked out GREAT! To be honest, I milked the "I'm about to pop" card a little more than was probably neccesary. Aaron and I decided that a tradition that we wanted to implement for our children is the feeling of waking up at home Christmas morning. I can't wait to have 2 screaming girls running down the stairs or sliding down the banisters to get to their gifts stacked under the tree or stuffed in their stockings. This year made for the most layed back and relaxing Christmas I've had in a while.
My parents came up a few days before hand and got to spend some quality time with Emily.
First off: The ginger bread house tradition.
*If you want to get teary eyed go look at december of last year (maybe Jan. because I'm usually behind)*
Making her own creation
Eating the candies
Emily sneaking a lick of frosting
The final product
Next up: Making cookie dough
This was a favorite of mine with my grandma (except she let me mix in the eggs with my hands instead of a mixer) Culinary Master Aaron was not down for that. So instead Emily used the hand mixer- which I'm pretty sure she enjoyed just as much.
Chef Aaron making sure Santa doesn't get any egg shells.
After putting the cookie dough in the fridge we set off for Chili's for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner. We came back home and made our cookies for Santa.
Showing grandma "how it's done"
Rolling out the dough
Cutting out candy canes
One of the things that I love about Aaron's family is that they have a tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve. That gift, although not a surprise, is always Christmas jammies. We decided this was a good tradition to steal. So here is Emily's Christmas jammies. After unwrapping all of the presents under the tree once (thankfully when Aaron wasn't home and before I had put any of hers out) I all but had to fence off the tree to keep her from getting to the gifts. So to be able to get one BEFORE Christmas made her night.
In her jammies. With her cookies for Santa
A teary husband, who wanted a picture with his daughter who was entirely too grown up.
Well today was a bust. I will post "Christmas" tomorrow. For now, enjoy all up to then!
P.S. Notice the extreme need for a flash....and Christmas was only a few more hours away.