Thursday, December 28, 2023

Christmas Eve 2023

 It was a chilly Christmas Eve's morning and I was the first one up - as I almost always am on holidays. I left Louis Dean in bed still sleeping soundly and the guest room door was shut so I was the only one up and about.

It rained all night so I couldn't sit outside on the kitchen deck for my prayer and coffee time so I went out to the gazebo.
We used to spend a lot of time out here but not so much in recent years.
I never even got around to decorating it for Christmas other than draping some table cloths out there.
While I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, I do treasure and prioritize my Quiet Time.

I finished up a few last things like the pepper poppers and vacuuming - which is the ONE household chore I really don't like! In the new year I am seriously going to be looking for a new friendlier and easier to use machine for routine vacuum days and saving my Rainbow for the heavier cleaning.

By 3:30 Louis Dean and I were dressed and ready to welcome friends and family for Christmas Eve.

The Chocolate bar was all decked out and Jesse had set up his coffee station.
I had tea and an apple punch along with some red and white wine with some eggnog in the fridge.

The appetizer table all ready to enjoy during the football game.

Summer made this edible tree - so pretty and easy to serve!

Jesse and the older grands arrived first - the Cowboy game started at 3:20 - and they all settled down in the den.

Too bad the Cowboys lost!

The stockings were all hung and full!

Claire and Summer visited in the living room.

Pam arrived after the game was over.

The Bell girls brought their instruments and played a Christmas song for us.

I am amazed at how much they have learned in such a short time!

We all gathered in the living room before dinner and Mike led us in prayer....
The tables were set and I told everyone to find a plate and serve themselves buffet style.

Some sat in the den.... the table set for four.

I put up a small table in the den for extra eating space.

The dining room table was full!

Smiles all around!

I love seeing all my children, grandchildren and friends talking and laughing and enjoying one another.

The dining table used to seat the adults with older grands at the den table and the younger ones at a smaller table set up somewhere.

Now they have all grown up into 'people' and it's fun to see who sits with whom.
I love how Amber was table hopping and joining in with everyone.

Dinner for 16 was a real success!

Our Christmas Eve Menu
Company mashed potatoes
Sweet potato casserole
Cream cheese corn
Cabbage casserole
Dinner rolls
Cranberry sauce

Amber and Benjamin brought pies for dessert and we had cookies and treats from Summer!

Next up? GIFTS!!

I started by handing out the stockings which I had filled - starting with the oldest to the youngest. Next year I'll start with the youngest to the oldest!!

Summer was happy with her custom made denim apron along with a little something in the pocket!
While Summer doesn't cook a lot - she does live on a Guest ranch and is often in the kitchen helping out!

My friend, Judy, is a gifted seamstress and calls herself  'The Bag Lady' on Facebook.
I had custom made aprons made for all the children and grandchildren who love to cook.
She selected fabric to match their personalities.
Jesse's is a Southwestern print that goes well with his beautifully decorated apartment.
He cooks nearly every day and it's a common thing for his children to drop by at mealtimes.

Someone knows he loves all things 'coffee!'

Here's Amber with her custom apron!
She cooks every single day for her family of six!

Pam is retired and super active in all manner of sports so I got her a pair of  'Pickle Ball socks and some athletic wear since she is out cycling often!

Benjamin loves his new doormat!
He will receive his apron in the next week or two and he, like his siblings, cooks nearly every day.

Now Mike is a hunter and a griller so his stocking was full of things that fit that theme.
His apron is a camo fabric - perfect for him!
However, the pic I got is of his National Lampoon Christmas boxers!

Macon's stocking was full of warm socks and t-shirts and personalized playing cards for both him and his wife among other things.

On to the grandchildren!

Sam is my first born grandchild and is 21 years old.
I absolutely LOVE his expression!!!

Granddaughter Faith.....

Levi - and his gift did not fit into a stocking so at first he thought all he got from me was some Pez candy!

Trystan is so easy to shop for!

Actually all the girls are!
This is Kailey's apron.
It was time to upgrade because all of the kids were wearing the denim aprons I made when they were much younger.

I love the smiles of everyone!

Now Harrison was a little like Sam.....he doesn't ask for much so it was hard to find something to put in his stocking along with a little $$.
Logan helped me out on this one!

Harrison may be a big tough hockey player but the boy is not shy about his love for stuffed critters and squishy animals.

His gift was an 'Emotional Pickle' and he loved it!!

Logan was the last to open her stocking but next year she will be the first!
I used to tell her - "The last shall be first and the first shall be last."
Matthew 20:16

My turn and I was overwhelmed with all the beautiful and thoughtful gifts

I love any and everything that is pretty or smells good!!
And I received much of both!

After the gifts we play NUTS!!!

Jesse raised the stakes to a whole 'nuther level by offering a deck of GOLDEN playing cards to the winner!

We take the game seriously while still making it fun!

Amber won twice and Faith won twice and someone else won once and it was not I!
I have lost my status of being the Queen of NUTS!

The winner was decided between Faith and Amber with rock/paper/scissors.
I am probably the only one on earth who does not understand this thing!

Faith was the WINNER!!!

We decided to wait on rolling the sugarplums to do in the New Year.
Amber and her crew like them best of all and may roll them and save some in the freezer to give the others. I look forward to how they like them this year as I accidently doubled the amount of cocoa but Summer assured me they tasted the best yet!
Plus I used a lot of chopped pecans thanks to Louis Dean 'peeling' so many for me!

Our evening was coming to a close and I was in the living room visiting when I heard Faith singing.

She had gone to the music room to see Granddad before she left.
Louis Dean did well in handling so many people but he did stay in his room most of the time.
I actually made our dinner plates and we ate in his room where it was quieter.
Too much sensory overload is not good for him so he protected himself by 'laying low.'

Faith is so good with her granddad and knows how much he loves music....

so she gave him her best gift!
Pretty soon his small room was filled with the Bell grands and others crowding in to listen to Faith.

What a prefect way to end this amazing Christmas Eve!


Pamela M. Steiner said...

This was so beautiful! I loved every picture and every minute of it! You really have such a lovely family and they are all very happy being there with you, that is obvious! Loved the music too! Very talented young people in your family! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!!

Deb J. in Utah said...

Hi Linda. So glad that you had such a wonderful, family-filled Christmas Even. I hope you and Louis Dean have a happy and healthy new year! See you again soon.

Donna said...

Aww! How sweet of Faith to sing for her grandfather...
Looks like you all had a grand evening!
We quit watching the Cowboys years ago...
Happy New Year!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You did have an Amazing Christmas! Loved all the pictures of smiling faces! Merry Christmas to you and a very Happy New Year!

MadSnapper said...

It could not have been any more perfect and everyone looks so pleased and happy and wow on the gifts. all of them sound perfect. Happy new year, its almost here

Jan said...

What a wonderful Christmas Eve! There's nothing better than being surrounded by family and friends during the holidays!

Deanna Rabe said...

Wonderful, Wonderful! So many special moments!

Debby said...

Now that’s a family Christmas! So nice to see families coming together. Very nice! I’m convinced that you must be Mrs. Claus!

photowannabe said...

Oh Linda, this was truly Christmas!!!
Loving family with lots of wonderful food, Laughter and Sharing.
Louis Dean's granddaughter gave him the best gift ever..beautiful voice and I could feel the love pouring out of her.
This post make my heart full to overflowing.

Anonymous said...

Happy new Year

Carol said...

What an amazing evening you and your family had. I am thankful for that. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Beth said...

Faith has a beautiful voice!

Great-Granny Grandma said...

What a lovely Christmas Eve. Full of joy and love.
P.S. That's a lot of stockings and aprons. You must have worked hard making them all.

Rita said...

What a fantastic, fun Christmas!!
Thanks for sharing the joy. :)