Thursday, December 26, 2019

Another Happy Christmas Morn

 Merry Christmas morning!

Here are a few scenes from how the festivities played out around here.

^ The stockings were indeed hung by the chimney with care, though these are substitute stockings. Last year, I vowed to lay aside our red and green collection of stockings from childhood and embrace a more refined, neutral aesthetic.

However, despite my best efforts to comb the collections of West Elm, Crate & Barrel, and other upscale purveyors of Christmas stockings, I came up with zero options. So, on a last-minute Christmas Eve romp through Target - which was surprisingly drama free - I grabbed a set of eight sequinned stockings to get us through the year. 

Yes, eight. Six Streicher humans - all of whom were home for Christmas this year - one for Gracie and one for the cats to share. I mean, they're brothers after all. They are used to sharing. 

^ Gracie took it upon herself to inspect the stockings almost constantly, a task which I'm sure had nothing to do with the bowls of candy on the mantle, or the pup treats in her stash.

 And if you count carefully, you will notice that there are actually nine stockings under Gracie's purview: eight, as previously mentioned belonging to the Streichers, and one more - white with a gold cuff, for our holiday guest. A Vietnamese  friend of my third born is staying with us this week, and it's been delightful to share a typical American Christmas with her. Yay for company!

 ^ For the first time ever this year, I embraced the concept of a second Christmas tree, and an artificial one at that. I never knew that twenty bucks for an IKEA mini tree would make me so happy, but that's now a proven fact. This little tannenbaum stands in my family room, where I can see it from my usually cooking posts of duty, and I love the festivity it brings to my daily routines.

^ Family room mantle. My two younger daughters had a vision for greenery; I contributed our first nativity scene, candlesticks with lopsided candles - hey, that's life - and a strand of pom-poms from
the dollar section at Target. Feel pretty good about that five dollars too.

 ^ Okay, breakfast is ready. This year, in lieu of our usual yeasty cinamon rolls, my second-born asked that we try a gluten free version to help her manage her celiac disease.

Well, here's the verdict: gluten free cinnamon rolls are a really nice idea that does not play out in reality. She said, and I quote, "I'd rather eat real cinnamon rolls and deal with the stomach ache than settle for these." Good to know.

^ Now, on to the present-opening portion of our day. We enjoy quite an easy-going, orchestrated routine these days, with orderly decisions about which category of gift of open in what order. Here's our general approach:

Stockings first.
Then gifts between sisters
Gifts from parents to sisters.
Gifts from sisters to parents.
And finally, gifts between parents.

I received a lot of nice gifts. My daughters know me well and don't need any suggestions from me to pick out dreamy gifts: handcrafted soaps, artisan shampoo, artwork, handmade vases, a cookbook and a long-coveted 2020 Stendig calendar.

From my husband, I got exactly the gift I asked for: a new pain of L.L.Bean boots. For walking my dog in the rain. Mhmm. Can't wait to use them.

^ My daughters go all out on gift wrapping. Sometimes it's a struggle to rip open the presents, but eventually I find a way. 

By the way, I am a ripper. Everyone else in the family carefully opens the gift wrap but I take great glee in grabbing hold of an edge and letting fly. 

 ^ Over the course of the morning, she stole my seat half a dozen times but I forgive her. Look at those eyes. How could I not?

^ After our present-opening marathon, our energy reserves worn precariously thin, we were ready once again to eat. The Christmas Day lunch menu repeated our quick and easy post-worship Christmas Eve dinner: charcuterie with meatballs in the classic American style of chili sauce and grape jelly and washed down with plenty of sparkling apple cider. 

And so, satisfied of heart, mind, and body, we Streichers wrapped up another happy Christmas morn

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Our 2019 Christmas adventures:

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