The last week has been comprised of a lot of running around, friend reunions, last minute preparations, baking, and all-around happiness.
Christmas Eve was mainly family-centric, but I saw a couple of friends and ate more than enough food for all of us. My family enjoyed a fondue dinner, which was amazing!
I saw E for about two seconds when I dropped off some baked goods for his family. Naturally, we needed at least one photo to keep up our tradition.
Remember my peppermint cheesecake squares? Here's the standard version, for Christmas Eve dessert.
A slice of perfection.
So, Christmas came int he morning. Amazing as always. Very blessed. I love my family so much.
It was Sonny's first Christmas, and he took a big liking to the tree. As beautiful as the tree with all of the presents under it looks in the photo above, my mom assures me it was prettier before Sonny attacked it. My mom placed a toy for Sonny in a small stocking we purchased for him and it took him all of thirty seconds to spot it and get out. Maggie's stocking is bone-shaped. ROCK ON.
I was overwhelmed.
My brother was enthused!
He bought me a calculator, and a giant one at that. :]
Parents went above and beyond and purchased us some reminders of our favorite things: a drumhead signed by the band No Doubt for Tucker; framed photos and a ball signed by Tim Lincecum, double Cy Young Award winner, for me. NO BIG DEAL.
The damage was severe.
My baby!!! Taken with my new macro lens - hallelujah!
We found Sonny sleeping under some tissue paper. :P
After relaxation and general merriment, Ethan visited for a little exchange of our own, highly reminiscent of last year's extravaganza except at my house this time. Naturally, Sonny and I had this set up for him. Please note the inclusion of our Christmas Bear and usual stockings in the celebration.
Allow me to explain: each of my packages for Ethan was labeled "something to keep you..." and an adjective. For instance, I labeled the cologne I purchased from him "something to keep you fresh." The sweatshirt, "something to keep you cozy." I thought it was a cute way to change up the standard gift tag. It looks like a lot, but honestly... I'm such a bargain shopper! You'd be surprised to know how much I saved!
Under this cute wrapping is the bane of Ethan's existence...
Peanut butter oatmeal cookies! Which he - and his family - just loved. I have to say, this recipe is amazing!
It's a sort of visual journal of our relationship - like a scrapbook but more art-focused and abstract. Most of the pages are private, so I can't really share them here (maybe one day). I started with about ten pages finished and add about four to five for each momentous occasion in our relationship - birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, and, of course, Christmas. It's something very fun for me and almost sacred to Ethan, who told me more than once that it was new pages in "The Book" to which he was most looking forward to this Christmas!
The whole shebang.
The best part was watching Ethan open his presents! :] So cute.
I think now is the time to remind people: Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth. Although it probably actually happened in August and three years sooner than scholars originally thought, December 25th is the day that the Christians choose to acknowledge God's gift to earth: the birth of His son, a direct link between we humans and God, who would go onto die to offer us salvation.
I find it funny that year after year, people critique the Christian symbols of certain holidays - Christmas, Easter, and so on - when it is out of the basis of those Christian symbols that the holidays developed. I saw a news story about a man suing the city for which he worked for using stars and angels on the Christmas trees. Another man commented that her thought the lawsuit was fair. I don't remember his exact words but they were something along the lines of "I understand because I don't think we should all be forced to believe what Americans want us to believe about Christmas." Hmmm.
If you're not celebrating the birth of Christ, what is Christmas? I can understand - heck, I even support - equal representation of beliefs other than the Christian standard... But to try to strip a holiday of its inherent purpose - or rather, cover up that inherent purpose - is silly. If you're not celebrating Christ's birth, you're not really celebrating Christmas. Thus, such complaints about the Christian "claims" on the holiday and the use of Christian symbolism of the holiday becomes irrelevant. Viola! Problem solved. Are we good?
Tomorrow, my dad, Ethan and I are embarking on a journey to the snow! It's a reprise of last year's trip. I'll be back on Tuesday but on Wednesday, Ethan and I are heading back up with four friends for a couple of days to have some fun and ring in the New Year. :]