Christmas Eve and Day! We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Buns' family this year. Christmas Eve dinner Buns' family has bratwurst and tamales for their traditional dinner. I can't say I'm into the bratwurst haha (it's a Barrett thing), but I loooove the tamales. Mix with some eggs, and you've got the yummiest concoction that's ever hit your tastebuds.
After dinner, Bill and Hawley (Buns' parents) shared a Christmas message with us, and we hung paper ornaments on the tree that had Christmas scriptures on the back. I'm so grateful for my Savior, and even though I know we should keep Christ close to our hearts all year long, I love the opportunity I have to reflect on His impact in my life every year at Christmas.
Click here for what we tried to focus on this Christmas.
The painting below is a painting I had never seen before by one of my favorite LDS artists, Greg Olsen entitled, "Take My Hand". This painting totally set the mood for our Christmas this year. Todd and I were walking through Deseret Books a week before Christmas, and I saw this painting on the wall. I immediately fell in love with it. It made me think about our son on his way. It made me think about the relationship I hope our children have with Christ. That they know how much Christ loves them and that he is one of their dearest friends.
After the family devotional, everyone got the kids ready for bed. It was so fun to see my older nieces (2,4,5) getting cookies, carrots, and lettuce for Santa and the reindeer. Their excitement was contagious. I can't wait until Reese knows what's going on, and we can share that excitement with her!
Once the kids were all put to bed, we played some games (including Pit which was nice because that's a classic game in my own family) and got all the pressies and stockings ready for Christmas morning! I have the fondest memories of Christmas Eve for many reasons, but one of which being that once the secret was out (shhhhh*) and I was a little older, my mom would let me help wrap all the gifts and stuff stockings. It is seriously one of my favorite Christmas memories spending that time with my mom and getting all excited about the next morning. She wrapped our gifts in our own special color ribbon. I used to love that touch. We didn't get a chance to watch It's A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve like we normally do in my family, but Todd promised we'd watch it Christmas Day.
Even though I missed my family horribly for the holidays this year, it was really cool to share in traditions that Todd grew up with. To share a part of his childhood with him. I'll never forget Christmas Day, he made a comment about how he hadn't been at his home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day since before his mission (almost 5 years). I could tell he was so happy to be there, even though he was bummed I couldn't be with my family. And the funniest thing happened. I put myself in his shoes and found myself getting super emotional and happy that we were able to spend the night for Christmas Eve, and he was able to experience Christmas like he did when he was a kid. I know it can't and won't always be like that. Pretty soon here, we will do Christmas in our own home and start developing our home traditions, but it was nice. Like I said before, really great to get a glimpse into his childhood Christmases. Because I know how special Christmas is to me when I get to spend it with my family, and when we got to go home to Tennessee for Todd and I's first Christmas together, I was so happy to share that with Todd. And I know he was happy to share his with me. It really was a beautiful Christmas.
Christmas morning, Reese and Todd slept in until about 8:30, but I was up at 7:30 ready for the party! Haha. As soon as Reese made a peep, I shook Todd and told him Reese was up, it's go time! So we went downstairs, and all the cousins were already up starting to open their pressies from Santa, and it was just wonderful. Their excitement and sweetness was the cutest. We let Reese "open" her presents first, which were some boards books, safari animal toys, and clothes. She's obsessed with little figurines and trinkets, so the animal figurines were a hit. She just likes to walk around with them. And chew them. Then Todd and I exchanged gifts. Todd is the cutest when he buys presents for me. Once I've opened it (and always love it), he reassures me throughout the whole day that if I don't like it, we can return it and get what I want (insert laughing-so-hard-I'm-crying emoji here). He's a cutie.
Then we had some leftover tamales and eggs for breakfast which was BOMB. Did I mention I love tamales? Throw a little hot sauce on those babies, and I can destroy a serious plate full. And of course, we also had to have some of our favorite cereal from our stockings. That's a tradition that Todd's parents did with them on Christmas morning. They gave them their favorite sugar cereal and soda pop. That's a tradition I'd love to continue. So Todd got Cinnamon Life of course, and I got Berry Captain Crunch. HOLLA. I haven't gotten that cereal in YEARS because I can never justify getting it, but Christmas tradition was all the justification I needed. I had 5 bowls throughout the day. And I thought of my dad every time because whenever we went on vacations or it was a holiday or he asked me to go on a drive with him to the grocery store, that was his top pick. We both agreed that tearing apart the roof of your mouth every once in a while was worth it!
The rest of the day Todd and I got to just hang and relax and watch lots of The Office. It was just what the doctor ordered.
Hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas, and have a Happy New Year!
❤, Ashton Tilton