Christmas was very busy and lots of fun this year. We decorated the house very early and actually put everything out, including the Dickens Village for the first time since 2008 (including an extension). Grandma and Grandpa visited. During their visit, we were able to do a few fun things.
Early on Christmas Eve morning, Julie and the kids made a gingerbread house. Later in the morning, I took the kids to Santa, just in the "Nick" of time. Christmas Eve we went to early church and then came back home and enjoyed many appetizers for dinner. Grandpa Ed also joined us for a very pleasant evening. The kids are still a little young for fondue. After many yummy appetizers and desserts, we settled in for a long evening of present opening. First we took family pictures with the new camera. After a number of hours we got through all the gift openings. It was great that Gabe was feeling good, last year he was pretty sick. Maddy's favorite gift was a Hello Kitty Bag and Gabe's favorite gift was a Lightning McQueen video game. After some gentle suggestion, the kids scurried to bed with visions of Santa Clause in their head.
Christmas morning was very hectic, as Santa came and left many goodies in the stockings. Of course, Santa ate all of the excellent chocolate chip cookies that were left out the night before. We watched the Disney Parade and then got ready for Julie's family Christmas Party. We arrived at Tom and Sheri's in the afternoon. We had appetizers again and everyone brought enough food to feed three times the number of people than were at the party. As the day turned to night, events came one after a number, The kids opened up their presents from the kids exchange. It sure takes a lot less time than it used to as many of the nieces and nephews have moved into the adult category. After the kids exchange, we took a Christmas Timeout to allow Maddy to have a little Birthday time and cake. This is when Maddy got her American Doll - She was very excited about that. Next up the adult exchange and the "Dice Game". This year's theme was cool gadgets. The anticipation and excitement was palpable. The competition was great and fierce, there were winners and losers. This may be a slight exaggeration, but fun was had by all. The funniest gadget was the deer whistles for Mandy, who had a little run-in with a deer earlier. At the end of the day, the kids and parents were exhausted by all the hustle and bustle of the season.