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This Christmas was all about traditions… celebrating the old ones and welcoming some new.  I started off Christmas weekend with a little pizza/wrapping party, battling the cat who thought my candy cane toppers were supah fun…to hide around the house.

After heading back to mom and dads, we started off Saturday cranking up the family cookie factory, putting Martha to shame with our dozens and dozens of delicious treats.  After gorging on all of our hard work, we went to Christmas mass.  And even though at the moment, we are all baby-less, we usually to go to the children’s mass, to watch the adorable baby angels (who frequently provide comedic relief) in the nativity play, and the bell choir.

As a reward for behaving ourselves at church, we went to Hillside diner, where A attempted to eat more than 8 Saltines in a minute (spoiler: it was not pretty), and we all filled our bellies, after not having eaten more than the body-of-Christ since breakfast.

That evening, we opened our traditional socks n’ underwear presents, while I whined that mom wouldn’t let me change into my pajamas until we had a decent family photo (a considerable feat, with 10 fidgety giants, and two unruly pups).

Christmas day, we were surprised to find a new tradition under the tree.  One by one we opened the ‘red box’ addressed to each of us, and found (increasingly) ugly sweaters.  We watched, mouths agape, as the first red box was opened, holding the ‘crown jewel of the ugly’, a sweater that would come to be known as the ‘marble rye’, gray wool, with elbow (and armpit) pads, and a giant leather two tone pretzel on the chest.  Many sweaters down the line battled to come close to the level of oogly of that very first sweater, but none had quite the je ne sais quoi of the elusive marble rye.

Present opening culminated with a family gift… a weekend getaway in a cabin near one of my favorite places, Starved Rock State Park, where we will be sure to create more family traditions, (most likely while wearing our ugly sweaters).  The rest of the weekend was spent eating and nomming and snacking until we all had (as K put it), good ol’ fashioned stomachaches.

See y’all next year!

music: Low : Just Like Christmas

Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler : Home for the Holidays / See you Next Year