Since Doug's birthday is the 23rd of December, I took the day off and we made a day of readying our house for the holidays because we were having guests over on Christmas Eve. In the 9 years we've lived together, this is the first time we've gotten a Christmas tree. I've always had a moral dilemma about cutting down a tree and then just throwing it out after Christmas, so this year we went to the local garden center and got a pine tree with the bulb of roots still attached so that we could plant it afterward. Since the bulb of roots are so big on a normal size Christmas tree, we went with a small tree with a more manageable bulb size. This is going to be a new tradition of ours and I can't wait to have a whole forest full of our old trees!
Our little tree with Monty the Moose
Doug's sister, husband and our nephew Jami came to visit this year from Charlotte, so we all went to Christmas Eve service at the little Pocono's church and then went back to our house for some appetizers and desserts. I didn't bother taking pics of the mini mac and cheese muffins or spinach and artichoke dip I made, but here are a couple of the goodies I baked.Yum.
On Christmas Day, Doug and I got up and exchanged our gifts before heading over to his parents for breakfast and to watch Jami open some of his gifts. A little later in the day, Doug's other sister, her hubby and 3 kids came up Christmas dinner with the whole extended family. It's always a bit chaotic with 20 people, kids high on sugar, dogs looking for handouts and more food than one house can hold. But that's what the holidays are all about right?
After dinner was wrapped up and the guests were gone, we sat down to exchange gifts with Doug's family. Now that the kids are older (7, 10, 10, 12) the gifts are a little more practical than the plastic toys of their younger years. Anna, the 7 year old, still gets toys, but the other kids mostly wanted name brand clothes and iPads.
We got David and Jami North Face fleeces (Becca also got one from Santa) and we got Becca the purple UGGS she had to have (which you can't see here, whoops.)
Anna's gift was a little different. Since Doug and I got our paddleboards this summer, Anna has become obsessed with learning how to surf. She came paddleboarding a bunch of times with us this summer, usually by herself because the other kids were playing soccer or basketball or swimming, as fell in love with the idea of being on a board. So, since this summer, she has told her teachers, grandparents, friends and Santa that all she wanted for Christmas this year is a surfboard. When I offered to help Anna's parents get her a surfboard through my store, they said no "we live in the Philadelphia suburbs, she'll never use it." So Doug and I offered to get it for Anna for Christmas and Kristie said no "she doesn't need it and she'll only use it a couple times a year." But every time we talked to Anna all she could talk about is surfing. She has watched the Soul Surfer movie about Bethany Hamilton probably 40 times and knows all the surfing lingo. So, despite Kristie and Derek's wishes, Doug and I surprised Anna with a surfboard for Christmas. We figured that even if this thing ends up being a piece of art in her bedroom, we had to feed her passion for wanting something so badly.
After the other 3 kids opened their gifts, Doug called Anna over and had a card for her that he wrote. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Doug was reading this.
As he finished up reading the card, I snuck out on the porch and grabbed the surfboard. The look on Anna's face was priceless (as was the look on her parent's face!!) and made it all worthwhile for Doug and me.
Surfer girl Anna
The next day when we went back over to see everyone again, Kristie told us that Anna slept on the surfboard. I went upstairs to say hi and she had the board on the bed and was practicing paddling and jumping up, you know, just getting ready for surfing season! I've never been so happy!! I guess paybacks could be a bitch when Doug and I have kids.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a very happy new year!