Want to hear something weird? When I was growing up, we didn't put up our tree until Christmas Eve. Of course, I didn't think that was weird. I loved it. In fact, when we were real young, Santa Claus put up the tree. Can you imagine the amazement when you woke up Christmas morning, and a tree was there, with all the presents? I loved that tradition. I think it came from my Dad's German mom. Anyway, I still am a little off with the rest of the world in having a tree up. I like to put it up around the 18th, and leave it up to around the 3rd. This year was different. We hosted my husband's family for Christmas on the 4th, so we needed to get the tree up early. His cousin came from England for Thanksgiving, and stayed a bit extra, so we wanted to get the Christmas celebration in before she left. So, for the first time ever, we put our tree up early. On December 1st. (We refused to do it in November.) Here we are putting the star at the top of the tree.
A week or so later, we visited Santa at the mall. My son was there, taking the picture. I didn't make him sit on Santa's lap this year. I think maybe I did last year. I should probably have made a rule that once he reached six feet tall, he wouldn't have to do the Santa thing.
Christmas in our house is actually a 3-day affair. Christmas Eve is exciting because of the preparations, Christmas Day is great, and then the 26th is great too because it's my son's birthday. For the past two years, we spent Christmas up north, giving the kids a wonderful snow vacation. This year, the kids really wanted to spend it all at home, and my husband had all those three days off, so it was great. We started by hosting 14 people for Christmas Eve dinner. It was 80 degrees during the day, so we were able to eat outside. What a fun night. Everyone brought a dish, so I didn't have to work too hard.
Here's what we woke up to Christmas morning.
And here it is about three seconds later. Well, maybe a little longer. My kids actually sleep in on Christmas. I know, all you parents whose kids wake up at 5 hate me right now. I woke up at 7, just because I couldn't sleep in if I tried. I had breakfast and read the paper, and at 8:00 my daughter finally woke up. We held her back until 8:30 when we let her wake up her brother.
We had Christmas dinner on the patio too. I was ambitious and made a ricotta/cranberry/pecan-stuffed turkey breast that was amazing, and a prosciutto/fontina/basil-stuffed flank steak on the grill. We ate so much, no one was interested in dessert. Now that's a feat!
The next day we celebrated Michael's 17th birthday. We took him down to a Brazilian restaurant where we could eat to our carnivore's delight.
We capped off the holiday season with a trip to visit my dad and brother in Cocoa Beach. My sister was visiting with her family from Virginia. We gave the kids a treat and surprised them with a limo ride. We took it out to dinner then drove around looking at Christmas lights. Here we are before we left.
And here's the craziness in the limo.
I hope you all had a great holiday season and are looking forward to a bright and merry new year.
P.S. It's no longer 80 degrees here. We woke up to 30 degrees on January 3.