Christmas Eve. I really love the sound of those words together. The anticipation. The joy.
We spent several hours of Christmas Eve with the Toddler Twosome so their parents could go to the gym in the morning and later, to a holiday party. There was some cuddling.
And cookie decorating. This has always been a full-family thing done after dinner on Christmas Eve. But times and ages of participants changes things and so it was me and the baking assistants in the afternoon (while the other adult baking assistant in the room took the photos.)
After a near-sprinkle accident, we got our rhythm down. (lesson learned: Don't give a toddler a jar of sprinkles and say put some of these on your cookie, because they will dump the whole jar onto the cookie sheet!).
The rhythm -- I frost cookies and hand some of them off to the sprinkler. Who covers them with sprinkles and eats them.
Meanwhile, our junior assistant's purpose was more as a taste tester. He was eating cookies as fast as I could frost them. His method? Lick the frosting off, then eat the cookie. I was glad I made many the size of animal crackers so it wasn't as decadent as it sounded! (Fortunately, the clean-up crew was under the table, doing their due diligence!)
Time for Christmas Eve dinner. Kevin made perfectly grilled steaks, Molly did a terrific salad and we had mashed potatoes with it. All delicious.
There is something about dinner by candlelight. So soft and gentle.
Of course, it wasn't all soft! I love Christmas crackers! Gotta wear a crown!
This group had particularly good "presents" inside. (They were by Emma Bridgewater -- if I see her brand again, I'm getting them!)
Our Big Guy was very into blowing out the candles!
The next morning brought presents! Big Guy delivered -- and helped us all open our gifts.
Rick and I gave the boys each a tent. They were hits!
Then Big Guy got his beloved Buzz Lightyear that lit up and talked!
While the kids played...
Kevin got breakfast ready.
More candles, more blowing, more play! Grandpa was invited into the tent to share time with the Big Guy and Buzz.
While Molly got the boys ready to head to the next family Christmas, Rick took a little break! This is one of my favorite photos from the time with the kids.
And soon it was over, they were out, we were on the road home. But this is the image I will keep in my mind! The magic and joy of being a child.
We got home in time to get ready for Christmas dinner. Fortunately, I'd set the table before we left.
That tablecloth is from our blog friend Rita at Panoply. Her downsizing generosity is now part of my Christmas decor!
It was mom's china, silver and crystal with some bunny ornaments for napkin holders.
Mike and Kate arrived, Kate bringing the rest of the dinner -- a salad and peppermint stick ice cream for dessert with our Christmas cookies.
That, the prosecco and a few appetizers set us up well for dinner!
I made jambalaya. And very good. I used THIS RECIPE but if I did it again, I might cut some of the spices in cooking and add them near the end or at the table. It was super spicy!
And then it was over.
Kind of perfect, actually. I couldn't have handled more people after the Toddlers and being prepped for Christmas dinner (and Kate's contributions) made it so easy. It has been a very good season.
And now, we're ready for a nap! On to the new year!
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