Thursday, December 29, 2011

A traditionally traditional Christmas recap

Posting my Christmas recap feels a little bit like asking people to come over to see my vacation photos, but what's a blog for if not to talk about yourself? Actually having Christmas pictures on my blog from the last two years came in handy when we were trying to remember how the garland wraps around the banisters and where we'd moved the green chair in order to accommodate the tree and where we needed to hang the outdoor wreaths.

Everybody gets in on the fun around here~

We have a tradition of spending every other Christmas with my family and every other Christmas with hubs family. In all the years we've been married this is how it's been with the exception of just two Christmases we decided to stay in England. We trekked to the states from the UK four Christmases in a row and decided that airport crowds and hassle and then shuffling from pillar to post once we got here made it hard to remember the meaning of the season.

And I'm sure one year in the not too distant future we'll create new traditions as my girls marry and start families of their own. But we won't talk about that today because this year both girlies were exactly where they should be-tucked sweetly in to their own beds upstairs. Well, tucked sweetly onto an air mattress on the floor upstairs because we had us a houseful.

Daughter1 has a grown up job now so she didn't get home until Friday evening. If you have kids living away from home you know exactly how wonderful it feels to have all your little chicks in the nest. There is nothing better. We all got busy Christmas Eve day with last minute meal preparations, wrapping, and tidying. My big sister, brother in law, and niece drove up with my mom later in the afternoon. I tried to keep dinner low key in the work department and had a roasted turkey breast and rolls, broccoli salad, and lots of snack type sides.

We made something called Grinch punch which was delicious and very Grinch-like in color. I have punch cups that match my bowl but at Christmas time we always drink punch out of the cups Daughter2 and I collected on our many trips to various German Christmas markets thru the years.

We went to a 9 PM candlelight church service and afterwards the girls opened one gift as tradition dictates and that gift is always pjs. I'm going to see how many times I can use the word 'tradition' in a post.

Here's another one...the picture on the steps. Seemingly patient on the outside but inside it's a whole 'nother story.

I think we may have started a brand new tradition. ahem.

Christmas morning we had stockings and our traditional sausage and egg casserole for breakfast before my brother and sister in law arrived to join the party. They were followed by my little sister, brother in law and five year old nephew.

He may have been a little bit excited.

Apparently Mrs. Claus was a very good girl this year because Santa surprised her with a brand new camera. Course I don't know how to use it but no worries...he also arranged for a lesson with a local photographer and soon I'll be tossing out words like aperture and shutter speed with the best of them. I'm going to try not to annoy my family too much with all my picture taking but I'm not making any promises.

We always do snacks and punch on Christmas afternoon and this year we added an outdoor fire to the festivities. I think when we host that will be a new tradition.

These girls got all crafty and made some fun Santa hors d'oeuvres. A little labor intensive but super cute and tasty. Dinner was ham with all the trimmings and literally dozens of cookies for dessert.

It was a good day.
There were stolen kisses-

a few surprises...

a little Christmas cracker silliness...

and a whole lot of smiles...

My favorite thing?
That's easy...

"It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. The humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart." ~ Marjorie Holmes, American writer


  1. Looks like a fun and wonderful Christmas filled with many fun traditions :) I like the Christmas Eve pj tradition. :)

  2. Christmas Eve pj's - I've always done that too!

  3. How wonderful! I am looking for a new camera too. Tell me how you like yours!
    Yes, the best part of the holiday is spending time with your family! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Joyce!

  4. Joyce, you have a beautiful family. The "traditions" are great! Even if you have a lot of them! haha! Your nephew made me laugh out loud! Oh, and the shutter speed / aperture thing… it's all I hear my hubby talk about! Enjoy the rest of your week.

  5. Looks like a wonderful celebration!! Love all the pictures and the firepit a wonderful addition to the traditions! Happy New Year!!!

  6. Okay. I'm loving that quote at the end of your post. We usually do crackers (guess it's a European thing) so that we can get in some Danish customs. Looks like y'all had a great time!

  7. I could have used 'tradition' all through my post today too. Our girls won't ever let us change a thing about the holidays! Including the pjs and turkey and ham! Are we related? LOL

    Looks like a fabulous time! I love your new camera and that you're taking a class. I need to take a class too. Happy New Year!

  8. Sounds - and looks - like you had a wonderful holiday. Ours was about as UN-traditional as it's ever been - but good all the same. Thanks for sharing so many fun pics. I love it!

  9. Absolutely beautiful Christmas Joyce. How blessed you are and how wonderful to share your day with family. New PJ's are a must, one of my favorite traditions.

  10. What a wonderful Christmas you had. I can't wait to see the pictures you take with your new camera!

  11. It looks like all the tradition made it a wonderful celebration for everyone. It is funny that when I want to change something it is my kids that say we have to keep it the same because it is "tradition."

  12. Yay for new cameras!! I'm going to have to start saving my money. I'm way past ready for an SLR. I want to hear that magical "Click" sound that nicer cameras make.

    Looks like everyone had a great Christmas!!

  13. Thanks for sharing Joyce. I love to see others' traditions.

  14. What wonderful memories, what an awesome recap, my family also loves sausage and egg casserole. It is a hit at our Christmas family gathering. We do a brunch and have for much fun. It looks as if your holiday time with family and friends was amazing. Happy New Year to you and yours. May you have a blessed year!

  15. Lump in my throat! I love that Moms feel all is right with the world when all their kids are under one roof, married and grown up or not. I said aloud to my husband as we crawled into bed on Christmas Eve that I love having everyone together. I wondered to myself if I would feel that way when they're in their forties and have a bunch of kids...I'm guessing it's always going to feel right! :)

    Loved the recap. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I'm going to be jealous of that new camera. How fun! Maybe you can teach us a thing or two.

    Happy New Year!

  16. Looks like a sweet, fabulous time! I absolutely adore the pjs! (And the reindeer dog!)

  17. Aww...thanks for sharing your "traditions" with us. It looks like a fabulous time was had by all--except the reindeer dog. Looking at his expression, I'm not sure about him! LOL

  18. It appears you had a wonderful Christmas. Have fun with your new camera.

  19. Beautiful post! And I love the photo of you and your daughters...and the quotation. I think the only other time I've seen the Christmas 'crowns' was on the movie Shadowlands, one of my all-time favorite movies! What great traditions! Have a blessed New Year!

  20. I just love the pictures you post of your dog, Joyce! She is so adorable! :-)
    Loved reading about your holiday and the traditions! So, I take it that everyone laid down their phones for the day? :-) That is a wonderful tradition, in my humble opinion!
    Happy New Year to you and your family!!

  21. I hope you and your Family had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.. But the pictures and stories it such looks like it.. I love how much fun you have with your family..