The last few days have been magic. The Christmas season is always wonderful — no matter your reason for celebrating. Everyone is a little nicer and everything seems a little cozier and I take the time to reflect on the sweetest things of the year. I hope you feel peace and joy in your life.
I was a little worried going into the main Christmas stretch (that is, Christmas Eve through Boxing Day) because it was to be my first not in Kentucky and not with my parents. I didn’t know how it would feel. Would it still feel like Christmas? It definitely did. I had no reason to worry — as John put it, on our ever-changing fridge whiteboard, “every day feels like Christmas with you.” And that’s completely it. He feels like home to me. He IS home.
Early Christmas Eve morning John left the house to go get some groceries we would need for the next day. He let me sleep in — lately I’ve been tossing and turning all night and not really getting solid sleep until 5:30 or 6, so my days off work I’ve been sleeping hard for hours through the morning. By the time he came home though, I was already awake and had even showered and put on real clothes. We decided to take a ride into the next town over to see if their Lowe’s had the shower head we wanted since ours didn’t. It did! We’ve been wanting to get that as a gift to us for Christmas — we didn’t like the shower head our house came with. So we bought that and started our trek back to our town. Sometime on the way home we decided we wanted Mexican food for lunch. At first we were going to get take out from our Mexican food restaurant but it was closed, so we went up to a different town to their restaurant. We split a lunch special and decided NO MORE anything today. We went home and watched White Christmas while snuggling up on the couch. I took a bit of a nap after that while we continued to watch more Christmas movies/tv episodes — and that’s all we did for the rest of the day. For Christmas Eve dinner we went to one of our favorite local restaurants with tupperware in hand to take part in the owner’s tradition of a free meal (with donations) for the town on Christmas. We got chicken and ham and dressing and mac & cheese and baked ziti (it is an Italian restaurant) and a few other things. We brought it home and watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol while we enjoyed it. Once I was ready for bed – John does not sleep on Christmas Eve – I took the critters upstairs with me to get snuggled in bed and we fell asleep to Christmas movies on the tv.
If John had his way, we would start Christmas morning around 4AM. I am not that way, nor have I ever been. I did tell him I would try to get up a little earlier Christmas morning but I made no promises. However, since he stayed downstairs the whole night and I had the dog and one cat (the other ended up sleeping downstairs with John) in the bed with me and no John to tend to them when they woke up wanting food, I was awoken around 6:30AM by a whimpering dog and a cat in my face. I told them to both go back to sleep for a bit and they did — all of 15 minutes. So by 6:45AM I was starting my slow rise out of bed — getting out of bed is really hard for me physically. I was downstairs by 7AM and John had just put the cinnamon rolls in the oven and A Christmas Story was on the tv. After tending to the animals we let them open their gifts first. Well, I opened the gifts for the cats — they got holiday themed toys and while both played with them, the babycat, Fleas, has taken a particular liking to the Santa Mouse toy she got and drags it around the house. It’s so cute to watch her play with it and she’s still enamored with it today – a couple days later, so… success! Rory, the dog, got her big gift from us a couple weeks ago, which was a nice new bed courtesy of Cyber Monday sales, other than that I got her a holiday themed toy in her stocking and some homemade treats. But she also had presents under the tree from her grandparents (my parents) that she actually opened herself. One of the gifts was some bones wrapped up and she got SO excited and tore the paper off the gift and everything. I didn’t know she was going to do that because we haven’t encouraged her to open gifts before, but if I’d have known I would’ve made sure to get it on video — it was so adorable. Needless to say, she was a happy dog the rest of the morning. She’s kind of always a happy dog, but she was SUPER happy on Christmas morning. She felt the spirit.
John poured us some coffee (decaf for me, in case you’re the caffeine pregnancy police), and we got to work opening our stockings. I love stockings. I think it’s my favorite part about Christmas morning. The little surprises, often the smallest, most simple gifts, are just the best. We always give each other some toy-like things to play with too. This year I got John some little lego sets and he got me a color-your-own Hello Kitty mini-stocking. So after we opened up everything in the stocking we colored things and put together things while finishing up our coffee and waiting for the rolls to get out of the oven. Once the rolls were done we ate them while watching a bit of the movie — we leave the ACS marathon on for a looooong time so we catch different parts here and there throughout the morning. After taking a closer look at all our stocking gifts, John started passing out the presents under the tree. We leisurely opened all of them up, taking time to see what the other was opening. It was so much fun and we are so spoiled. We don’t do the simple four gifts that are so popular around the internet (something you want, need, to wear, to read…). We don’t really treat ourselves throughout the entire year, only buying things we need (which really isn’t too much)– often for the house or pets and not ourselves so we save all the treating for Christmas. It feels so extravagant and maybe it’s silly, but we love it. By the time all the presents were opened we decided to eat a small salad for lunch after having a decadent breakfast and before our big dinner. I facetimed with my parents in Kentucky (my mom got a new iPhone so we could do things like that now, it was fun to see their house at Christmas and they got to see the aftermath of our morning at home). We watched A Christmas Story, John napped some, I read some of my presents, we lounged. It was a wonderful afternoon. After a while John got up and went to work in the kitchen. I kind of hate to admit this, but I didn’t help with Christmas dinner AT ALL. John did the whole thing, he readied the ham, made green bean casserole, corn, and rolls. I did a bit of napping myself while he was working. It was so nice of him to get everything prepared by himself and he did an EXCELLENT job. We ate our delicious Christmas dinner and talked about how this was our Best Christmas Yet, which I’m sure each following year will top. After dinner, John’s mom came over and we did a gift exchange with her and watched The Family Stone — such a good holiday movie… it makes me want to have lots and lots of kids, we’ll see how baby number one goes first though, I suppose. :) Everyone was pretty tuckered out at the end of the day, especially the dog.
For the past few years, John and I have always traveled the day after Christmas so it was so nice to wake up in our own home and not have to do anything the entire day. We had a slow morning and then we decided to get ready for the day instead of staying in PJs, we wanted to do something, even something very small, just to get out of the house and a chance to wear/use some of our new gifts. We thought about heading to the movies, but ultimately decided we’d wait to see the things we wanted this weekend when we can go to the earliest showing of the day (we are old people) so we decided to hit up our favorite restaurant in the triangle for lunch. We haven’t treated ourselves to that restaurant since Valentine’s Day so we thought we’d give it a shot, hoping it would be open and it was! The restaurant serves traditional food from Singapore and it is just heavenly if you like southeast Asian cuisine — which happens to be my favorite kind of food. The restaurant was pretty quiet and still Christmas-y and we loved the dishes we chose. On our way home we rented a few movies from redbox and then continued to laze about in the fort we made in the living room. One movie was okay, the other was dismal, but it was fun having everyone (us and all the pets) in the big living room bed with soft blankets and pillows everywhere. I even consented to sleeping in the living room that night — we used to do this all the time, but since I’ve been pregnant and sleeping has been challenging, I’ve only wanted to sleep in our bed, but it was so nice to sleep with the twinkle of Christmas lights for one last night.
In the morning when my alarm went off — I had to go back to work — I got out of the big bed to take the dog outside and it was so cold and there was frost everywhere. I came back inside, tended to the pets, and then snuggled right back up with John and told him “it’s freezing out there!” and he said, “but it’s so warm in here.” And he was right, so instead of getting ready for the real world right away, I stayed in the makeshift bed by the Christmas tree for just a little longer. Oh, this Christmas season was magic!