Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Cross Family Christmas 2007

I wanted to post pictures, but alas, that will have to wait for another time. This post isn't really for you, anyway, it's for me and my senile brain ... I want to remember this sweet Christmas.

Christmas Eve I baked shortbread cookies and I think I may have discovered a very close version of that shortbread my Gran made that I gobbled up as a girl. It was very good, but next time I need to make it in two pans rather than one so the squares aren't so thick (though my Gran made it thick like that, I'd prefer it thin), also, I need to find some course sugar to sprinkle on top; I'd prefer the cookies to be a bit more sweet, but a little sprinkle on top would be just enough, I think.

We have our fancy dinner on Christmas Eve, even though as children we always had it on Christmas - it's felt right for us, though. I baked a ham, with whole cloves pricked through the skin all over and with pineapple slices laid all over it. I bake it in a clay pot and it comes out oh-so-moist and fragrant and yummy. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, baby carrots with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on them and peas. I laid the table with my plaid table cloth which my sister gave me for my first married Christmas. Candles and wine glasses for some sparkling apple cider. I have Christmas dishes illustrated by Susan Winget of the Christmas story. It was a pretty table.

Charlie came up from the basement where he'd been helping to tidy up and saw the table. He said "This is so beautiful! Why is the table like this?" "Because I want you to feel special and loved," I replied. "Thank you Mom," he said as he came and gave me a hug. At that moment, it was all worth it.

We enjoyed our dinner and some toasts to wish Jesus a happy birthday and Merry Christmas to all of us and then we had hot apple pie a la mode. Yum!

We opened our gifts from family far away and the boys were totally jazzed by a very cool Star Wars Vault book and Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys.

We'd read the Christmas story earlier in the week we had read the Christmas Story in the Bible at the boys' request. So on Christmas Eve we read the account of Christs' birth in the Book of Mormon. 1 Nephi 1 chapters (I think) 15 or so to 26 or so. It's a simple account without much detail, but the Spirit was strong and we were all touched by it. We sang Silent Night and then had our prayers.

After prayers we checked the Norad Santa tracker, the boys sprinkled out reindeer food for the boys, we set out pie and cookies for Santa and the boys went to bed. Early, by the way. No late nights for my guys!

For the past five years or so we've enjoyed having David's parents, Joe & Laura, join us for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Several times David's two unmarried sisters, Maureen and Mariann have also joined us. This year though, because of Laura's illness they had to stay home. The boys missed them, but found something to be grateful for; they didn't have to wait to get up in the morning! Thank goodness they still didn't come and get us till about 7:00.

We go down to our main floor where we see that the Baby Jesus is in his bed made soft by the months' worth of good deeds and kindesses and we sing "O Come All Faithful". I got choked up feeling the feelings. We open stockings, I make hot chocolate to put on a tray to go down and then we head down to our basement where our big tree is and where our main gifts are. We never do too many gifts, just a couple each. This year though we did do a 'high tech' Christmas - Santa brought us a Wii. When the boys realized, Xan was way excited and Charlie did a fake faint! It was funny.

Xander was our elf this year ... he hands out a gift to each person, and then we unwrap it. Then he gets gifts for everyone again. Just one at a time, that way we can see what we all got. On about the second gift, Charlie saw Xan was about to open the gift he'd picked out and bought for him - an electronic toy guitar. Rather than being engrossed in his own present, Charlie couldn't help but watch for that magic moment when Xan realized what he got. His own present forgotten, half unwrapped, he watched just as excited as Xan. When Xan saw what it was he jumped up. Charlie joined him and Xan gave him a big hug and said thank you. It was heartwarming to see the generosity and the love they DO have for each other despite the day-to-day friction of brotherhood.

The boys also happily left their own unwrapping to join me on the couch to watch me open the small gift they had picked out for me - a silver necklace with a CZ heart. They were so pleased to see I liked it, so anxious for me to know how much they love me and wanted to spoil me and give me something pretty.

I did get spoiled today. I got lots of wonderful things but best of all ... I got an Alpha Smart Dana! I can't wait to report how much it helps my writing goals!

I baked gingerbread men in the afternoon with another new recipe and it was awesome! They came out more like ginger snaps but David and I both prefer them that way. They were way yummy.

Afterward, we went to Gramma and Grampa's house. We couldn't really visit them because David and the boys are still sick (David is going on eight weeks with bronchitis and is actually seeming a bit worse - time to go back to the doc). But we took our gifts, a plate of cookies and the love in our hearts. We sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to them then stepped inside to say hi. Gramma requested a song from the boys and they sang one of their songs from their school holiday program. We couldn't hug or kiss, or do more than stand in the hall for a few minutes, but it was worth the long drive just to show them we love them.

We came home to split pea soup in the crockpot and homemade artisan bread and just a general feeling of happiness and contentment.

I have a wonderful little family here. I love them with all my heart. This has been a joyous Christmas with lots of the good stuff ... enough to fill my heart and sustain me for a long time to come.

Merry Christmas to All of You!

(I'll post pictures when I find my usb cable!)