The Obligatory Christmas Post – 2011 Version

So, rather than just go on and on about how fantastic our Christmas was and dump loads of random (though adorable) photos of my toddler opening gifts, I thought I’d focus this year’s Obligatory Christmas Post on our Christmas traditions.  And then, I realized that I’d rather just go through our our festivities and dump loads of photos anyways.  Cool?  Cool.

Our Christmas festivities always begin several days before Christmas with the annual Inappropriate Cookie Party.  This occurs on whatever night I have off the week before Christmas and involves me, Hubby, Scary Uncle Adam, Auntie Annie and whoever else cares to join us baking and decorating a large number of delicious cookies.  This year, G.G. (Great Grandma) helped out… her cookies are the pretty ones.  I should probably warn you that though a large number of the cookies are socially acceptable, some are definitely not for the faint of heart.  My favorites from this year were the gay Christmas tree (not pictured) and horse wiener (look hard enough… you’ll find him).

The next tradition is the Friends Party.  All of Hubby’s parent’s buddies from back in the day get together at a different house every year to drink and eat and drink and do the whole White Elephant gift exchange thing.  A good number of these folks have known each other since high school, and Hubby and grown up with all of their kids.  It’s always a really fun time, but nowadays it’s even more awesome because their are babies around.  A whole new generation of kiddos!  Scary Uncle Adam loves this because he never really surpassed being 7 years old.  The kids rode him around until his arms gave out… and then an all-out Nerf war ensued.

I was lucky enough to have Christmas Eve off this year… which pretty much just means that I’ll be working next year.  We spent the day at my parent’s house relaxing and opening gifts with my grandmother.  Then, we headed to the evening service at church, where we had the opportunity to light the advent candles.  This was great, except for the fact that Bug thought he should be able to remain on the altar for the remainder of the service.  Oy.  Somehow, the above is the only picture I could find of Bug dressed up for church… thanks, Aunt Annie!

After dinner, we dressed Bug in his Christmas jammies.  Aunt Annie helped him set out cookies and milk for Santa and then we sent his little embroidered bottom off to bed at Nana & Pop’s house.  The adults watched Elf (per annual tradition) and then we took Buggy home so that he could wake up to Santa at our house.

Something awesome that Santa does at our house… he rearranges our furniture!  See, our Christmas tree lives in this perfect little alcoved area of our dining room, but with the dining room table in the way, there’s just no room to sit to open gifts.  Santa, being the jolly man that he is, realized the dilemma and flops our house for us!  He puts the couches by the tree (and the Lightning McQueen chair, obvi) and moves the table into the living room.  He even set my table for me.  What a guy!

Bug was super excited to see the house rearranged on Christmas morning.  He was even more excited to see his big gift sitting out, with just a bow on it.  Santa brought him a big set of Melissa & Doug building blocks, which he absolutely loves.  We played with them for quite a while before he was ready to delve into his stocking.  Santa sure knows Eli, because he filled his stocking with a whole bunch of musical instruments.  A recorder, bells, clappers, egg shakers, a kazoo, a triangle… we now have family band jams daily.

Just as we were finishing stockings, the whole family showed up.  Nana, Pops, Annie, Adam, Grandma & Papa (my parents).  We opened gifts, hung out and ate a big Christmas breakfast.  My favorite Christmas blessing is that we live in the same city as both sets of parents and that everybody gets along.  It is so special that Bug (and us!) gets to spend holidays with the entire family.

After naptime, we headed over to Nana & Pop’s house, where Great Nana was waiting for us.  She drove down from Gainesville to spend a few days… yay!  We opened more gifts, played, ate, played some more, ate some more.  You know the drill.  Out of all the gifts that Bug received, his new sunglasses are among his favorite.  He pretty much wears this face anytime he has them on.  Too funny.  I wonder how long until he breaks them?

After gifts and playtime, we all went out to walk around this awesome park on the island called Blalock Park.  It houses a bunch of native trees and plants that have been donated by different families and businesses.  This year, Venice Area Beautification, Inc invited area clubs, families and businesses to decorate the different trees in the park.  It was really fun to walk around and see what the different clubs did to make their tree pretty & festive.  Bug was obsessed with Christmas lights (“ligh? ligh? ligh?”) this year and he probably would have spent all night in the park if we’d let him!  Please notice that we are all wearing shorts.  On Christmas.  At night.  Yup.  I heart Florida winters.

We had a wonderful Christmas, made all the more special by this sweet child in our lives.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, as well.  Now… on to making 2012 pretty much the best year ever.

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