Seems strange writing about Christmas when Christmas was over 2 weeks ago. But better late than never, right?
I had Christmas Eve off from work, which was nice. A little after noon, I went around the neighborhood and delivered Christmas candy and cards to our friends. I thought that the boys might want to come with me, but they didn't. It didn't take too long and pretty much everyone was home. It was nice to be able to talk for a bit and find out what everyone's plans were. I was even able to see some friends that we hadn't seen for probably over a year.
I had to get back quickly though because Christmas Eve service started at 4pm. LilKat1 decided that he wanted to sit in the main service with us, rather than go to his class. We got a good seat right in the front, so that when the pastor or worship leader would tell everyone to stand, he'd still be able to see. I also got him some paper and markers so that he'd have something to entertain himself with in case it started to get boring.
The service was quite nice. We sang a lot of great Christmas songs, and saw a couple of drama skits. One of the skits was funny because it was about 2 ladies who were arguing with each other, and LilKat1 didn't know that they were just pretending. He thought they were really mad at each other. The pastor gave a very theologically Reformed gospel message, which I appreciated.
For dinner, Mrs. BigKat made a pot of chili. We had decided that we were going to make our Christmas and Christmas Eve meals as easy as possible. In the past, we've tried making some fancier food, which tasted good, but took away from some of our family time during the day. The pot of chili worked out well because it was easy to make ahead of time and we could have the leftovers for Christmas lunch.
That evening, we opened some more presents in keeping with 'The Plan'. And the boys, even though they were excited about Christmas, were able to go to sleep quite easily. The Plan worked!
Christmas day started out a bit strange, mainly due to the whole cinnamon roll business. Mrs. BigKat slept in for a while while the rest of us had breakfast and watched Christmas shows on TV. After everyone was awake, LilKat1 brought out the Bible and we read the story of Jesus' birth. As I said in a previous post, it was a really nice change from last year, when he got mad that we were reading the story because he wanted to open up our gifts.
At that point, stockings were dumped out, presents were unwrapped, and cinnamon rolls were baked and eaten. And then, a little while later, we noticed that it was snowing. A white Christmas! Enough snow came down that the boys were able to go outside, make snow castles, and pelt our house with snowballs. While the boys were outside, Mrs. BigKat and I opened our presents to each other. I got her an espresso machine and some other coffee related items. She got me some great board games, some Lego sets that I could build with the boys, and a set of Heely's (my new Sunday School teacher shoes).
That evening, my mom came over and we had a nice dinner. Nothing too fancy, just a ham and some sides. But it was all very good. And we also had a nice birthday cake for Jesus.
In the end, I think we accomplished our goals for this Christmas. Lately, I've been seeing Christmas as a big struggle against materialism. Our goal is to have a day that celebrates the birth of our Lord, but the focus just tends to shift towards presents and busywork. This year, I think we did pretty well. It took some planning on our part, as well as a willingness to break from tradition. We also made a conscious effort to simplify our meal plans and maximize our family time. I don't know how well this would work in other households, but it sure worked well for ours.