Our First Christmas

462337_10151379552278582_1081781863_oChristmas lasted a week and a half this year. We had at least 7 family Christmases … and various work and church Christmas functions — we really celebrated the whole month! Our holiday celebrations made the movie Four Christmases look easy; at least their chaos only lasted 1 day!

To kick off the month, we attended a dinner hosted by the church elders for church staff. The food was great and we enjoyed chatting with others who serve at our church.

Shortly after that gathering, the church staff had a potluck dinner. Again, excellent food, wonderful hosts, and this time we had a white elephant gift exchange. Somehow we managed to come home with better gifts than we brought with us, so I’d consider that a success!

About a week later, Jonathan led the choir in “Adoration.” We’d worked on this choir performance throughout the fall season and we presented it to the church a week before Christmas. Everyone sounded great, the kids choir was a hit, and we were both relived to have a little break!

My office shut down the week of Christmas through New Years day, so we had a party our final Friday of work. That same night was Christmas with Jonathan’s grandparents (Dad’s side), so we trekked out to their house in the snow for our first Christmas celebration.

12561_4507670503361_1872063729_nThe next day, was his mom’s side extended family Christmas. Everyone brought food to share — and since the family is so big, everyone only brings a gift for one person. We drew names at Thanksgiving, and opened gifts in age order. After that, the afternoon slowed down a bit. The little ones took naps, the grown-ups played cards (or napped), and the young adults watched a movie! Later that evening, the family was signed up to carol at the fairgrounds for any cars that went to see the lights display. Not many cars drove past (some didn’t even slow down) but we had fun anyway!

Christmas Eve was my first day off work — and I spent my morning shopping for last minute gifts! Darn my procrastination! The stores were crazy, the power went out in the mall for about 10 seconds and I have never heard a shopping center so silent. Thankfully it didn’t affect paying for things … except that it slowed down the computers at Bath and Body Works a tad. I finally finished up, and hurried home to start wrapping gifts. Jonathan only worked until mid-afternoon so he could have a short break before Christmas Eve service, so we wrapped our gifts for each other — behind closed doors in two separate rooms! Of course I was finished first (I’m a speedy wrapper), but it gave me a chance to clean off the shopping grunginess and get pretty for church that evening. our christmasChristmas Eve service was short and sweet, and afterward Jonathan and I came home and did “our” Christmas. We made omelettes, exchanged gifts, and watched Elf while we packed for our trip to Ohio.

6:30AM the next morning — we were on the road to Ohio! My mom’s side extended family still celebrates with the whole group (plus some) on Christmas day, so we tried to get there early so we could spend time with my family before things got too crazy. Marriage apparently means a promotion to the adult table, so that was an adjustment for me. Although, I will say, the conversation is a little more interesting. We played lots of games that evening, Jonathan won at all of them — I don’t think he’ll be invited back 😉

The next day, we went wedding dress shopping for Courtney in a blizzard — then headed to my grandma’s house (dad’s side) where we were surprised to discover both of my uncles and their families in attendance. It is rare that everyone is together, so we stayed longer than anticipated, but still decided to brave the roads home to Michigan. The usually 2.5 hour trip, took almost 4.5 hours — but we made it.

330701_10151379562828582_402579354_oWe spent a whole day celebrating Christmas with just my family. Exchanged gifts, ate a delicious meal, and actually went sledding. As much as it snows in the Midwest, we don’t typically have a white Christmas — and even if it is white it’s the kind that melts really fast. So somehow, Jess convinced even my parents that sledding was a good idea!

Skip a few days and we headed to my mother-in-law’s house to spend a few days with the Smith crew. We played lots of games, opened lots of presents, and had to duck for fear of being hit by a remote control helicopter. Yes. That’s right. The boys (Jonathan, Austin, and Chad) all received them as gifts. Malachi (4) hit his hand trying to fly one and spent the rest of the time wearing his bike helmet and hiding on the stairs. He pleaded “don’t fly the helicopters” and even tried to tell them “you can’t fly them in the house” … but that didn’t convince anyone. Silas (2) thought they were oodles of fun and followed his uncles and dad around asking “try?”

We celebrated Christmas ten times this year! Can you top that?


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