Christmas is…

 

The Christmas spirit has been shining brightly in our family.  Here is a glimpse of what we have been up to the past few weeks….via ways to define Christmas.

Christmas is…

First and foremost, receiving the most precious and sacred gift God could give, his son, Jesus Christ.

Christmas cards

Wishing family and friends both near and far a Merry Christmas.

May the spirit of Christmas be with you now and all year long. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family to yours

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Old and New Traditions

A newer tradition that was started a few years ago is all the cousins get together at my grandfather’s house and have pizza, pop, dessert, and decorate his house for Christmas. It is loads of fun and I love the fact that my children get to participate too.

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It is a tradition in our family since I can remember to go to the evening Mass at Rosary Cathedral  on the 24th (it is absolutely breathtaking…and it is where my husband and I wed), we then go back to my parents’ house for amazing appetizers and Lasagna from Spaghetti Warehouse, the night continues with Christmas carols, my dad reciting Twas the Night Before Christmas, a surprise visit from Santa Claus, and exchanging of gifts.

Giving selfless service to those less fortunate….

We brought in cookies to be decorated and sang carols with residents at Little Sisters of the Poor.  We had such a wonderful time.

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We also joined our playgroup and served lunch and helped kiddos decorate cookies at Beach House Family Shelter.  Cookies were clearly our theme this year. Lol!

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Joy with family….

I treasure those moments with family…whether we are crying or laughing, or laughing till we cry the time is so precious.

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Christmas caroling with friends and spreading Christmas cheer….

I had a gathering at my place for the moms in our playgroup. The only requirement was they had to relax…there was a massage therapist on hand. Everyone got massages; we played a game, had some wine, chatted, and even went Christmas caroling.

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A surprise gift of service…..

The morning after we decorated cookies and sang Christmas carols at Little Sisters’ of the Poor the children must have been pleasantly surprised at how elated the soul feels when serving others. They surprised my husband and me with breakfast in bed.  The big smiles on their faces and the way their eyes lit up with excitement to give us the breakfast they prepared was so endearing and adorable.

The act of giving

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I was so concerned about our eldest daughter losing the magic of believing in Santa Clause that I lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Ah, but she didn’t nor did her brother or sister. I had taken them shopping at the Dollar Tree (it is within their budget) for gifts for their grandparents and aunt and uncle. Then they wrapped their own gifts. And on Christmas Eve they were actually more excited about giving their gifts then receiving their one “special” gift from Santa Claus. My heart absolutely melted when they exerted as much, if not more, enthusiasm handing their grandparent their gifts that they bought and wrapped for them than they did to see Santa. The pure joy brought a tear to my eye.

Taking time to remember and pray for the souls who are no longer with us…..

This Christmas was particularly more difficult and emotional for some members of the family. After we opened Christmas gifts at my in-laws Christmas day we headed to the hospital to visit my husband’s grandfather. He had been in the hospital for the past two weeks. It had been an exhausting, confusing, and emotional two weeks for my husband’s uncle and mother. It was one of those situations where you wish you could do something, anything, to help ease their worries, their pain. That was the last time we saw grandpa. He passed away Christmas night. We will treasure the time we had and the memories we made, and pray that he has found peace.

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How was your Christmas Day? How do you define Christmas? Do you have any special family traditions?

It was the best Christmas EVER!!!

We started off Christmas Eve at my parent’s house. We exchanged gifts then headed to Rosary Cathedral for 4pm Christmas Mass.  After Mass the children wanted to take photographs of the nativity with their new cameras, we have future photographers in our family.

My little photographer

And in support of their new-found interest I will be adding a new installment to the blog titled, Kids Click and Pic, coming soon. After Mass we took a slight detour back to Nana and Papa’s so we could listen to Christmas music and look at Christmas lights.  I so enjoyed the Chorus of “Wows” from the backseat, especially our little 16 month-old who just learned the word a few days ago.

Once at Nana and Papa’s the kiddos joined the rest of the family and grabbed a plate and started munching on some yummy hors d’oeuves.

After hors d’oeuves we had dinner, lasagna from Spaghetti Warehouse, garlic bread, and Salad. We all sat and toasted to an exciting announcement, my grandfather is officially cancer free (he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer five years ago and has under gone surgeries, radiation, and has a permanent colostomy bag), the best news ever!   After dinner we all made our way into the Family Room where the smell of pine from the Christmas tree and a warm fire in the fireplace greeted us.  Once everyone found a cozy spot Papa Joe began to recite Twas the Night before Christmas, a family tradition.

The girls wanted a closer look at the pictures.

After Papa Joe has finished reading we begin to sing Christmas Carols. We always starting with Santa Claus is coming to Town, and low and behold, guess who shows up? Santa Claus!! He has been showing up for Christmas Eve at my parents’ house since I was two, I think they have his direct line. 

The kiddos were so excited to see Santa, well, almost all the kiddos.  The youngest was not a fan.

Not everyone was a huge fan of Santa.

Once Santa left we began singing again and at the end of Twelve days of Christmas we received a great surprise. My cousin called, he is a Marine stationed in Afghanistan and this is the first Christmas he has not been with family.  My Aunt passed the phone around and we all had an opportunity to say Merry Christmas.  It was an incredible way to end the best Christmas Eve ever.

Christmas morning…..

It seems like Christmas morning comes earlier and earlier each year. The kiddos became overwhelmed with excitement at 6am when they saw that Santa arrived and he ate their Christmas cookies.

I popped some Cinnamon rolls into the over, made some coffee, and then it was GAME ON!

Each child took turns opening their gift and our eldest was so eager to give us, my hubby and I, our gifts that she purchased from her school’s Santa Shop. She gave my hubby a beautiful Santa ornament which he instantly jumped up and placed on the tree.  While she gave me, a woman who is, and comes from a long line of individuals who have graduated from and/or are huge fans of Ohio State, a Michigan state ornament. Seriously!?! I wasn’t sure if I should disown her or hug her?  So hug her I did, and graciously thanked her for the lovely gift.

Future American Idol

The kiddos all seemed to really enjoy their gifts. We keep it small, each child receives four gifts, and it is perfect.  We figure their birthdays are their big celebrations and Christmas is more about spending time together and giving. 

This does not taste like chocolate chip.

Oh, and our four-legged friends also received treats from Santa which our toddler had mistaken for human food, yuck!

All three kiddos now have a table for Family Movie Night.

After we opened our gifts we packed up the car and headed over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house (and grandpa’s, my hubby and I are very fortunate that our parents are both still married, that means we only have two houses to visit).

Looks like someone else wants a Vtech
I love my new Vtech game!

Once there we opened gifts, ate dinner, and enjoyed spending time together. Then it was home for a long winters nap (until the 26th when we headed to Sauders Village for a Christmas gathering with extended family).

Then it was time to settle in for a long winters nap in matching PJs

How was your Christmas?  Any funny moments? ….Sad moments? …..Crazy gifts? Please share.