Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both good times for us this year. For me and my immediate family, the holiday season is a time for tradition and family. A time for gathering together with friends and loved ones to laugh and have good food together.
The holidays were even more special this year because our daughter Mary came home for a visit for the first time in several years. I really appreciated her taking time out of her busy life to spend a week with us. That week went by all too quickly, too.
Christmas eve in the afternoon we all opened our gifts to each other. We usually wait till Christmas morning out of tradition, but since Mary had a morning trumpet gig the next day, we decided to do it in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. I received some really nice gifts from Jon and my kids this year. Jon and I bought a new receiver as our gift to each other, and we went to see Star Wars in Concert earlier this month. Then he bought me some sweaters, two pair of boot shoes, pajamas and a NuWave cooker. (The thing really works like the informercials show, but that is for another story.) Jason gave me a book that lists 1001 books to read before you die. And Jeff and Whitney gave me diamond stud earrings and a special computer mouse pad with Jon's, Jason, Jeff, Whitney and Mary's pictures on it. It's so neat! Mary gave me a pretty pair of earrings that I can wear with lots of things and oh so nice-smelling body cream and a hand lotion. Very nice gifts. :-) Jon also put together a computer for the livingroom that is now hooked up to our 106" screen tv! Crazy!
Christmas evening we went to some good friends of ours who are like family to us. We have gone there every year since before we were married. They are Jon's "surrogate" family that took care of him when he was little and his mother worked. And grew especially close to them after Jon's parents passed away when he was a teenager. There was so much good food there, as usual. This year it was lasagna, sausage, meatballs, salad, Italian bread and butter. And lots and lots of desserts.
The next day we went to my parents' house for another good meal. Ham and sweet potatoes, sausage, sauerkraut, veggies, rolls, strawberry jello, and cookies galore. My sister was over with her husband and my brother was there with his wife and one of his sons. The weather started turning nasty and my other brother and his family just went home from his in-laws since the weather was getting worse and worse and temperatures were plunging. Got some nice things from Mom and Dad. I got the blue fleece top I wanted and some real nice Bath and Body Works stuff and a cute story book about a mouse. (I love illustrated children's books.)
The weather on the way home was strange. It looked like the arctic at my parents' place, then as we headed west it cleared up and was fine till we got two blocks from home and looked as though we drove through the wall of snow and into a snowglobe. Lucky we made it home before that other storm moved east.
Mary stayed till today and I took her to the airport earlier to go back home. It's always sad to say goodbye. I am so glad she got to come spend the holidays with us.