Casual Friday + It’s Christmas Eve!!!

  • It feels both sad, and reflective, that the first line item I thought to write down involved COVID. But it continues to have very real impacts around the world two years on. Closer to home, things are shutting down; restrictions are back in effect, and we’re hunkering at home and feeling so, so thankful for our little family unit. Gathering limits have been slashed but we have each other and our half-renoed home and even though 2021 has felt tough…it’s Christmas Eve and it really is my favourite day of the year!!
Abby, Grampie and I played Clue over the weekend. I was less than enthused, but it ended up being surprisingly fun. I was playing to win and was SO convinced I had correctly solved the mystery. Pride cometh before a fall and I lost in grand fashion. We have also played many games of SORRY…
  • The whole week felt a bit…odd. The kids were supposed to be in school until end-of-day Tuesday, but getting the two extra days off because of COVID, and having Christmas fall on a Saturday, it feels a bit strange – but in a good way?
  • The highlight of the early week was hosting a couple for supper (these are some of our dearest friends – the kind of friends who feel more like family than guests, the kind of friends you don’t clean your floors or bathroom for because you know they already love you too much to care about messy floors or empty toilet paper rolls). We lit candles and turned down the lights and had chili and rice and corndog muffins and a pie from the freezer – simple, hearty comfort food to keep the winter solstice and cold temperatures at bay. They introduced us to a new game called “Just One.” We didn’t have the official game board/cards on hand, so just used scraps of paper. I am not a big game person, but this was an absolute riot to play. One person leaves the room while everyone else brainstorms a word. Then everyone secretly comes up with one word to describe the main word. For example the word “candle” might be described with words like melt, drip, and flame. While there can be many obvious descriptive words, if you select the same word as another person at the table, they cancel out and get removed, making it harder for the person guessing. Honestly? Levi was probably the best player, coming up with very reasonable (but not so obvious they got cancelled out) clues. For chopsticks he suggested “utensils” and for hieroglyphics he wrote down “pictures.” My father-in-law had us in stitches (I was crying from laughing so hard) coming up with words like insular (for island), hosiery (for stocking), cylindrical (for candle), and locomotion (for bicycle). The icing on the cake was the fact he guessed the word trousers from the following clues: England/English, corduroy, and belt. You only get one guess, and he was very emphatic trousers was the word, not pants. And he was right!
  • Levi’s passport application has been submitted. Gold star for completing that process! The same morning we also did a followup appointment with the dermatologist and shopped for Christmas gifts (he did such a good job with this, taking his time and really genuinuely picking out thoughtful gifts; there has been A LOT of fighting lately, but watching him go through every single Beanie Boo at the store to get the “right” one, drove home the fact they really do love each other very much).
  • We watched movies. Hallmark movies and Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Home Alone 2. Abby and I went to see the final free movie – A Christmas Story – at our local theatre and I actually felt kinda bummed out by it. I know it’s a classic, but it definitely didn’t give me the warm fuzzies like It’s A Wonderful Life or White Christmas. I had never seen it until this year; my best friend in high school raved about it and she watched it with her family every Christmas. I just found it…not overly festive or family-friendly and definitely don’t see a need to re-watch it in the future!
I remember hating to wait for the gifts to go under the tree as a kid. My Mom always left this until the last minute; with 5 days to go until Christmas (and with Levi happily occupied with other activities), I couldn’t resist her pleas any longer. Like mother, like daughter.
Keeping it real. Kitchen mess.
  • And now we hunker down for Christmas. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree. The cheesecakes are in the fridge. We enjoyed Seafood Casserole and Curried Rice with Shrimp for supper last night; today will be donair pizzas and homemade Mac n’ Cheese. Most critically, the cherry cheesecakes are ready and in the fridge.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

I grew up in a home surrounded by music – CDs and records were constantly being played, if my Mom wasn’t sitting at the piano making her own music. As a child, I would often end up falling asleep while listening to her practice (ironic that one of my biggest regrets is dropping out of piano lessons at a young age).

So I’ve been thinking a lot about song lyrics this Christmas and when a friend dropped off a Christmas card she included the following:

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…

Oh Holy Night

If the world has ever felt weary, is it not now? But there is hope!

Noel, Noel

Come and see what God has done

Noel, Noel

The story of amazing love!

The light of the world, given for us

Noel.

Noel (Chris Tomlin/Lauren Daigle)


I’m off. It’s Christmas Eve. Time to dim the lights, sing carols in front of the fire and, for a day or so, drown out the noise from phones and e-mail accounts and remember:

So come, though you have nothing.

Come, He is the offering.

Come, see what your God has done.

Oh Come All Ye Unfaithful

Come and see what God has done indeed.

Merry Christmas!

23 thoughts on “Casual Friday + It’s Christmas Eve!!!”

  1. Oh, my goodness. That first photo.
    Can I just move in?! It looks SO cozy!!

    I hope you have the most wonderful, peaceful Christmas. I’m so grateful to have connected with you this year! xx

    1. It is cozy – inside at least. It is -19 celcius outside with the windchill. Not going to be a white Christmas after all, but very cold and sunny. It’s better than rain.

      Have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. Have a blessed Christmas! You, yours, and your place sound so ready and it sounds like the celebrations have started already :). One of my favorite pictures recently was that picture of your tree and the reno stuff with the wall in between…

    1. We have started! I’m sipping some chai tea (which I thought tasted especially good and then I saw the ingredient list included Jamaican rum flavouring). It’s sunny but VERY cold here.

      Ha – the wall was very conveniently placed to help hide the reno paraphernalia!

    1. So sorry to hear about COVID putting a bit of a damper on your Christmas, but glad you’re feeling a bit better and you still managed to carve out lots of time with your family!

  3. That first picture is all magic!

    I always leave my wrapping until way late, and this year I purposely left it until the 23rd because I didn’t want my two-year-old OR our new puppy having too many chances to investigate 🙂

    Merry Christmas to you!

    1. I can’t imagine leaving all the wrapping to the last minute…but I do like leaving a few things until the last minute as it feels extra festive.
      Good friends of ours always wrapped ALL the gifts on Christmas Eve after their kids went to bed. I can’t imagine. They would be up until the wee hours of the morning; I can’t imagine something I’d want to do less…but it also sounds very, very fun in it’s own way.
      My Dad grew up where his parents would put up and decorate the tree on Christmas Eve after the kids went to bed. Also can’t imagine that, but it does seem like it would have it’s own sort of magic leaving things until the last minute.

  4. I love hosting dinner with family friends that don’t require too Much preparation as everything is casual. I know someone is family when after hours of being together I don’t feel exhausted. 🙂 introvert don’t do well with too much social with not best friends 🙂

  5. I love your reference to Christmas carols! I’m a terrible singer (ugh, horribly off-key at best), but I love listening to music, especially Christmas carols. Oh Holy Night is actually my favorite one! Many years ago, I hand-sewed our tree skirt. It has a white fabric with a “swirly” pattern along the bottom, numerous whimsical evergreen trees in the middle, and a dark blue fabric along the top that is patterned with stars….I bet you can guess what was embroidered along the bottom panel? “O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining…” On another note, it’s nice to see our kids getting along so well with each other (now that they’re all grown). There were so many years when the oldest daughter tormented her brother ruthlessly…now they laugh and talk like old friends. ((sigh)). It makes a mother proud 😉

    1. You hand-sewed a tree skirt! Wow, that is so impressive!
      O Holy Night is one of my favourites too; for almost a decade I sang it every single Christmas in church, with my Mom accompanying me. When I took piano lessons a few years ago what I really wanted to be able to do was play her arrangement of O Holy Night. I didn’t quite make it…but it is one of the most deeply sentimental Christmas songs for me.

      I’m so glad to hear about siblings getting closer over time. Levi and Abby CAN be the best of friends, but boy they just fight so much or, as they like to say: he/she is “pushing my buttons.” Sigh.

  6. Your night with friends sounds amazing! Also, you are the first person I’ve encountered that eats chili and rice together! That is how I ate it growing up! I think it probably helped stretch the chili out a bit more which was probably key for my mom when she was feeding 5 kids!

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Eve. Ours was really nice. We celebrated with some of Phil’s extended family. Everyone was vaxxed/boosted except our kids who aren’t eligible yet. So I felt pretty good about the gathering, even though I know nothing is completely safe anymore. I need to get some K95 masks, especially since we have a trip coming up in Feb (going to Arizona to see my sister). Fingers crossed we don’t feel it’s necessary to cancel that trip!

    1. I think John introduced me to the chili and rice thing; I prefer it that way, as it’s a lot less acidic tomato-based food…and it definitely does stretch things out!
      I’m so glad you had a great time (and I just read your summary post of Christmas – hooray for the negative PCR test). Definitely hoping you can continue on with plans to head to Arizona in February. It feels so hard (impossible, really) to plan at this point, but Omicron seems to be causing a lot fewer hospitalizations. The downside – I’ve heard from a few people in the medical field that at some point we’re basically all likely to get it. One day at a time!
      Hope everyone in your household continues feeling healthy!

  7. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!! It’s always a relief to see it all come together and “work out”, right? 🙂 Your kids look happy, your house looked festive, you had gifts, family time, and fun. Success!! We watched the original Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life in the last couple days, and those both give me major warm holiday fuzzies. I have seen A Christmas Story, I think, years ago now- and I don’t recall being overly enamored with it.

    In that first picture, it almost looks like the real Christmas Star is shining outside your window! 🙂

    1. I hadn’t really clued in to how the star looked (this is the first year I’ve stuffed mini-lights inside of it; usually I just leave it unlit as it doesn’t have any hard-wired lighting)…but you’re right!
      I didn’t watch Miracle on 34th Street this year, but I do love it – both versions, but especially the original. Overall, I think I watched fewer Christmas movies this year. I always feel a bit guilty (?) or some other feeling that is hard to pin down about watching Christmas movies AFTER Christmas, but one of my favourite Christmases ever was when Abby was a baby and the whole week between Christmas and New Years I watched a Hallmark movie each night. It was so relaxing and I honestly have not felt as well-rested as I did that year (sadly, exactly a decade ago)! Maybe all the mindless holiday cheer did me good? I have a stash of Hallmark (or similar) movies, and I might just cue them up into the new year?

      Hope you had a great Christmas. And you’re so right; after all the work and preparation, it is so nice to have it all come together. It was a great Christmas, but I’m also glad that it is over and I can heave a sigh of relief that things went mostly to plan!

  8. Yes, this Christmas was another weird one… but it sounds like you made the best of it. What else can we do than trying to focus on the people in front of us.

    So funny that you’d mention the new game ” Just One”, as my family just told me about it, too (there seems to be a German version!) and how much fun they had playing it with the kids!

    1. It was SO much fun. I’m excited to do it at dinner parties (you know, when those start happening again). It’s great for such a range of ages and was surprisingly engaging for both kids AND adults.

  9. I am still so behind on blogs, so I will hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family (since I am so far behind, I’ll find out soon…). I also just wanted to say that it’s been a joy for someone like me (um, fairly Grinchy and anti-holiday, spent Christmas alone [by choice]) to vicariously experience your joy and wonder in the season. Thank you for sharing! <3

    1. You’re most welcome. I’m so glad you’re following along. We did have a good Christmas, though I was pretty tired. The week after Christmas actually felt FAR more restful. Though this last week has partially erased my sense of relaxation and we’re back to online learning for the kids next week…so I’m thinking we’ll be even more tired a week from now!

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