On Christmas Eve day, intermixed with the stuff I wrote about in the last post, we prepped for our Jerusalem Supper, round 2.

This time with a little more intimate group.

And back to our traditional chicken tikka masala and one-piece-of-the-nativity-on-each-person’s-plate dealio that the kids instigated a few years ago.  (Lucy sets the table and organizes this, and each person takes a moment to talk about how that particular person in the nativity may have felt).

(added our Advent candles this year too.)

Loved having this extra full table:

On to our version of the Nativity:

…with a quite rambunctious Mary and the sweetest little Baby Jesus.

This was Lucy’s sum-up of the night (she writes her journal on her iPod):

Oh man I love her!

Then it was time for the kids gift-exchange.

We do this on Christmas Eve each year to focus on the “giving” aspect before all that “getting” Santa hoopla the next morning, and every year, without fail, this part is my favorite part of Christmas. 

I’ll let the pictures tell why:

Can you see all that love oozing out of everyone?  Maybe you had to be there, but that room always fills with thick, magical air during that gift exchange.

Max & Abby gave to Elle, so here she is giving them a sort of virtual hug since they weren’t there in person:)

Lucy did indeed give to Bo instead of Max and Abby (although they’re still getting a little something from her).  But for tonight, she was overjoyed to give Bo her new “bed.” 

…which she promptly fell asleep right NEXT to instead of on TOP of, so we spent some time trying to cajole her onto that new thing.  See Dave in the above picture trying to model how soft that thing was?  Ha!

Then on to Christmas PJs…for these girls:

…and for these guys too:

Oh gosh I love these kids so much!  Look at Zara (blonde sweetie girl right in the middle):

She kills me with her darlingness and spitfire personality.

The snuggles turned to wrestling:

…and dog-piling:

…and cuteness:

These were our best bets at a family picture of these NYC guys:

Ha!  Have I mentioned how much I adore this little family?  I posted some pictures of Eli and I yesterday and meant to write a little praise to that boy because he is so awesome.  He’s second from youngest and I’m second to oldest and I just love him.  He’s got the best sense of humor, the best sense of style, and the best sense of picking-out-good-people-to-marry (I love Julie!).  Eli and Julie are wise beyond their years and I learn so much from them…in parenting and life. 

Anyway, we had some work to do to calm down the excitement category after all that wrestling:

These girls weren’t much better:

Sorry had to post all of those (believe me, there were a lot more), because gosh I sure love them.  And their love for each other.  Yes, they fight for sure, but they are mostly just best friends and it makes my heart swell up.

Exciting times.

Our family…minus the honeymooners:

Another one of my favorite memories of Christmas Eve (aside from the gift exchange) was sitting right here after Lucy was tucked into bed…

…girls laughing, my dad pulling out a big container of chocolate ice cream my mom had bought and eating it with a fork (his signature move) as we all talked, the girls joining in to the fork-eating-ice-cream routine:

Is there always magic in the air on Christmas Eve?  Man, I think so, but it seemed extra prevalent that night.  I had worked my tail off to just be able to hang a little and enjoy, and I was so glad of that.

But even so, we were still up way too late.  Late-night gift-wrapping, stocking-stuffing watching A Christmas Story (always our tradition) this time with Eli, Julie and my parents gathered in.

When we finally finished setting things up I had my Dad “help” Santa with his signature (at least in our family) squiggly-writting notes:

And then we all snuggled down into bed, crossing our fingers our full house would give us a Christmas miracle and not wake up too very early a few hours later.
And those crossed fingers worked.  I didn’t hear a thing until 7:15.
But more on that coming…on to Christmas!


  1. Elle is so, so tan!

    Claire and Elle always looked so alike, but I think that lately Claire grows into her own look (both are obviously pretty).

    Just my two superficial thoughts… 😉

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