As wonderful as my trip was to the South, it is so good to be home. Most Christmas preparations were completed before I left, all except wrapping packages, which is my least favorite thing to do. What is your least favorite?
Close-up of tree in our Charleston hotel
When I returned home, this birthday card was waiting for me from my good friend, Dotty. It's perfect.
Every year I kind of balk at decorating the house. I'm a status quo person. But once things are up, I enjoy the decorations so much.
The Christmas stockings go up, so precious to me. A lady in our church when we lived in Enid, Oklahoma, made mine when I was probably in first grade. Then when we married, I made one for Mark. Each new addition to the family has gotten one over the years. While each stocking has different things on it, the one thing they all have in common is a Christmas tree.
We don't change things much from year to year, and I'm fine with that. I have a collection of snowmen that decorate the top of a bookshelf. Last year, my friend Janice sent me the cutest 3D snowglobe card. This year I got another one! I now have a collection. I wouldn't mind getting another one next year. Janice--hint, hint, if you are reading this. :)
Seen in a store in Charleston. Which list are you on?
Last Saturday was our annual Soup and Cookie day. I started this when Charlotte and Levi were little and we have done it every year except last year because I had surgery the middle of December. This year, Jason, Jill, Ruby and Amelia joined us. The idea is that we have soup, then the parents are given a kid-free afternoon to do whatever they want, and the kids stay and make cookies.
It's fun to decorate the table with red and green.
Another very precious holiday possession is a set of napkin rings made by my maternal grandmother. She used them for years, and then passed them down to my mother. I usually borrowed them every year, but when my parents moved into assisted living several years ago they were finally passed down to me. Each one is different, six red and six green. They are one of the most special things I have from my grandmother.
Jason joined us after pictures were taken so I don't have one of him.
Then the parents left, and cookie making began.
I thought Ella and Amelia would enjoy making Christmas "crack." Are you familiar with that recipe? It starts with a base of saltine crackers, then a layer of homemade caramel, and then melted white chocolate bark.
I messed up on making the caramel--I tried melting the two cubes of butter and then adding the brown sugar. I couldn't figure out why the butter was separating. Charlotte, who is a professional (seriously, she and her friend Grace often make amazing baked items for sale when they need money for things like camp), took over and made the caramel for me.
I thought this would be an easy recipe for 5-year-old girls. They carefully put the layer of saltine crackers on the cookie sheet.. Next came the caramel.
Then it was time for the white chocolate. Some of it had to be tinted pink and green. Don't think that was an easy task--they both wanted to do the pink. Of course they did. We worked out a compromise. The one who tinted the pink chocolate got the green sprinkles, and vice versa.
Did I say sprinkles? Oh my goodness. When you are five, you sprinkle the whole
bottle. I mean, two whole bottles, one green and one pink.
Then it was time for Ruby and Gabe to roll out the gingerbread.
Cookie decorating time. More sprinkles. At this point, I'm thinking of banning them next year. But when next year rolls around, I will probably relent.
Levi wasn't so interested in cookie decorating, although he did
He and Gramps spent the time together.
Charlotte made these beautiful springerle cookies. If you have made them before, you know it requires some skill. The Christmas plate is one I did in the early 1980s during my china painting phase.
Close-up of our tree in the Savannah hotel
Sunday morning was our church choir's Christmas program. Mark joins the choir once a year for this performance. It's always nice to hear the traditional Christmas carols. People are always surprised to see him in a suit. :)
In the evening was the children's program. Levi was one of three emcees.
Ella, Amelia, Ruby and Gabe each played a piano solo.
Then came the story of Jesus' birth. Levi was the archangel Gabriel.
As part of our church's 50th celebration, pictures from the archives have been posted on the church's social media account. I think Aaron might have been second or third grade in this picture, where he played a "humble but colorful shepherd."
Speaking of social media...
We stopped by to see my dad yesterday, and there was a gingerbread house contest in the main lobby. Lots of pretty ones--these were my favorites.
Thanks for reading my posts this year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!