I hope everyone had a very merry end of the week. While our Christmas plans encountered a few snafus, we still had a really lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My mom had been planning to come down and spend most of the week with us, but her back decided to go out on her the Saturday before Christmas. Oy. Multiple trips to the chiropractor didn't seem to help much and the decision was finally made to put her on muscle relaxers to help the back spasms. This basically meant she was at home for the rest of the week as even without the pills that made her sleepy, driving wasn't really an option. :( My brother and I decided to skip our plans to get together for Christmas Eve since my mom wouldn't be there to join us and his work schedule made it easier to just meet up on Christmas for dinner.
This left Jim and I at home, with a very mellow Christmas Eve day and night - something that both of us really enjoyed. We drove around to look at lights as soon as it got dark and then headed home to make our normal Friday night dinner of steak and potatoes. Add a bottle of red wine and we were ready to tuck in for a quiet night at home.
After dinner we opened our gifts to each other - something that we always do just the two of us. I got some awesome kitchen goodies inspired by Thomas Keller, some CDs (Glee Vol. 2 baby!!) and a beautiful necklace that was a total surprise. He did good! Jim got some new sports binoculars, assorted tee shirts (his favorite being the Three Sheets Drunken Monkey shirt) and new golf stuff. Needless to say, we both felt very spoiled. The next morning had us up early to head out to my in-laws house for breakfast and to celebrate Christmas with them. This is a tradition we've had going for several years now and I love it. It's loud and chaotic, but it feels like something out of a movie. The food was awesome, as always, and the company was even better. After breakfast, it was time to open (more) presents. I got some cute clothes (including a really adorable retro print lady coat), a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble and some more fun kitchen stuff. Jim made out with more golf stuff and some assorted clothing. Hilarity ensued with he opened two sweaters back to back and they were practically identical. His mom had completely forgotten what she had bought earlier in the month and accidently bought a twin to the original sweater. Too funny. A flurry of other gifts were exchanged and everyone was very happy by the time the tree was bare. It was then a mad dash to shower and get ready to head down to Orange County for Christmas Dinner with the big 'ol extended family - approximately 40 people this year, kinda on the small side actually. :)
Dinner was a loud and chaotic and full of food and booze. Basically, a great night. I was really happy that my brother was able to make it down to dinner - it was nice to spend Christmas with him and catch up a bit on what he's been up to recently. I also got to finally meet Patty, Jim's uncle's Glen of Imaal terrier. OMG! She is just too freaking cute! Such a sweet little pup. Instead of exchanging gifts with everyone, the family does a men's and a women's grab-bag. Folks put in a gift around $25 and then we use similar rules to a White Elephant exchange to determine how the gifts are passed out. The women's side is always very tame and gifts are typically clothing giftcards, scarfs, CDs, etc. The men's side, however, is just crazy! Almost every gift includes booze of some sort and each family trys to work together to hoard the good stuff. It's hard to explain, but absolutely hilarious to watch. This year Jim put in a Snuggie with a bottle of Maker's Mark in the bottom of the box. My brother ultimately got it and was very pleased with his win as you can see. :)
At the end of the evening, we took Jim's youngest brother back with us to my in-laws house and had a traffic-free ride back, filled with lots of chit chat. The next day found Jim and I at Disneyland. It was crowded, but we've definitely been there on far crazier days. We missed our annual holiday trip to the park last year, so it was nice to squeeze a trip in this year.
As you can probably tell, we really had a great Christmas this year aside from my mom not being able to join us for the festivities. I'm very lucky to be have married into such a warm family and that I've been able to meld my family with my husband's big old extended one. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well and that it was filled with food, family and love.