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A Month of Christmas Week 4: Christmas at Home

This year, Christmas filled our entire month of December. It was fun, but also exhausting, and if you’re asking right now, next year Christmas will be sloooooow, and not FULL. (But, if you ask me next year around Christmas time…. haha!)

We spent Christmas Eve-Eve in downtown Austin passing out goodie bags, coffee, hot cocoa, and soup to the homeless population. There are a lot of people without homes, and this year has been exceptionally cold, we’ve had snow twice so far! This was a new tradition we will be continuing. It took quite a bit of planning, but it was worth it. Something we did that I felt was important was that we went to the people standing or laying around the area we stopped in. There were a few people who gladly came to the van, but others you could tell were apprehensive, but happily accepted what we offered when we came to them… or maybe it was because of the cute kids. 😉 It was super cold out, so we rewarded the hungry with a trip to McDonald’s… at 11:00 p.m., totally good for them and all.

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Christmas Eve started slowly since we didn’t end up back home and in bed until almost 1:00 a.m. Even our early-bird Lylah slept in on Christmas Eve. We spent the morning cuddled in our bed drinking coffee, then baking and watching Christmas movies. We then headed to the church for a beautiful candle lit service (that I didn’t get any pictures of) and then to Grandmas house for our Christmas there. You can read about Christmas at Grandmas here.

 

 

We don’t “do” Christmas lists in our house. The kids don’t get to choose the gifts they get on Christmas morning (My children are 100% aware Santa isn’t a real person, and also know Christmas is not about him… they also know not to tell your kid, if you’re wondering.) So Christmas morning the kids woke up to their one present under the tree, and they all almost died of happiness. Kindles for the smaller kids, and a computer for Hayden. None of them expected these things as they’re pretty extravagant and they know that, so the surprise was even more significant than a typical Christmas morning surprise.

We had a huge breakfast, featuring snowman pancakes, and we snuggled up on the couch (it was actually cold out!) and watched a few movies, and navigated through the new Kindles and set up Haydens computer. We enjoyed spending a slow day together, enjoying each other, and reflecting on the story of Christmas.

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A Month of Christmas Weeks 3 & 4.5: Family Christmas…es

Christmas this year covered the entire month for our family! We love Christmas, so it wasn’t so much of a hardship. We “visited” Mexico, Italy, and initially, we were going to visit France as well, but REAL (AKA, our) traditions come first. The third week in our Month of Christmas was spent at grandmas (Hermans mom) house. They hosted everyone for a BBQ dinner and gave gifts to all of the grandkids. Ella and Lylah got beautiful matching dresses, Hayden got a new pair of Converse, socks, and underwear, Ryder got a remote control car, and Emma got a cute Dora doll. I L-O-V-E kids, so Christmas with Hermans side of the family makes me extra happy since the oldest grandchild is our nephew Cayden, who is 11.

 

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This photo is purposely cropped to hide full faces family.

 

Good food, and loud fun, was enough to fill my cup. I love the noise, and children running around in a blur, it’s okay, you can call me strange. 😉

 


 

Jumping over our Christmas, which we do alone in our home, we had Christmas with my side of the family. They (mom, stepdad, siblings and grandparents) went on a cruise and didn’t return until after Christmas, so Christmas extended beyond… well, Christmas. I always love the time we spend together, but there’s always something so magical about getting together, sharing food, and exchanging gifts with people you love.

 

I hope if you had Christmas with your extended family, it was just as amazing as ours, and to see how we spent Christmas day in our home, follow this link.

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A Month of Christmas Week Two: Christmas in Italy

After an extended blog break (mama’s need a break from all things periodically), we’re moving on in our four-part series, A Month of Christmas, we visited Italy in the second week! It was by far, much more fun than the Mexican Christmas. Maybe because we had a more open week, or perhaps because Italy just has better traditions, either way, it was a blast. The first thing we did was we collected sticks and small things like rocks and seeds we found outside to make a nativity scene. Italians often have many nativities in their homes during Christmas. This ended up not working out as efficiently as we had hoped, and we ended up ditching the effort to take a better, more seasoned crack at it next year. We did, however, complete the ceppo out of nature items. We read mixed reports on what a ceppo actually was. Some referred to it as a yule log, but others said it was a pyramid-shaped “tree” with shelves that held cute momentos and decorative items. It was said to have started in Tuscany. A small nativity scene can be placed on the bottom shelf, but ours was a little too tall.

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In Italy, children are told stories of La Befana, an old, cranky witch that lives alone and sweeps her home constantly. We’re avid Kindle Unlimited users, but we couldn’t find any books of La Befana, in case you go searching. We did, however, purchase a book on Kindle (instant gratification, and a less than organized mama) and read The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story

It’s a cute story! The old woman ends up seeing a procession of people headed to see the new Christ child and invite her. She spends all day baking goodies to take to the baby and forgets to sweep for the entire day. Noticing she’s leaving a mess behind as she begins to head out the door, she grabs her broom and sweeps from her kitchen all the way to the end of her pathway. Not wanting to waste any more time, she begins to run in the direction of the procession, forgetting about the broom still in her hand. Running as fast as she can, she starts to take flight. Spoiler: she never sees Christ, but delivers goodies to good boys and girls who leave her wine and cookies. Ha! We did just that, (after running next door to borrow a glass of wine from my momma, ’cause this mama is not a wine drinker) and she brought them some peppermint bark. Why? Because momma didn’t have any goodies in the house and MY momma did. The kids thought this was so much fun, and they put so much thought into the cookies they baked as well as where and how to leave the cookies and wine.

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On the “last day” of our week in “Italy” we made a huge, and I mean that pan of lasagna to share with my neighbor (AKA, my mom, stepdad, and siblings.) It was my step-sisters birthday, so we also baked her a cake.

Traditionally, Italians don’t eat lasagna for Christmas, they eat seafood because they’re usually fasting. Hayden was insistent on lasagna. It was the reason he wanted to do Christmas in Italy. He and Ella worked together to assemble the whole thing, I was very proud of them for working together and following the directions I gave closely.

We had fun visiting Italy for the week! We accomplished so much more as far as following traditions than we did in Mexico. Originally, we were going to also cover France, but my side of the family went on a cruise, adding an extra week to our Christmas, and we did an early Christmas at Hermans parents house. Those, coupled with our own Christmas, lead us to cancel our “flight” to France. 😉

Check out the next installment of “A Month of Christmas: Weeks 3 & 4.5” by following the link.