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As of yesterday, the season of Christmas is officially over until December of this year.  I miss it.  I love Christmas.  I love buying and making presents, big get togethers, and baking, of course.  So much baking.

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Last year, I spent Christmas in Northern Ireland with a good friend and her family.  It was the first time I’d ever been anywhere but at home for Christmas, so that was a bit strange.

This year, I looked forward immensely to seeing my whole family and doing the usual Christmas things that I missed last year.  All six of the siblings in my family (plus a new in-law!) came over before Christmas for a Christmas Eve’s Eve celebration.

DSC_0251 We did the stockings then, which was different since we normally do them Christmas evening.  However, we still did the usual squish-on-the-couch routine that we’ve done ever since the littlest of us was a wee one.  Mom was worried we’d break the couch.DSC_0312 DSC_0317While we couldn’t all be together on Christmas day, we managed a very good Christmas Eve’s Eve, if I do say so myself.DSC_0330

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Christmas morning felt a little more normal.  The older siblings had to be dragged a bit to coerce them downstairs.  Pancakes awaited us, so it was worth it.  And then, the presents were exchanged.  Nathan always wears his elf hat which I made him years ago.  He distributes one gift at a time so we can enjoy the process and each person can see his or her present opened by its recipient.  I like doing things this way a lot.DSC_0313 DSC_0343

I made a few new hats for Christmas this year, being slightly shallow in the pocket from my recent travels abroad.

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DSC_0368DSC_0360DSC_0365Nathan is probably the most fun to give gifts to because his reactions are so gratifying.  I’ve never seen a child get so excited over a gigantic history book before.  A day-by-day account of World War II is actually something this little guy likes!  That and an air soft gun, of course.DSC_0340 Matt figured out that a monster hat would actually suit this child well, though I’m not sure Stonewall Jackson approves…DSC_0380

Emily’s ukelele was a hit. DSC_0358As for me, I got mini pie pans, loads of decorating and baking supplies, an ice cream maker, and a snuggly bathrobe and blanket which promptly put me to sleep for a good part of the morning.DSC_0370

As of late, our family has begun to spend a lot more time out at the new family farm.  There was snow there that actually stuck, so it was pleasantly pretty.  I can endure cold so long as there is also snow.  And I don’t have to drive in it.DSC_0003

A beautiful evening walk in the snow offered lovely views of the house.  I love the illusion of being in a winter wonderland, isolated from the rest of the world.  DSC_0015 DSC_0026 DSC_0021 DSC_0020 DSC_0017The cows added a nice touch to the landscape for my photographic needs.  DSC_0039 DSC_0041The next day, we tried to make friends with the cows, but they would have none of us, no matter how much we attempted to assimilate into the herd.  DSC_0048 DSC_0051

We also went sledding.  My brother Timothy promptly smashed his chin into a water pump, but we found a better hill with no water pumps to halt the fun so abruptly. (Timothy is doing fine)

Slightly melted and frozen over snow made for a slick, glorious ride down the long, steep hill.  Sledding is good exercise, too, what with all the hiking back up the hill to go just one more time.  I anticipate many more winters sledding down that hill.  Hopefully without any water pump or similarly concluded incidents.DSC_0092

I will never claim to love winter in and of itself – I’m too cold-blooded! – but I appreciate that the cold darkness of winter is illuminated by Christmas lights and sledding adventures.  I might even admit that it’s worth the icy weather.

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