All the Christmas!

Christmas, for our family, isn’t just a day. I love the countdown of Advent, the preparation, the candles. This ritual is entirely meaningless to my kids, because Christmas starts with “early Christmas” the weekend after Thanksgiving and jingles all the way through December. As I said a lot this year, I love each of the things we do, but I don’t like all of the things we do. But what to drop? Impossible to decide. We actually ended up missing Christmas at Tina and Stump’s this year, which was a disappointment. Our whole family looks forward to that one, and it hits all the nostalgia buttons for me that holidays are supposed to. Logistically, though, it wasn’t possible; skipping it was the right choice. And yet, sad face.

I’ve decided to just dump All the Christmas in this one post because it’s so much! Here goes.

Christmas #1: JC’s family (his parents, sisters, their families), at his parents’ new house. I hadn’t been to the house before–it’s adorable. And the right size for all of us.

One thing we did this year that helped a lot was having the adults just do a gift exchange rather than everyone buying for everyone.

Two toddlers + my kids + a tween = chaos. But we managed to have a good time. Silas was excited to play games with his uncles.

Some of these pictures are by Katie.

Christmas #2: No presents, just presence.

JC and I took the second weekend of December to do a bunch of Christmas y things with the kids.

First, we met Santa at the Children’s Museum. Silas didn’t want to talk to the man in red, but Petra went right up to him. When he asked her name, she wouldn’t say anything, so then he said, “Do you know my name?” She replied, “Santa Claus.” She told him that the only thing she wanted for Christmas was a jewelry box, which she’d already gotten from JC’s parents the week before.

We also played, ate, and made an ornament at the museum. I shouldn’t have been surprised at how many friends we ran into there!

 

Next up, we tried to catch the Bridgewater Christmas Parade, but half an hour after the start time and no parade in sight, we gave up and went home to warm ourselves up.

And THEN we went to Horse Christmas at the Bridgewater College Equestrian Center. There was a parade of costumed horses and then a play that featured humans and horses as actors (during which, elves served the kids cookies and hot chocolate). At the end, they got to pet the horses, feed them peppermints, and vote for the best costume. It was free! The only negative thing I have to say about this event was that it was poorly publicized, not even mentioned on the college events calendar. I wouldn’t have heard of it if it weren’t for one of my students who was involved. Definitely will go again!

Christmas #3 was at my mom’s house. We had a nice time, but apparently I forgot to get the camera out. I took a few pictures, but I’m saving those for the “awesome presents post” (stay tuned!). This was the most exciting Christmas–the tree fell down! Oh dear. We managed to have a nice time anyway, but JC, Silas, and I were all sick (which might be why I didn’t photo much). Here are some photos my mom took:

For Christmas #4, my dad, Robyn, Zoma, and Alex met us at the Hill and Hollow, a fantastic restaurant in Morgantown.

Sibling selfie

Despite all of us having had a complicated and difficult year, we enjoyed each other’s company. The food was amazing. I was nervous about having the kids out so late (we didn’t leave the restaurant until about 9:30), but they were absolutely wonderful.

The restaurant had a featured cocktail that seemed like it was made just for us: The Griswald Family Tree. Alex ordered one, because of course he did.

The Griswald Family Tree

Christmas #5 featured all of JC’s family on his dad’s side, from his grandparents on down. This included two new baby cousins! Total chaos, but fun chaos. 🙂 Thanks to our friend Kirsten, JC turned our usual White Elephant exchange into “extreme white elephant,” where everyone had cards they could play to require someone to sing a song, make everyone pass their presents a few places to the left, make two people trade gifts, etc.

On “real Christmas” (#6 for those keeping score), we had a very quiet sort of day. It was nice, but a little weird. We went to church and then took a walk/Pokemon hunt around the park. We visited JC’s other grandma, got everyone to bed pretty early. JC and I saw his youngest sister’s new house and walked back through the park after dark, admiring the light display. The season wound down gracefully.

But we had us, all together, and that’s what counts.

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