We've had a lovely holiday.... here are a few pictures. I'll start with Christmas Eve. Here are G. and L. in their new dresses waiting for the Christmas pageant to begin.
L. (on left) and G. (on right)
Everyone was involved in the pageant in some fashion except for the little girls and myself. J. was one of the directors, M. was working a spotlight, B. was running sound, A. was stage crew, P. was a shepherd, TM was singing in the choir, D. was an actor in the opening story portion, and K. was a billy goat.
The pageant always begins with a short play. This year it was adapted from a short story by Tolstoy about a poor shoemaker who has a vision in the night that the Christ Child was going to visit him the next day. The small family finds what gifts they can to give to Him and they wait. As the day progresses, they are visited by several people, all needy, to whom they give the gifts set aside for the Christ Child. At the end of the day, after no anticipated visit, and all their gifts given, they go to bed disappointed. In the night, they have another vision. The shoemaker asks why they were not visited, and are told that the Christ Child did come... in the form of the needy people whom the family helped.
Here is D. playing the part of the old soldier who is given a new pair of boots. (Like the beard?)
After the story portion, the traditional nativity begins. That fuzzy shape there in front is K. as a billy goat. He is supposed to be acting afraid because of the angels. Fear and hyperactivity are evidently one and the same in his mind. (As an aside, he has been so cute about it this week. Every time K. heard the Christmas story or heard a carol about shepherds and angels, he would shout, "That's me! That's my part!")
After the pageant, it was home for big family dinner #1. Here's the whole crew in their Christmas Eve duds.
And then... Christmas morning. In our home, all the children stay upstairs until J. and I have things ready to go downstairs. Then, as a holdover tradition from J.'s childhood, they come downstairs in age order. Finally, they were told they could come down:
A brief pause, to get a picture. (G. didn't want to walk and was carried by B. instead.)
We go straight into the dining room to light the Christ candle and say a prayer.
And then everyone gets to open their stockings. Over the years, more and more children have begun adding small things to the stockings along with what J. and I put in. I'm sometimes just as surprised as anyone to see what they hold.
L. with her orange and chocolate Santa
Then a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and grapefruit and on to the presents:
G. and L. playing with their Duplo Pooh set.
Crowding around B. to see what he opened.
L. wearing her new butterfly wings.
D. in a quiet moment.
After all the gift opening we start on lunch which is really a second breakfast. This time waffles, sausage, and bacon. After some time to relax and/or nap, we headed up to J.'s sister's home for big family dinner #2.
It was a lovely day. And I'm also thrilled to say, it was a holiday without drama. You know, sometimes holidays or anything out of the usual can cause those who are sensitive to such things to have a more difficult time. I can't tell you how thankful I am at the healing that has been going on around here and the fact that the holiday didn't trigger anything out of the usual. Hallelujah!
(I'll post about some of my December projects that were Christmas gifts tomorrow.)