-my Relief Society Christmas Party
-Andrew's work holiday party
-some friend's Christmas party for couples
-Laylah's Girl Scouts holiday party
-Daphne's Girl Scouts holiday party
-our ward Christmas party
-Laylah's Activity Day's Christmas party
-Laylah, Jonah, Daphne and Baron's school and playgroup holiday parties
Lots and lots of fun parties.
About 2 weeks before Christmas, I felt compeltely ready for Christmas. So, I made a to-do list for the things that I still needed to complete. The list included: divide up toffee (that was my neighbor gift this year. yum yum) and deliver to friends and neighbors, finish up homemade gifts (wrap, package, and mail to family), write Christmas letter and print out photos (mail along with cards), finish wrapping gifts, finish up any last minute shopping, finish putting up decorations.
Um, yes. I completed that list a week before Christmas and I was able to just sit-back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the season. This is definitely the most organized Christmas we've ever had. It was wonderful. I'll have to make it a yearly tradition!
Now, onto some pictures...
I love love my giant cinnamon candle.... sitting next to my potted paper white (that never grew).
My packaged family gifts, ready to be mailed to Utah. Now that Christmas is over, I can brag about how crafty I was! I made 2 scarves and 4 necklaces (well, not the necklaces, but the hand-stamped charms that went onto the necklaces. Okay, honestly? I sat and watched and pretended to help while my crafty sister did it for me). Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of them, but oh well. I remember just how darn cute they are!
Bags and bags and bags of wrapped up, homemade caramels and toffee, ready to be delivered.
These next several pictures are from a super fun activity(s) our family did this season. We have a wooden advent house with little doors that open and we fill it up with treats so that every day in December, the kids get a treat before bedtime. This year, along with the candy, I filled it up with a scripture and an activity we could do together as a family. I found the scripture idea HERE (and I loved being able to read, with my kids, all about Christ's life, and the events leading up to His birth)and I got the activity ideas from my sister (who did this last year with much success) and also, a few ideas HERE. It was fanatastic and it made me happy to hear the kids ask eagerly what our activity would be that evening. Be it simple or more complex, they always responded with excitement. They loved it. I loved it. It was fabulous.
We spent a few quiet eveings at home, creating art projects to put on display...
We had fun making the kids' teacher's gifts (chocolate dipped marshmellows, which we wrapped ever so cutely and tied up with a couple of packets of hot cocoa. So cute... the idea was found HERE)
Another of our activites was to go caroling with some friends, and luckily, we just so happened to be invited to go by some neighbors in our ward. There was a huge group of us, and it was such a blast. I had never been caroling, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was the perfect night to go, not too cold, but just the right amount of Christmas crisp in the air.
We ended the night with hot cocoa (with peppermint marshmellows, yum!), donuts, and great conversation. Such a fun night, I think it will have to become a yearly tradition.
Another of our activities was to head up to the temple to see the lights, see the visitors center, along with all of the wonderful videos, concerts, displays, and music it has to offer. Let's just say that it didn't turn out at ALL as planned. It was quite a nightmare. I won't go into all of the nitty-gritty details. All I will say is that the night involved hour long bathroom waits, keys getting locked into cars, cranky, hungry kids who didn't get dinner until 8:30 (because of the keys being locked in the car), not even being able to walk into the visitors center because there were probably five times as many people in there that could ever fit comfortably, and the list goes on and on. I was nearly in a frustrated rage by the time we left, which doesn't go well with the temple setting. Next time, I will definitely have to remember not to go on a Sunday, a week before Christmas. Serious nightmare. We didn't even get a picture with our group of friends we went with because I just didn't care about anything by the end of the night. I'm glad Andy made me take the few pictures that I did.
Oh well, at least the lights were pretty.
Next up: our ward did an incredible job on the First Annual Celebration of Christ for our entire community. They built sets, and basically did 5 live dioramas to depict Christ's birth. There were actors (Andy was a sheperd), live music, and narration. Afterwards, inside the church, there were hundreds of nativity's on display. It was a very wonderful, spiritual night. It was a fabulous success in our little town, and we hope that it continues to grow every year.
So, that was our wonderful Christmas season, in a nutshell. Fun, festive, fabulous, frustrating, and filled with the spirit of Christ. It truly was wonderful, and I'm still sad it's over. My house seems a little bare and empty without all of our cheery Christmas decor...
Oh well, I'm sure next year will come fast enough. It does tend to do that the older I get... :)