[I wrote this post over 10 days ago, but because I haven’t had time to cull through the 30 Christmas photos, I procrastinated finalizing it. As a result, I’ve missed several cute blog opportunities. This blog serves as a memoir-like device for my children to be able to read when they are older. Therefore, I’ve decided not to cull the photos, but to throw them all in at the end. It’s time to move on and get back to short anecdotes on a more frequent , albeit always weeks late, basis.]
The hardest part of Christmas is that both John’s and my families traditionally celebrate Christmas on Christmas afternoon. Since my family is in the Champaign-Urbana area and John’s family is in Western Springs, commuting is a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, this year we opted to squeeze both events into one day.
On Christmas Eve we drove to Champaign-Urbana and checked into a hotel. That way we were in the area and able to be at Aunt Kathy’s in the morning. As always, Aunt Kathy outdid herself. The kids were overwhelmed with more presents than they could dream of. They had fun opening them and playing with a couple of them before it was time for lunch. The spread was fabulous as always. I absolutely LOVE having holiday meals at Aunt Kathy’s because, just as Grandma used to do, she has more than enough food to feed an army. I feel bad for all the hard work that she has to put into it, and I truly wish we lived closer so I could be of more help. The not-all-inclusive list of food included: shrimp cocktail, cheese balls and crackers, turkey, ham, baked sweet potatoes, corn, mashed potatoes, noodles, green bean casserole, baked beans, rolls, deviled eggs, Waldorf salad (Mom’s, which I love!), two types of cranberry sauce, jello and much, much more. And that doesn’t include dessert! I’m just glad John was the designated driver. After all that food, I needed a nap!
While it was great to see the family, our time was cut short since we had to leave for Western Springs. It would’ve been nice to relax and spend more time with family, but we had to compromise somehow. We arrived at John’s parents’ house around 4. Spence and Saphira loved being with all of their cousins. Unfortunately, though, it had been a long day. After a wonderful dinner of prime rib, Swedish meatballs, carrots, green beans and homemade applesauce, we moved to the living room to open presents. The Stanis tradition is to open one present at a time so that everyone can see what you get. The kids couldn’t sit that long, and I ended up taking them downstairs to watch TV instead. I didn’t get to see much of the gift exchange, but again, compromises had to be made. At least we were able to spend time with both families for the holiday.
The kids were so tired that when we got home they didn’t even notice their presents under the tree — not even the toy grand piano that was sitting unwrapped right in front of it. They went straight up the stairs and to bed. That part didn’t surprise me. What did was that the next morning they played with all their Christmas presents from the day before without even asking to open their gifts here at the house. I even had to point out two of the unwrapped gifts. Once they saw the piano and Saphira’s baby doll cradle, they were a bit more enthusiastic, but it was a bit surreal and completely anti-climatic. They were grateful and appreciative, but after the Christmas day present-fest, I think I should’ve held off on our presents. The kids were still reeling from our families’ generosity. I did put several gifts away to bring out during the long winter.
Overall, it was a wonderful holiday. And I’m glad to report that a month after the fact the kids are happily playing with all of their toys…but that’s a future post.