Saturday, December 25, 2010


Our Christmas celebration began Christmas Eve at my sister-in-law's house with dear hubby's family.  In an effort to spend less and give more, we decided to pull names this year, with each person receiving only one gift.  I can't speak for the others, but this lessened the stress tremendously for me!  My boys weren't real excited about just getting *one* gift, but in the end, I think it worked out for them.

They got involved with the actual gift selection (instead of leaving it all for ME!) and they were happy with the gift that they got.  My younger son got Monster Energy Drinks (like he needs any energy) , gum, and an iTunes gift card from his cousin, and he thought he had won the lottery!  We spent time enjoying a seafood gumbo, making egg nog and enjoying each others' company rather than obsessing over gifts. 

Thirteen-year-old son had his uncle's name.  He put a lot of work into loading down this big box (with Sports Illustrated and other things - which was kind of a langiappe gift for his football coach uncle) - to make it appear like it was something other than a gift card. 

The grandmas collaborating over egg nog.  My mother-in-law and my brother-in-law's mom.  We took time to enjoy this, instead of seeing it as a way to delay the almighty present-opening.

I got one gift - a beautiful book about the life of the Blessed Mother from sister-in-law.  Artwork and explanations.  She said the Blessed Mother led her to it, and that works just fine for me!

We went to Mass this morning - both the boys and I had to serve at 8:30.  Yesterday I had floated the idea of opening gifts AFTER Mass (Jesus first, then presents).  I figured things would be rushed before Mass.  Surprisingly, the idea was well-received, and that's pretty much what we did.

Mass seemed somewhat anti-climatic after Advent and after helping with the decorating.  The Christmas Eve Mass (which we did NOT attend this year) was packed to the rafters last night, but there were plenty of places to sit this morning.  It was beautiful.  It always is.  Father's homily was about there being no coincidences with God.  That Jesus being born in Bethlehem and being placed in a manger was no coincidence.  Bethlehem literally meaning "House of Bread" and a manger being where food is placed.  Jesus - the food for our journey back to Him - being placed in a manger.  He is there to give be our courage when we feel anxious.  He is there to embrace us when we are tempted.  He is there to be our strength when we are weak.  He is there to show us His heart (which is Mercy) when we fall.  All because we are engraved as a deep wound upon His heart.  (that image again)

After Mass, we went back home and opened gifts!  I only got one, but it was an iPad.  No further words are needed!!  We did not spend less on the boys this year.  X-box, iPod dock and other assorted things.

Then we drove to my parents' house and enjoyed the family there.  My kids got pajama pants and money, and seemed pretty happy.  When we got home, I remarked to my husband that it was a good Christmas.  We didn't get any useless presents.  He agreed.

There were a ton of good pictures from my parents' house, but these are some of my favorites.


My 3-year-old niece.  She looks so bored by the activity!

My Godchild.  He's 2!  Look at him put out those candles..  He has a great future as an altar server!

Here he is with Grandma making punch.  She is one of his absolute favorite people in the world.


My grandfather with my niece.  He will be 95 in a few months, and her birthday is within a week.  He has the best thing in the world right here - a sleeping baby on his lap.  Appropriate for the day that God broke into our history and became a sleeping baby in our Blessed Mother's arms. 

Merry Christmas!

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