Ella has her mouth full but everyone is looking in the same direction with their eyes most of the way open which considering we had one shot..can be considered a Christmas miracle.
Christmas Eve festivities kicked off with the last of this year’s 12 days “drops” our first “daylight drop” in 9 years!
12 Drummers drumming (or at least 12 drums and 12 drumsticks)
The advantage of this was although it was harder to be undetected (note the kids hiding behind the parked car), it was easier for me to get photos. And really, that’s the most important thing of all. )
Looking at these pictures reminds me of one of the first days of this mission when Benj said, “they are too close to the front door! what if they see me?” I replied something along the lines of “just keep your head down, your hood up, don’t make eye contact, they won’t recognize you.” To which he replies, “Mom. It says SAYER on the back of my shirt, I’m pretty sure they will put two and two together”. He makes me laugh, that one.
Later that afternoon, Gracie and I were excited (like jumping up and down with glee) to see at least a little bit of snow…since the closest we had come to a white Christmas up until then was when we woke up on Christmas Eve to discover that Buddy the Elf had been busy..he’s a good elf, that Buddy.
Although my dreams of this scene only happened the day after Christmas…(dreaming of a White Boxing Day doesn’t have quite the same romantic ring to it, does it?)
The annual building of the Gingerbread house. Because we had our hands pretty full finishing off baking for friends and cooking dinner, Benj headed it up and I was impressed with how smoothly things went. But I know you were sorely missed Uncle Marc..
I think they were going for an impressionistic house..
We had a very delicious lamb dinner (thanks Aaron) Ella’s mouth is full again…
Ella takes her lamb, roast potatoes and sparkling red grape juice very, very seriously. She’s something of a connoisseur.
Then we stopped by a friends’ Christmas Eve party for a while which was fun, and on the way home we skidded into McDonalds at the last moment to pay for someone’s meal a tradition that started just last year.
We were about to give up because it was 8:59 and they close at 9pm and there was no sign of anyone showing up when what to our wondering eyes should appear… but one last car, we quickly cut of front of them (I’m sure they thought we were very rude) and told the cashier that we wanted to pay for the guy behind us. She was less than enthusiastic about it. I guess she just wanted to get home on Christmas Eve, so when we saw a car in front of us which was literally TAPED together, and we asked if we could pay for their meal too, she was a bit impatient and said, “um, no they have already paid!” Then Aaron asked if we could add a holiday pie to their order and she said, “we are out of holiday pies sir, we are about to close”. This is where Aaron got desperate and uttered the words, “just give him any pie! ANY PIE!!” which was very reminiscent of last year when my brother in law Marc, told the cashier to give the girl for whom we were buying a hot chocolate” TWO hot chocolates!” My sister pointed out that “two hot chocolates” for someone driving alone would probably not be appreciated and unfortunately, Aaron’s would be pie guy drove off before we could bestow ANY pie upon him. Alas..good intentions unfulfilled. But! We did manage to successfully pay for the guy behind us, who followed us out the parking lot, drove up beside us, and thanked us profusely. It was really sweet and put everyone into an extra great mood.
Once we got home we were treated to The infamous Kids Christmas Play
Ella was all business as she kept a careful eye on Norad for Santa and posted photos of Bubble Guppies on facebook…
Then…time for PJ’s and hot chocolate! Gracie gets Ella into her jammies. Ella does not lose her grip on the iPhone throughout..her dedication and focus brings a tear to the eye..
The annual reading of the Night Before Christmas. My sister gave us this book many years ago and whenever she is here, she reads it. Recently, Benj took over from Aaron the years when she is not around. I love watching them all huddled together completely intrigued by this book. It is not like they don’t know how it ends…but it’s one of those little things that make me feel as though they are not growing up quite as quickly as I feared.
On Christmas Eve we always open one gift. This year there was much anticipation over Gabe’s gifts as he (in true angel Gabriel fashion) had spared no expense and used every penny of the money he earned to buy gifts for everyone. Everyone’s reactions were so adorable. Benj got his very own fluffy blanket (no more fighting someone else for one on the couch), Ella got a book, He passed down to Finny a much longed for jacket that he got last Christmas (which he has not yet quite outgrown), he got Gracie some very special moisturizing socks, me a box of Ferrero Rocher and Aaron his very own bottle of root beer which he painstakingly concealed throughout a lengthy shopping trip. It was the sweetest. Benj gave him some cool pants. And everyone was very happy.
Since we had read and discussed the story of Jesus’ birth in detail the night before we just sang some carols and read a shorter excerpt from Luke. Then to dial everyone down a bit we watched our favourite Christmas movie, “Mr. Krueger’s Christmas”, which of course made me blubber like a fool as always. When that was done we each talked about a time when we had felt the love of Jesus for us personally, and talked about how we can see and feel it many times every day if we are tuned in to notice it.
Then it was time for Finny and Gracie to take care of the official sprinkling of reindeer food..whilst wearing their father’s shoes…
And then the big kids went to bed, and Aaron rocked Ella to sleep as we watched the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. Nobody does it like Jimmy Stewart. Am I right? It’s so amazing to watch how similar/different his acting is at such different times of his life.
Just as we were thinking that it might almost be time for Santa to come, Gracie emerged to tell us with urgency that we had not left out the milk and cookies! This was quickly rectified. Thank GOODNESS. There is no telling what might have happened….
And finally….he arrived!
And to all a good (very short) night. It might not have been a perfect Christmas Eve but it was wonderful. I love these people.
The Posts of Christmas Eve’s Past: 2011 Edition, 2010, Edition 2009 Edition, 2008 Edition, 2007 Edition