Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Christmas Traditions

Christmas has always been a big tradition in my house. My grandmother's birthday is Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve has always been about family, food & traditions.

This was the first year that we decided to stay up in Boston for Christmas proper. But we still did our fair share of traveling...more on that later!

For Christmas, Dave was very involved in planning the traditions. We integrated a few from my family and a few from his with some additions of our own!
We got the tree early in December for maximum enjoyment. Here's Dave lugging it up the stairs.

For decorations, we put on lights (and by we, I mean Dave) and then each night the kids would pick out an ornament and hang it. Mostly, Sophia picked out two and for about 20 minutes we had to convince her they needed to be hung and weren't toys. Theo got to "hang" a few of them. 
The end goal was that Santa finishes all the decorations on Christmas Eve. 

Next, we did our letter writing to Santa. Santa brings 3 gifts to each child. All Sophia wanted from Santa were new bunnies for her barn. The rest are Mom & Dad gifts. Sophia had a lot of fun writing her letter. We hung it on the door for Santa to see (after all, he's knows when you're sleeping...) Next year, I'll probably get my stuff together to actually "mail" it. 

Then came Christmas Eve. With my parents up here, we had the morning to run around doing errands and such. It was weird, because for my entire life, my Dad and I would wait in line at Lucibello's pastry shop in New Haven - we usually got there at 7am for an 8:30am opening. I didn't have that kind of go-to place this year and I was afraid, even if I did frequent one of the local pastry places, the experience would be distorted and not match up to my childhood memories. 
I did, however, go at 3pm with my Dad to Modern Pastry in Medford (after calling/visiting 3-4 other places in search of our beloved Sfogliatelle pastry. Sadly, everyone was sold out. We waited in line for two so-so cannoli's. But it was still good father-daughter bonding time. 

Next came the viewing of the Christmas lights. (Sorry, it's a shot from the Boston Herald and I don't know those people.) The street behind our house has amazing lights, so we took Nana & PopPop up there for the full experience. 

These amazing people at this house actually put up Mickey & Minnie lights just for Sophia, because she got to know them through their Halloween decorations. They're awesome.  
 Now came the most important - the food portion of the evening. Tradition was always to eat the "7 fishes" - My mom was a master at getting them all (or variations of) into the meal. Over the years, it got trimmed down to not quite 7. But this year, I did my best. The menu included:

  • Scallops (wrapped in Bacon - a tribute to my Grams, who let this be the only meat on this evening because she really liked bacon)
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Clams on a half shell
  • Baked Stuffed Lobster (with shrimp stuffing) 
  • Grilled Sesame Tuna
  • Champagne - not a fish, but a great tradition

Not bad. We were too tired for dessert and had too much decorating left.

But first, we had to write our note to Santa and leave cookies & carrots:

After the notes were written, food was eaten and little ones sleeping, the four of us (My parents, Dave & I) finished decorating the tree and then hung a "magical fireplace" (courtesy of Dave printing at work which adhered to the wall for Santa to come out of to leave presents) and put out all the presents (which we had also just finished wrapping) 
Couldn't wait to see Sophia's eyes Christmas morning. We stumbled into bed before midnight. 

Thankfully, they all slept in (as did we) for a late start on Christmas morning. Here's Theo: 

And here's the Christmas morning scene:
 The newspaper is for Santa's boot tracks, complete with fireplace ash. It was even a bit of a white Christmas too!

Sophia was so overwhelmed she could barely comprehend what was going on. I have a video of the whole thing, but sadly, way too big for the site.

Finally, present opening commenced.
We opened, ate a brunch and stayed in our jammies for the rest of the day. Not a bad start for a tradition-ful day at all.

Merry Christmas!! Can't wait to build on the traditions each year.

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