So I finally took the time to load the pictures from Christmas time. I realized in looking through all of them that my family has some pretty fun Christmas traditions that I thought I might share...
First, we go to this really cool thing down in Waxahachie with our friends the Burgesses (or as I like to call them the Burgers!). It's called Bethlehem Revisited. They set up a city block in the style of what Bethlehem might have been like at the time of Savior's birth. There are shops and homes, people selling chickens, tax collectors, and even Roman centurions (The boys like to taunt the centurions so they will get thrown in jail). Mary & Joseph come through the town every half hour or so and look for a place to stay. They go to a stable in the back corner and then shepherds come looking for the Baby Jesus, as well as wisemen (with real camels!). I always enjoy our time there. This year though, it was warmer than usual, so there were more people there. I tend to be bothered by crowds, so it wasn't quite as fun until...Seth stole a centurion's spear! There was a resting place for the centurions and Seth stole the spear that was just resting against the fence. Then he went for the gold and grabbed a shield!!! It was greatness. We snapped a photo for Logan since he was the one who started the centurion taunting tradition. Erik then tried to join the picture and steal his own, but a centurion caught him. Boo! It was pretty funny when he got fussed at.
On Christmas Eve, we always build a fire to roast marshmallows and have s'mores and hot chocolate. The firewood is the Christmas tree from the previous year that has been drying in the backyard (Mom doesn't like this part of the tradition. She thinks it's very PWT of us). We all cuddle up with blankets and our treats around the fire and Dad reads The Cajun Night Before Christmas (De Chirren been nezzle Good snug on de flo' An' Mama pass de pepper T'ru de crack on de do'). Then Dad reads Luke 2 and we watch the Nativity (Luke 2) set to Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven," followed by Joy to the World. Then we all kneel for family prayer and head to bed. The kids all pile into one bedroom and the parents are off to wrap.
On Christmas morning, the kids stay in the room until it's a decent time to get up. This year we didn't start opening presents until 9am! Usually, it's around 7:30, but I played games with the boys to let Mom and Dad sleep a little longer. Then, we can't go in the living room until everyone goes together. We empty our stockings first and then open our Santa presents. Santa always leaves us 3 presents - just like the 3 presents that the wisemen brought to Jesus. This year my 3 presents were - The Office DVD game, a pretty green sweater, and a jewelry box (that's a giant picture frame too). While opening presents, we have breakfast (monkey bread) in the oven. Inevitably, it is forgotten and ends up a little crispy, but still delicious!
This year we added a new tradition - talking to the missionary. We were able to talk to Logan for about 90 minutes or so (I only know the amount of time because international calling is expensive and I just got my cell phone bill!). We each had about 10 minutes to talk to him and then we put him on speakerphone and listened while he opened his Christmas package (thanks Darlene for helping send it!). He was so cute to tell us about everything he opened (see the pics). The most exciting gifts for him were his Saints tie and tuna fish.
I wanted to start my own tradition this year and decided that I would make everyone homemade gifts. I really enjoyed it. I made hats for Gavin and Burke, slippers for Chance, and a framed Nativity for Mom (I bought an old calendar and cut out the picture and framed it). Dad got a machine that will make homemade ice cream...that was the best I could come up with! I was excited for "Christmas with the Cousins" (that's Christmas with Mimi, Emilee's fam, and Loree's fam). I made gifts for everyone that I thought were awesome. I made a new pattern for a girl's hat that I made for Emilee, Adee (& her Samantha doll), and Darbee (Loree and Posee's are almost done). I made a scarf for Mimi. I made slippers for Mack and Brooks and a hat for Brig (which was too small). It wasn't a complete success, but I really enjoyed making everything and the things that fit looked really cute on everyone.
This isn't a tradition, but I have to mention it. Em and her kids gave me an awesome new wallet for Christmas. It's like an old cigarette case. It's red with white polka dots and I love it! Inside, there was an Ikea gift card too. How fun! It was a great present.
I hope y'all had fun with family and friends this Christmas. I'm glad that we have these traditions that help us to stay close as a family and remember the Savior. I am planning to continue these and add some more I'm sure.