Christmas fell on a Monday this year, which meant the girls did not start Winter Break until December 22. It felt like they were never going to get out of school. The last few days were a slog as they dragged themselves to school.
December 23 we spent baking and delivering cookies. Actually, Daddy did most of the baking since he's home now. We packed up the cookies and the girls took Holly around the neighborhood, while walking their dog. When they returned, we got into the car and started dropping cookies at their friend's houses. It didn't take long before the girls were bouncing back to the car talking about how surprised their friend were to receive cookies.
We've really been trying to show them that it doesn't take money or fancy presents to make someone's day. The simple act of delivering Christmas cookies made them and their friends so happy.
Christmas Eve we hosted coffee hour at church. It was a departure from our usual Christmas Eve tradition. This year December 24 was both the fourth week of Advent and Christmas Eve. As our pastor said, "It's Advent until Noon, when it becomes Christmas Eve for me." She would deliver sermons for both in one day. We came home to watch Christmas specials and eat cookies. We continued our traditional pizza on china dinner before opening a few presents.
Christmas morning the girls woke up early. We kept thinking we'd have to wake them since they are teenagers now, but they surprised us. We ate breakfast and went back to church. Typically we don't attend Christmas morning services. A former rector once said that Christmas Day services were among the best kept secrets in the US church.
This year our rector asked the girls to acolyte on Christmas morning. An area military family made a special request to have their baby baptized on Christmas. They were going to be in town for a few days to celebrate Christmas. Since the family was going to be al together, they wanted to baptize their baby.
We were immediately happy to help. I won't say the girls were thrilled to be acolytes Christmas morning. They don't really like to change our holiday traditions. They were happy to help the family celebrate their new addition, but would have been a bit happier if it had not been Christmas morning.
When we arrived at church, the family was already there. They had an adorable toddler in a frilly Christmas dress. I told the girls, "You used to wear cute Christmas dresses like that." Both girls smiled and rolled their eyes. It was the perfect teenage reaction.
Later we went to Uncle Steve's for the Cartwright family Christmas. We laughed a lot, watched too much TV, ate too much food and opened too many presents. I made Aunt Reenie a quilt using some of her late father's shirts. She cried when she realized which squares were her father's shirts. I cried because, well, I'm a crier.
By Christmas evening we were home, resting and telling stories about our long Christmas weekend. We created so many fun memories and had so many fun stories. It was a busy, often crazy, three days that extended some family traditions and created some new ones that we'll carry on to next year.