Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Christmas in Canada

Is there any moment in the entire year more special than Christmas Eve? The carols and the candlelight; the excitement and anticipation; the joy and the peace. Nothing will ever match the magic of that night for me. We kept ours simple: A Christmas Eve service with friends and family, a few "night before Christmas" gifts for the boys, some hors d'ourves and an ill fated attempt at A Christmas Carol.
We slept in Christmas morning (I guess we're lucky to have boys who are not yet hip to the notion of waking up early on Christmas morning!) and then started in on the avalanche of gifts that had landed themselves under the tree. We're lucky (on both sides of the family) that everyone has a similar mindset about Christmas. No one spends a ton. No one buys a ton. Everyone chooses thoughtful (often homemade) gifts that are perfect for the recipient. But even when the majority of things are homemade and from the heart, even when the budget is kept low and everyone is careful not to go "overboard", there are still a LOT of presents to go around!

We brought the boys up and let hem start with their gift from Santa. Iain got right down to business playing with his new trains, and Liam loved his IKEA crane too.

Next we all opened our stockings, figuring that this would be the best plan for keeping the boys occupied. Highlights for Liam included some delicious snacks, a new pacifier to match his favorite green standby, letters spelling his name, a delicious sippy cup, and a toothbrush of his own.

For Iain, although he was excited about the Ovaltine, the underwear, the toothbrush, the new cups, and especially the slippers he'd been talking about since October and requesting from every Santa we visited, nothing could really compare with his new James train.

After the stockings, which also included all the "husbands to wives" and "wives to husbands", there was still a plethora of gifts to give.
Gifts from Mom and Dad to "the kids":

Gifts from "the kids" to the parents.

Gifts to and from Brett and Breha.

Gifts from Grammie and Grampy and Unky Brett and Auntie Beyoo to the boys. And gifts for them both from the boys!

...and a gifts for the Patterson cousins we hope to meet soon!

A gift for Daddy from the boys...

...and for Mommy too!

Gifts from brother to brother.

And gifts from Neil and I to the boys as well. (Seriously, check out the Baby's face! All gifted out!)

There were also gifts to Pattersons from Pitmans, gifts to Pattersons from DeLoaches, and gifts from great-aunts and uncles for the boys. We took a break in the middle somewhere for a delicious Christmas brunch of egg casserole and coffee cake, and then got right back into the presents. It really did feel slightly ridiculous, especially since we all thought we were showing restraint in the gifts we chose! We ended the gjfting extravaganza with the piece de resistance, for Iain at least. His own pair of skates, from Grammie and Grampy! You've never seen such a happy boy!

We ended with hugs and thanks all around, and everyone agreed it had been a great morning.

We had only just finished tiding up the paper and boxes when visitors arrived at the door bearing gifts (of course!) and coming to claim the remainder of packages under our tree. Sadly, my camera battery had died, so I have NO photos of the amazing gifts Deborah and her Mom and sister brought for us and the boys. They will be making an appearance soon (in a post titled "My sisters and friends are so talented it makes me dizzy! But I'm glad to be the recipient of their talent!" or something thereabouts.) Liam pooped out soon after, but I was glad he at least got to see the fabulous "Cirque de Liam" made for him!

Then, it was onto Christmas dinner. Brett and Neil fried the turkey, while the rest of us took care of the inside work. Contrary to how it may appear in the photos, fried turkey is not as redneck as it sounds (looks?) and is actually very delicious: Crispy, tender, moist and not greasy at all!

And...in case they weren't looking hick enough...they thought that the camouflaged hunter orange beer cans might do the job if the boots and other getup didn't.

Dad carved the turkey, in his new apron!

We feasted.

And just like *that*. Christmas was over for another year.

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