Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Whew! It's been a whirlwind two days!!!
After only beginning to recover from 3 days of insanely over-excited children, Eric and I began our Christmas Eve celebrations early yesterday. We went out to lunch with my family to a casual Italian place a couple of towns over. I got a delicious piece of baked scrod...

It was fun to try a new place. Over the years my family has had a lot of different Christmas Eve traditions. We used to go out to dinner with my grandfather when I was really little in Boston, and then head over to my great-grandmother's house. Those are my favorite Christmas Eve memories :) But sadly, both of them passed away when I was a lot younger, and since then we have tried a lot of different traditions. I think we may settle on the lunch tradition, and Eric and I may have both of our families over for Christmas Eve next year...maybe.

Since I started dating Eric we have spent Christmas Eve (the actual "eve" part) at his house where basically everyone in his family comes over for a big party (the one we are considering taking over...I say this now a year in advance). Christmas Eve at Eric's is a lot of fun and this year it was even better because my parents and my brother joined us. Here is Eric's fam...

Apparently Mike did not receive the memo to wear red.

We tried to get lots of pictures of Eric's and his two grandmothers, since we made picture presents for them this year and discovered pictures of Eric and them were hard to find...

With these beautiful pictures, we will be much more successful next year haha.

Getting a picture of Eric and I last night was a huge challenge, so you'll have to settle for this picture of us with Eric's cousin being a weirdo in the background :)

Usually Eric and I join my family for midnight mass, but this year I was just so exhausted I didn't think I could handle it. I have been having trouble sleeping all week and I think my body just needs a couple of days of straight rest to get back on track.

This morning I headed over to my parents house for a big present opening session. A few years ago we decided to ditch our old present opening process, which consisted of the three of us running downstairs, ripping open every present possible in 3 seconds and then disappearing to play with our new toys. Now each person opens one present at a time and we go in a circle so each person opens one present before anyone opens two. It's a lot more "adult" but I like it because it spreads out the fun of Christmas.

This year we started with stockings...

I love stockings and this year I got two because Eric and I filled stockings for each other yesterday :)

I got some really good presents including a ridiculous pink bag...

Eric also got me the black Vera Bradley bag I wanted so I am in hand bag heaven right now!!!

My sister got me my new bike helmet...

Well actually, she was smart enough to know it's not a good plan to buy someone a bike helmet so she printed one out and attached a gift card. Yippee.

We stopped mid present opening for a session of Barney Butter testing...

My mom and sister wanted to try it, but before I knew it everyone was trying some Barney butter. Speaking of which, wanna win some?

I think everyone decided they really liked it so it was a successful test run.

A few hours later we sat down for Christmas "dinner" (lunch). The best part is definitely the honey baked ham...but a close second was the serious mound of mashed potatoes...

Don't mind my insanely tiny portion of peas. Peas hurt my tummy in large portions :)

After dinner we headed over to my grandmothers house. My dad is one of 8 so it's a very loud (but very fun) place. We attempted to get a picture of all the girl grandchildren...

If anyone is making a weird face it's because those stairs are not meant to be holding so many people and we were all in very uncomfortable positions.

Then we did the Yankee Swap.

I should just take this time right now to announce my total dislike for the Yankee Swap. I promise this has nothing to do with the word "Yankee" being in the name...
No seriously. We did a Yankee Swap with Eric's friends a few weeks ago and NO ONE TRADED a single thing, because no one wanted to offend someone's present. And really, I don't blame them. It is rude to say you don't like something when someone buys it for you, but by making trading part of the game you are basically doing that. There is always one or two presents that everyone wants and then everyone else ends up with something that they don't want. Stupid. I am a much larger fan of the "Secret Santa" technique where everyone knows who they are buying a present for so they can spend some time genuinely thinking about what that particular person may actually want.

Today's Yankee Swap did not increase my enjoyment of swaps. I got an awesome Red Sox blanket and my cousin stole it from me. I told her she was going to be out of my wedding if she did, but she clearly did not understand that. Haha, just kidding. The funny thing is, she felt terrible about taking it from me. How is that fun when everyone feels terrible? She feels terrible for taking it, I feel terrible that she feels terrible but I want the blanket! Anyway, my aunt said she will make me one for my wedding so it's not gone forever, but like I said:

Yankee Swaps = Terrible.

Eric and I met back at the house around 5 and I was ready to totally pass out at this point. However, we are heading to the Cape tomorrow so we got productive and organized presents, put away ornaments and took down our tree. It was so sad to be taking down our tree so early but we knew it would be dead by the time we got back and we didn't want ornaments to start falling off. Plus it's kind of nice to come home to a relatively clean house.

I am so ready for a full week of relaxation. My body is seriously starting to wonder what exactly I am trying to do to it. When I was younger Christmas was definitely my favorite holiday. But since becoming a teacher I am almost always exhausted by the time Christmas comes around. I think I might make my new favorite holiday the 4th of July...haha. I still love Christmas though.

How was everyone's Christmas? If you don't celebrate Christmas, did you do anything fun today? I think if I did not celebrate Christmas I might go skiing instead...just sayin' :)


  1. Yikes! I wish I had read this post BEFORE I planned a Yankee swap with the teenagers at my sister's house. It was pretty sad...they were even too polite to steal what they really wanted...guess we'll have to go back to the Secret Santa thing next year!
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Yankee swap. It sounds so good in theory.. but never works out.
    I'm so excited to be down the cape. I may just have to like come now.

  3. Looks like you're having a great holiday! Merry Christmas!

  4. i think we call that "rob your neighbor" here. last time i played it there was a set dollar limit and a specified theme, and most of the gifts were pretty similar and so equally coveted :) that made it alot nicer. i agree, i would hate to be the person whose gift was not as appreciated! -liz

  5. Hope you had the Merriest of Christmases!!!!!!!!!

  6. Ah, the old Yankee swap. We did one at my work and none of us were too shy or polite to steal a gift. I think I even ending up stealing 2 gifts. I think it all depends on the people you're doing the swap with. We all felt comfortable enough and it was relaxed enough where we could steal each others items. But I will say that when I did it, I was so tense and nervous that I wasn't going to get something I liked. :)

    Looks like you had a great Christmas!

  7. Yeah!! Glad you got the helmet you wanted.

    I was secretly hoping Nick would through some Barney Butter into my stocking. He didn't, but I got some of my favorite dark chocolate which was fine...I guess..hehe.

    I tried SO HARD to get a good picture of Nick and I, but like you said, it's hard! Everyone is busy and so many other things are going on, it's tough.

    I'm glad you had a great holiday. Like you, I am reluctant to agree to having Christmas at our house, but I like to say it almost as a way to force me to do it! It sounds like it would be fun..but then I hear my mom complain about it and I think, hmmm, maybe not?

    Anyway, enjoy the rest of your break!

  8. aw taking down the tree is such a buzz kill :( I can't believe the holidays are over!!

    Glad you had such a great Christmas, girlie!

  9. Looks like such a big family celebration!! Such fun in limited time spurts lol It looks like you had a great holiday! I don't think I would be a fan of the yankee swap either boo!
    Enjoy the Hangover, it's pretty raunchy but darn funny. I sure hope you can have some nice relaxation soon, you deserve it dearly :)

  10. Hope your holiday was great! It has been so fun spending time in the US and in CT with the fam! We are hoping for good weather on our way back tomorrow!


  11. such fun, large family celebrations :) merry belated christmas to you!!

    i've never heard of a yankee swap... i'd definitely have to agree that the 'secret santa' version is better. people still get offended/feel bad about the stealing part, but usually it turns out to be all in good fun.