Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas 2016

We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
We had a wonderful Advent and Christmas season this year. This year we got our tree early, the day after Thanksgiving. Last year we got a late start and most of the trees were picked over. We went to Ward's Christmas Tree Farm again, as we have since moving out to East Chester. The kids look forward to the horse-drawn wagon ride out to the field to choose just the right tree. It is then cut down and loaded up on the wagon, along with all of us. We go inside the tiny cabin like office to pay and enjoy hot chocolate and cider. We love the new traditions.
We set the tree up in water at home and give it a few days to adjust, then we pull all of the totes full of decorations downstairs. These totes hold ornaments accumulated through years of marriage, ornament exchanges, tiny hands making festive creations and even some passed down from our childhood. Memories made. The kids love finding their creativity from passed years, finding the baby ornaments and guessing which belongs to whom. Usually we alternate who gets to top the tree with our start, but this year the bulb blew and we never got around to getting it replaced.  
As soon as December arrived, we began our Advent devotional, called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp. Ann is such a poetic author, that at times it is often hard to read her work. This was our second year and it was much easier to understand. We enjoy the building anticipation of Christmas morning, when we celebrate the first coming of Christ to this earth. With each nightly reading, someone hangs an ornament on the pallet tree that Daddy built last year. The final ornament, the star, is hung at the top of the tree on Christmas morning after our final devotion and before presents!
We took Lottie and Jude to see St. Nick since neither had seen him before. Although we do not use Santa in our celebrations, we do observe St. Nicholas. He was a Christian bishop who gave to the hungry and poor. This is where the legend of Santa Claus is derived. We learn about St. Nick in our History of the World cycle. One popular story about him we read is that he gave bags of gold to a poor family for the daughters of the family a dowry so that they could marry. He was a giver, which goes with the Christmas season.
We also continued with pour tradition of making homemade Christmas cookies and candies. Mia looks forward to this time of year because she LOVES to bake. She has grown quite good at following a recipe. We also made some homemade ornaments out of felt and popsicle sticks. We may or may not have started a new tradition of caroling. We had a good time singing carols to friends, but I am not sure we were in tune.
Christmas morning was a little different this year as well. We decided to visit and celebrate with family before Christmas day, reserving the day for our immediate family. This year was special because Christmas fell on Sunday, so we went to worship with our church family after opening gifts and eating Christmas breakfast. I got to cook my first Christmas feast this year, except for the turkey that we bought at Birth Choice. Everyone enjoyed the meal and I enjoyed not having to fool with dinner. We had lots left over. Other first we enjoyed were Lottie and Clementine experiencing Christmas for the first time.
I do wish we would begin wrapping gifts as we buy them. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning is getting old....or I am.

 Two blond, blue-eyed beauties
 Our group photo at Ward's
 Trimming the tree

The ornament hoarder
Ann Voskamp's Christmas Devotional was much easier to read the 2nd year.
Our Advent Tree 

 We wanted Lottie to experience Santa Claus :-)
2016 Homemade Ornaments
 Eggnog Fudge
Traditional Turtles
 2016 Christmas Card
We decided to have a little fun and use one of the many outtakes as our card.
This is what it is really like when we try to get a group photo.
All is calm.
 Christmas morning chaos

 Clementine's first Christmas
2016 family Christmas picture
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14

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