Christmas in Our House
We don't get to celebrate Christmas like many people do. In fact, I don't know anyone else who celebrates like we do. Being a pastor, I've had Christmas Eve duties the last four years (and look to have them for the forseeable future as well).
There is always an 11:00 p.m. service on Christmas Eve, which is a beautiful service (note to self and to any other pastors who might be reading this: a long Christmas Eve sermon only leads to a later bed time. Not a problem if you are a night-owl and don't have kids. But if you're funadmentally a morning person and/or have kids who will be getting up at the crack of dawn, well, just do the math). Because of the schedules (Christmas always seems to come the day after Christmas Eve; I'm not sure how it works out every year that way), we are wiped out on Christmas Day. This year will be even more fun, as we celebrate Christmas on Sunday. I'm planning the service to be unlike every other service and having lots and lots of music and celebration.
So anyway, we have trouble trying to get people together on (or even near) Christmas, so we celebrate Thanksmasgiving (combine our gatherings so we can actually see each other).
This year the boys had some real fun with their Christmas presents (and, in some cases, with the presents that were supposed to be for the other one). They're going to love it next year, though, when they really understand what's going on.
In my side of the family, gag gifts are a key part of the celebration. For example, the guys all got trucker hats celebrating Dad's chickens (they all have Laryy's Chyckin Farm labels as well as pictures). In the past, we have gotten such novelty items as tobacco-advertising tractor pull shirts, "nerd power" t-shirts, and reindeer jelly-belly dispensers (push down on the reindeer's back, and it "dispenses" a jellybean by "pooping" it. This year, we also got workout towels. You can see the Noblesvillian modeling one:
Besides that sort of gag gift, we've had many "revolving" gifts. I don't know what started it (maybe it has its roots with someone hiding a small plastic horse and someone else hiding a small pleather dog at Granny's house. The first revolving gift I can remember was something related to the New Kids on the Block. Maybe a cassette single? Certainly there was a large button with Jordan? from NKOTB, which I think ended its travels when it was gifted to the sister's then best-friend. Likewise, I believe the book "How I Broke Up With Ernie" ended up in Russia. But there are others that still make their rounds...
Anyway, we've now put our Christmas tree up, and we've decorated the house (see here for a story on that) with lights along the front gutters (that was a lot of fun -- you know what I'm talking about if you've seen our house and especially if you've seen our ladder, which is actually only the top half of an extension ladder) and all the way around the garage (no problem, as we could reach up and do that without a ladder). We also put a wreath on the front door and little candles (battery powered) in the windows. Jonathan loves the decorations -- he can name everything in the Nativity scene (likes the Baby Jesus best, but I think the ox is second. He sometimes gets the Wise Men confused with the Mommy or Daddy, but that's ok).
He really enjoys playing with the Christmas tree (sometimes dangerously -- when he tries to pull down ornaments!) and loves the colored balls. Again, I'm just waiting until he pulls the whole thing down on top of himself.
I'm looking forward to seeing him when he starts to really understand what Christmas means. He reads his "Christmas in the Manger" book every couple of days (though he's big into Hermie, the Ordnary Caterpillar right now...).