- Christmas Eve meant time for church. As usual, I wasn't a fan of the children's portion of the service. I'd much rather they have their own time slot so that the candle-light service can be more calm, but unfortunately our church doesn't have a large enough congregation for that. This year, it was especially unbearable because they re-wrote the pageant. Somehow in this new version we started with the Wise Men already at the manger, and then Mary and Joseph came along later. Not really sure what the rationale was for this change, and the whole thing was pretty disjointed so I couldn't really pick up on the logic there. The candle-light portion is my favorite part of the Christmas Eve service at my church. There is a tremendous amount of tradition behind the type of candle used, the way the candles are served, and one particular song that is sung during that portion of the service. You can read about my church's Christmas traditions, with more here, and here, and here. I encourage you to check out the links because it's all quite interesting.
- Christmas morning, Shawn and I exchanged presents. The "big" present that I got for Shawn was a fly fishing class. He already knew that I had signed up for a fly tying class, and that wasn't a present, but the fishing class was a surprise. The classes are all offered through The Evening Hatch Fly Shop, a nice fly shop we frequent up in the Poconos. The "big" present that Shawn got me was a Vera Bradley handbag. Yes, this is the same man who FreAkS OuT whenever I bring home a new purse or bag. I got a Vera catalog back in November and mentioned how I'd love to have a Vera bag someday. Well, Shawn came back with "Well, maybe if you're really good, one will appear for Christmas." So, I marked up the catalog thinking it wouldn't actually happen because of his aversion to purchasing new bags. He did warn me at the time, however, that if I got one, I had to make it last a year. No other new purses. I think I can handle that :) I even went out this past Friday to get a matching medium sized cosmetic bag to go inside of it. Shawn also got me a storage case for the blades of my food processor, which will be very handy.
- After we opened our presents, we went to our neighbor's house for breakfast. Joann has 4 kids, the youngest of whom is Shawn's age. Two of the 4 came with their families for breakfast. I decided to make Sticky Buns, and let me tell you - they were a HUGE HIT! I came back with a spotless pan - the only 2 that were left, we hid away for Joann to snack on later. Even better, we had a message on our answering machine just yesterday from one of Joann's friends asking for the recipe because she had heard how great they were from one of Joann's sons. Definitely need to thank my mother-in-law for such a great recipe.
- After we left Joann's we spent the rest of the day at home. We watched some movies, played some games - a nice quiet day. I made a ham, with various side dishes, including pineapple stuffing. Oh Lord, is that ever a great dish! I got the recipe from a coworker a couple of years ago, and I swear that it could pass for dessert because it is THAT sweet. I told Shawn I might just add some coconut to it and a simple caramel sauce and call it Pineapple Bread Pudding.
- On the Saturday after Christmas, we went to my aunt and uncle's for dinner. They decided to post-pone the festivities until my aunt's daughter, her husband and his girls could be there. No biggie - just meant that we got a turkey dinner after a few days of ham :)
- The festivities wrapped up on New Year's Eve, when we went to Joann's daughter's house to celebrate. We got there shortly before 7 and things were already in full swing. It was a covered dish, so there was all kinds of yumminess there. We sat around and chatted, listened while Joann's granddaughter and her friend entertained us on the piano and string bass, and then played a few games before watching the ball drop in NYC. Is it just me, or did Dick Clark look especially ... artificial ... this year? He seriously looked like he had been pulled from a coffin or something - his makeup was *that bad*. I admire the man for trying, but jeez oh man, someone needs to encourage him to step aside.
- Oh, can't forget New Year's Day. After we returned to S-ville, I ran to the grocery store to get the traditional pork and sauerkraut. Can't ring in the new year without those!
So, that's how we celebrated. Our tree is still up - I told Shawn that since we were spending a week in the Poconos without a tree that we should leave our tree up for an extra week so we could make up for the lost time. He agreed, so I am sitting here looking at it's pretty baubles and lights while I type.
I know it's belated, but I hope each of you had a very Merry Christmas and a magical New Year's!!