700 words about this Christmas

We had a bit of a "less" Christmas this year. Fewer presents, fewer cousins, less food for Christmas brunch, less stress. Less photography. But it wasn't any less delightful! We started the celebration with an outdoor church service at 4:00 on Christmas Eve, which was lovely and cheerful despite the cold; the boys were warmed up by the presence of hot chocolate, giant doughnuts, and friends. And it was so wonderful to sing together! The only challenges were that it was just about impossible to keep candles lit in the breeze, and that driving home in the dark it was pretty confusing the boys that we hadn't had dinner yet. Not that there was much need after 1000 calories of doughnut! We did have a little salad, then after the final chapter of A Christmas Carol the boys headed off to bed.

our tree late on Christmas Eve

when not even mice were stirring

It's good they got an early night, because they woke up just a little past three in the morning raring to go. They didn't exactly get up at that hour, but there was definitely some excited whispering then, and again a little after four; then after five when Elijah woke up too it was a full-blown party in their room. After a bit of a later night wrapping the last few things and cleaning up I was a little grumpy at the morning's disrupted sleep and stayed in bed until close to six, but the crew downstairs was very patient and gracious as they waited out my mood. We did stocking presents before sunrise—lots of Rubiks Cubes and citrus fruits—and then had breakfast, giving the sun time to rise before we turned to the pile of presents under the tree.

Which while less numerous were no less well-received! We've been working on quilting in our school time so there were some quilted ornaments and accessories, and Harvey made an amazing sock-monkey octopus—socktopus!—for Elijah. Everybody who lost their water-bottle in 2021—Harvey, Elijah, and me—got a new one. The boys got new mittens and Zion got a snowsuit. I felt mature enough to buy Leah a piece of Art, but still cheap enough to frame it myself. And of course there were some lego sets, the making of which commenced immediately.

But only the little ones, because there wasn't time for anything big before we headed off to Grandma and Grandpa's. The drive was slightly treacherous in the freezing rain, but no more than our front steps; once we'd made it down them the hardest part of the journey was over. Legos came with us for later building, and they were joined by more once we started to open Grandma's presents. But before that we had to have our favorite meal of the year, Christmas brunch! I was sad for there to be no smoked salmon—not enough salmon eaters without cousins, now that Harvey is a vegetarian—but with eggs, bagels, donuts, ham, potatoes, and fruit, I barely missed it.

The second round of presents—third?—passed by pleasantly and calmly, then the rest of the day relaxed into a haze of enjoying the fire, the food, and new toys. The boys built some lego sets and played the new game Harvey got for the Switch, then I roused myself enough to play a couple rounds of the new board game I got him. At some point we did some singing together and, in a big moment, all three boys took a solo verse on "We Three Kings". I'm glad, because it means I don't need to ever do it again. They always make fun of my falsetto anyways. Somewhere around mid-afternoon we had dinner and there were thoughts of making it all the way to another meal at suppertime, but we didn't really get there. The early wake-up started to tell and by 7:00 we were ready for our beds.

Of course, first we needed to navigate the icy streets and our icy stairs again, and then read a chapter of the book we set aside for Dickens. And brush our teeth well after a day of uncountable desserts! Yes, I think that, even toned down, Christmas can count itself celebrated.

Elijah and Grandpa opening presents, Zion building in the background

this present delight