It finally happened! Our family was able to gather together for the first time in our home, in 6 years!
In 2016, there were 6 of us. This year we also had 20-month-old Charlie and Chali's brother, Alex.
Earlier in the month, it was just Don and me. We spent a few days at our cabin.
Just the 2 of us... a couple bears and a handful of decorations. No TV and no interruptions. Just books and puzzles and some neglected cabin chores.
One day, we drove from the cabin to spend the day in Fredericksburg.
Our favorite little Texas-German town was looking extra festive for the holidays.
Fewer Covid Worries
This holiday season felt so much safer, than the 2020 & 2021 holidays.
We didn't exactly attend huge parties, but we enjoyed a few friends and activities, outside the house! No lockdowns or bubbles!
And Finally...12 Days of Christmas!
Six years ago, the kids lived closer and we gathered at the house for a few days.
This year "the kids" came from CA, OR & DC and our celebrating lasted 12 days! We started off with a toast! There were many toast in 12 days!
We gathered around a lot of tables.
It's been many years since we sang the Johnny Appleseed song at the Christmas dinner table. We almost forgot about our funny, "musical" tradition. We never know how the song will end. Sometimes we're in hysterics, with cringeworthy harmonizing. This year we nailed it and grinned.
Everyone pitched in with meal prep and clean up... or food pick up! Sadly no photos of our many breakfast tacos! Don and Scott teamed up on smoked pulled pork for Christmas.
Charlie decorated cookies... well sort of. She discovered on her own that the white paint, tasted really good!
Music & Dancing
There was a lot of music in the house. We had to unearth an old boombox for Christmas CDS. And then we made our own.
The music inspired some fine dance moves!
The weather turned ridiculously cold, but we still got out. Charlie tried out the very trike, that her mom and uncle once rode. (She'd rather push!)
The hot tub didn't get fixed in time... after waiting months for a part. But "some of us" braved a Polar Plunge on Christmas day!
We made sure to plan in a tiki themed night.
It got down to 23 degrees that night, so the theme kept things warm!
Besides Hawaiian shirts and leis, the big fashion moments were mostly made by Charlie.
This girl loves hats and shoes. There were lots of shoes lying around to choose from... near every door!
Christmas Eve Dinner
Our casual group spiffed up a bit for Christmas Eve Dinner, at our fave Rudi Lechner's. Our attire wasn't nearly as curious as some of the staff. Father Christmas, the accordion guy and our Elf Server, dressed for the evening. There were some oddly dressed guests also. A Trump shirt on Christmas Eve!? No photo.
We made some champagne toasts in the festive atmosphere and I grabbed Charlie for a little polka dancing. Usually there's a whole band and a larger dance floor. We made do.
I think Charlie wins the prize for dining fashion though. No one can pull off a dainty barrette in quite the same way. And how about those "hip" beads that her grandmother wore in 4th grade? The glasses complete the look!
It was an odd crowd at Rudi's and a curious vibe. It was a buffet only this year, so that was different.
But the German food was yummy and plentiful. Alex showed us the proper pose, before digging in.
Love and Laughter
Our silly moods (and kisses) followed us home from dinner!
There were lots of signs of affection over the next days.
There were some old critters that needed kisses in the house. Besides kisses, there were...
Hugs and High Fives
There were early morning hugs...
Thank you hugs... leg hugs and of course good bye hugs. No photos of those. Too sad.
There were no covid fist bumps this year. But we did have some high fives.
Charlie was extra cute when her Aunt Emily visited.
Lots of Laughing
Laughing was the best.
My camera only captured a fraction of the laughing moments.
It was Christmas, so there were gifts. But that was hardly the focus. There was definitely some laughing with the White Elephant gifts.
We exchanged some Game Gifts. Don handed out some Kitchen Gadget Gifts, we opened and swapped some Book Gifts... and Chali gave us each personalized handmade Candle Gifts! Lots of themes!
Some gifts were hugged or read or worn right away. Some "paper gifts" were given to avoid suitcase worries later.
Hanging Out Time
All in all the best times, were just hanging out times.
I wish I had some candid couch snoozing photos.
The outside walks started getting warmer.
The air was balmy on a Rothko Chapel outing. Some shorts actually came out of suitcases.
I'm feeling so grateful that we pulled off a Texas Christmas in 2022.
A year ago, the kids cancelled flights and Don and I drove last minute to Oregon. After lots of worry and rush, we had a great time celebrating Charlie's first Xmas, on the west coast.
This year, we hung our stockings in Texas!
There wasn't much sitting still for this little toddler's second Christmas. But Charlie managed to sit and stare at her uncle, for the entire "The Night Before Cajun Christmas", just like last year!
I've gone ridiculously overboard with this post. But that's because we seemed to pack about 100 days into 12. What a wonderful 12 days!
By the last day of December, it was just Don and me. We toasted to an incredible visit and we toasted to the future. Who knows where we'll be at Christmas next year. I'm just so grateful to have had this one!