Christmas 2020

Christmas Eve was extra special because we got to visit friends! Real people in real time and in their home!

To be fair, they’re in our COVID-bubble already, so we weren’t doing anything reckless. Anna goes to preschool with their daughter five days a week, so they share all the germs. What the girls bring home WE get, so we are pretty sure we were as safe as we could get!

Anyway, this was the first time our families had done anything together inside and we had a blast. The kids played together and ate cheese pizza and the moms talked for a few hours. So refreshing! So normal feeling.

That evening our family participated in the online Candlelight Service with only one minor melting-wax mishap.

Just outside of post is a neighborhood famous for its Christmas decorations: Dyker Heights. We drove around and enjoyed looking at them but to be completely honest, we kept wondering if we were in the right place. When we think of “Christmas decorations” we think of McAdenville, literally called “Christmas Town, USA.” Or we think of BLORA, in Killeen, Texas. (Do a quick google for Blora Nature in Lights… it’s a fun, 30 minute drive-through light display. Such a fun tradition!)

We got home and watched part of Polar Express and then went to bed. In previous years I could “set up” before I went to bed, but those years are long gone. If I do that, my kids, who stay up later than me, would see all their treats. So I wake up before them… not a hard thing to do with three teens and a 10-year-old who follows their sleeping habits.

Christmas morning traditions:

We read the story in Luke and then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

I always put wrapping paper up for them to burst through. The first thing they do is go though their stockings and then Parker doles out the gifts, which we open one at a time. The older you are, the fewer you tend to have. (Opting for one larger gift or cash itself.)

Thanks to Tracy (for the elf bag idea and German goodies) and Audrey (for the treats from Germany)! Hayden loved his Trader Joe’s Maple Syrup and Oreo flavored popcorn, which he ate while we opened gifts.

This year I videoed most of the morning on my phone and took very few photos, something I’m regretting but it is what it is. I’ll export a few frames from the videos to show some moments, but you can imagine that it was much like most years. Fun opening gifts, seeing what siblings got each other, and few surprises, since our family is not a “gifts” love-language family. Carson may be, as he had a surprise for each of his siblings… fortunately, he was also surprised by a gift he didn’t expect. There’s a funny story there: Amazon delivered something here for a previous tenant and when we called them they said we could keep the item and they’d reissue a new one to the person who actually ordered it.

Matt and I assumed it was a laptop from the brand of the item and figured that since Carson was in need of a new computer for graduation, he could have that one! WIN WIN! (He had other gifts to equal the other kids’ gifts… this was over and above… since he needed it anyway and it was free to us.) Anyway, when he opened it we were all surprised to see that it wasn’t, in fact, a computer, but a gaming screen!

A really nice, expensive, and FUN gaming screen, but still… not a computer!

We laughed so hard! And we had some ‘splainin’ to do.

The day was spent enjoying the gifts we received and then we watched Soul. We enjoyed it but if you want my real thoughts, I agree with this person’s review.

Main gifts:
Matt – desktop amp
Jen – the two white decorations on the piano and silver earrings from Matt, Alexa (my personal assistant who hasn’t figured out how to pick Anna up from school), and the “This is Us” picture from my mom.
Hayden – thermal printer for tattooing.
Carson – a gamer-screen (not a laptop).
Bailey – Exhale – a program for music production.
Parker – LOTS of Legos.
Anna – Toniebox (If you have a little one, these are amazing!!)

Below is a video of our Christmas morning. It was such a joy and we had a blast. I only regret that I didn’t make Bailey move from where he sat, because he was behind me almost the whole time!

It’s almost 11 minutes long so there will be very few of you who will even want to watch, but I want to be able to find the highlights later – and one day my kids will want to easily find them. This journal is for them as much as for me.

COVID didn’t interfere at all with our Christmas, as this is how we typically spend our Christmas. We’ve pretty much always spent our Christmas “just us,” even before we joined the Army.

We are thinking of and praying for those whose Christmases were vastly different and not by their choice.

This post was written on 1-1-2021 and is being backdated to Christmas Day, 2020.

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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