We had a really wonderful Christmas this year even though for the second year in a row it was NOT a white Christmas! I thought for sure that we would have white Christmases living in Germany plus we've had so much snow the past month that it was going to be a surety! And it wasn't. Maybe next year.
This year a few weeks before Christmas I was cleaning and organizing my sewing space and discovered some cross-stitch ornaments that were my moms. She brought them with her last summer when she visited because she didn't want them on the tree anymore but still wanted to keep them in some way. So this is what I came up with: an ornaments wall hanging with the cross-stitch pieces in the center. She opened it Christmas Eve and Jeff said she nearly cried. That's the reaction I like!!!
The kids had the whole week before Christmas off from school and so I saved a few activities for this last week to enjoy. First on everyone's list was the gingerbread house! Abby and William were pretty good helpers in making the gingerbread. And trying to eat it too.
This was the end of day 1 of house making. I ran out of dough for the roof since I made four of them and wasn't about to make another huge batch. Next year we'll have to do a batch and a half. Using graham crackers saved the day but that's definitely a thatched roof. We left them like this overnight to make sure they stayed together.
And they survived!! So the next day was decorating!
And I didn't take a picture of the finished products. I would now except that they've been nibbled on already . . .
Chopper took a few days off from work and spent a lot of time like this! William is a great cuddler.
And then just like that it was Christmas Eve! The kids have wanted to just stay home and play all the time so no more Christmas markets and there aren't really Christmas lights here like there are in the states. But that just means that when we start traveling again the kids can't complain about it too much! I insisted on Christmas pictures in front of the tree and they complied sort've.
We had tacos as usual and a candlelit dinner and then gave the kids zonked out (ok we gave them Melatonin to help that process).
Christmas morning was great. We started the tradition early on of taking turns opening presents and I like that so much better than the free for all (sorry mom and dad). It also gives us to time to make sure they know which ones are from family. This year we gave the kids each a few dollars to make purchases at the school holiday store. It was just small, inexpensive items but they were each really really good about thinking about each other and then keeping their gifts hidden until they got home from school and we could wrap them and get them under the tree. They honestly did really well for each other and Megan particularly was excited about the items she had gotten for Abby and William. Then on Christmas morning when the kids opened those gifts they all, unprompted, expressed excitement and gratitude to each other for them! It was a wonderful, loving moment and my favorite gift this year.
The other gifts that were a success were a marble run and doll things for Abby and Megan's 18-inch dolls. And William of course go cool legos that he wanted put together immediately. Not a single child expressed disappointment over Christmas -- Abby did remark on not getting a rainbow cotton candy machine BUT not in a negative way.
This girl loved the makeup kit from Grandma Gasser and is already practicing. Poor girl, I can't help her because I can't do it myself!
Megan has really gotten into dolls - a few years later than I thought she would. She loves them because everything is so tiny. I might just be enjoying it all a little too much myself!!!
The marble run has been fun for everyone!!
It's hard to believe that this year is over. It's gone by so fast. We've done a lot this year but I think are also just settling into life in general. We're ok with not going somewhere every single weekend but we've got some great trips and fun visitors planned for this upcoming year. We are happy and healthy progressing each in our own way and together as a family and it's a lot to be grateful for.