This year they came from near and not so far – you may have noticed the ground tilting a bit now that all our kids are residing on the West Coast. Certainly made it easier to be together for Christmas, although we missed the family members who couldn’t be with us. Hope Granny, Gail, Mark and Jean and this crew will be with us next year:
Those who made the trek arrived laden with gifts and various levels of trepidation. Low expectations all around given that we are on a lockdown that meant no dining out, no going to church and no getting away from one another for um, about a solid week…
And, oh, did I mention that everyone brought their pets?
It was a little like a holiday Noah’s Ark, totaling up to nine humans, four cats, two dogs and a cheeky little conure. But only The Countess gets to roam the kitchen table:
She helped Taylor tune his guitar when he arrived:
First things first and that means the traditional holiday spaghetti dinner:
And then the first of many family game nights. Daniel’s high school friend, Christian, who, lucky for us, was stranded in SB for Christmas, stayed with us and excelled as game show host every evening:
And Lily and Moo took us on a flashlight walk each night:
Every day was sunny and beautiful and every night was perfect.
There was even a visit from Claire and John Henry, who brought Oliver’s Santa suit as a bequest to Lily:
Since we couldn’t go to church on Christmas Eve, we had our own brief service outside. Isaiah 9:6, Luke 2:1-20, Joy to the World and then we all held candles and sang Silent Night before the CE said grace before dinner. My favorite moment of Christmas.
On Christmas morning, we discovered that even COVID couldn’t keep Santa away:
Memorable gift: the alpaca that Daniel gave Taylor:
And we will always remember James’ Christmas sweater!
Of course the most memorable holiday moment of all is always the annual unveiling, for better or worse, of the three-layer jello salad. Angie and Daniel continue to rule as the official jello team:
As you can see, we specialize in drama.
This year it was just a little rough around the edges (aren’t we all…) but tasted as great as ever.
And just like that, Christmas started winding down. Daniel is off to a Mexican vacation this morning so he packed up his cats and he and Christian headed to LA.
We still have a crowd, and plenty of leftover turkey, but Christmas 2020 is already almost in the rear view mirror. And everyone said – amazingly – that it was one of the best Christmases ever. How, I do not know. Maybe it was a Christmas miracle. Maybe it is simply that God’s light at Christmas shines through all the world’s darkness. As it always has and always will.