Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015 Highlights!

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Christmas isn't quite over just yet...in fact,the fun has just begun as we are in the middle of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas that started on Christmas Day!  I really think celebrating Christmas as a season vs. a day makes sense as explained in this post from my archives.

Since it's still Christmas, I thought I would share just a few highlights of our family's 2015 Christmas!  It was a blessed one and I'm so grateful no one was sick with fever like last Christmas.

A few weeks before Christmas, my sister and her family came for a visit to celebrate Christmas a little early with us since they live out of town. We had a lovely visit and I was excited to set the lunch table with the silverware stockings I made several years ago. :) 

I made a set of these simple stockings for myself, parents and friends and it's always so nice to decorate the Christmas table with them.  In the center of our Advent wreath, I placed the St. Nicholas Shining Light Doll and a St. Nicholas peg doll from the Saint peg doll exchange I was involved in a few months ago. 

One of our family's Christmas traditions is to make a gingerbread house (not from scratch, however!)  Last week before Christmas Day we spent the evening decorating (and eating) the house with candy and icing.   We never got around to making more sock Baby Jesus' as in year's past, but maybe next year!

Another fun tradition my children look forward to is adding on to our "Handy Tree Skirt" that we started in 2008.  Our littlest one cried last year when we painted on her hand, but this year she proudly held up her green hand with no problem and with lots of smiles! My children always love comparing their hand sizes each year and taking note how much they have grown through the years.  I love the expression on our 2 year old's face that I happened to capture as she watches her older sister get her hand painted first! 

Speaking of hand prints, each year I try to give some sort of creative gift to my parents from my children.  This year we went with a hand print theme thanks to Allison's inspiration at Reconciled to You.  When I saw she posted her hand print wreath on her Facebook page, I knew this would be perfect to make since I love collecting previous years Christmas cards, but I don't always know what to do with them!  With a stack of previous year's cards, my children traced their hand and cut it out.  We then arranged all the hand prints in a wreath shape.  My parents loved it!

Here is their wreath hanging in their living room against a mirror.

In November and December we saw several light displays and rode past some wonderfully decorated houses.  We try to drive around town to look at all Christmas decorations/lights on or around December 13, which is St. Lucy's feast day.  Lucy means "light", by the way.  

We found a new house to visit thanks to a friend posting about it on her Facebook page and WOW!  You can view the house from the outside AND walk inside to look at ALL their decorations!  Yep, we walked through their living room, kitchen and hallways to admire their decorations.  When we got to the kitchen, my kids were wondering how the owners ate since decorations were on the table and counters.  The owner said she just moves things around, cooks and then puts things back in place.  They start decorating on Sept. 1!  These pictures don't do it justice, but here's a few I got with my cell phone.  

On Christmas Eve, before the Christmas Eve children's mass where my three older daughters sang in the choir and my son altar served, we went to my parent's house for lunch.  Here's our gang. 

 Here's our family after the 4 PM Christmas Eve children's Mass. 

After Mass we drove around to see more Christmas lights and then I went to an 11:00 PM choral/orchestra concert at our parish with my 3 older children, then we stayed for the beautiful midnight mass.  It was all so wonderful and beautiful!

Christmas morning brought much joy and smiles...

On Christmas evening we went to my in-laws house to celebrate Christmas with them.  We only have to travel about 20 minutes to get to their home so it's an easy trip.

We decorated our annual birthday cake for Baby Jesus with the cousins.  The kids love dumping sprinkles on the cake each year!

Here's my husband's side of the family with my mother and father-in-law sitting in front.  My husband has a twin brother (far right in black t-shirt) and an older brother (standing behind my niece with the racoon hat) and they are each standing with their families.

It was a joyous Christmas celebration with family and friends!  Thank you for viewing these highlights!

We will soon welcome 2016 with the Solemnity of Mary on Jan. 1 and an Epiphany party our family will be hosting. (I don't think I can pull off another Nativity play for the Epiphany? But, miracles can happen right?)

Also, coming up on a near future blog post I'll update you on how one of my new year's resolutions is to do more jogging, maybe not so much blogging, but for exciting reasons!  So stay tuned!

God bless your Christmas season! (which hasn't ended yet remember :) )


Mary said...

That house...WOW! Wonder when she starts dismantling everything?
Is there anything more beautiful than the altar decorated with poinsettias & white lights?
Merry Christmas! :)

Chris said...

Wow, what a lovely scrapbook-y post...I fel like I relived Christmas with your family!!

Th crafts...tr skirt, ggbread houses, stocking silverware holder....love them all. What a fantastic keepsake each shirt makes....I love your pics of the skirts every year!!

Thanks for sharing it all!!!

Merry Christmas Tracy and blessings in 2016 to your wonderful family!

Laurie said...

I love how you captured so many of the precious moments! I know that, in spite of the beauty of it all, big family Christmases can be hectic - that you were able to capture so many of the best moments to commit to memory is a gift to your family!! Thank you for sharing!! Merry Christmas. :)

Hi Mary! The house was interesting and memorable for sure! She starts taking things down at the start of the new year and they have a Facebook page called "A&K Christmas House" where she updates the assembly process :) I always love the church decorated at Christmas too! So beautiful! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you Chris! I always love your visits and wonderful comments! It was a great Christmas! I always say that if we get through a healthy Christmas (since we have had sickness over Christmas in the past) then everything else is icing on the cake :) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Chris to you and your wonderful family!

Thank you Laurie! It's sometimes hard to remember the good and peaceful times among the challenging and chaotic times with my crew, so I'm grateful for this blog where I can look back and relive the special memories and moments! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you Laurie!

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