Before I get started, I want you all to know that I just looked up "crunk" on urbandictionary.com to make sure it doesn't mean something filthy, offensive, or is in any way a swear. I've heard it lots before, but it never hurts to be careful, right? Turns out it's a mixture of the words crazy and drunk. While our Christmas was only one of those things, "Christmas Off the Crunk" sounds better than "Christmas Off the Crazy."
Now, to business: Christmas. What a great holiday. I love that it's one that you can celebrate for a whole month. We've been celebrating since the Saturday before Thanksgiving, when we got our tree. Before you judge me for putting up my tree before Thanksgiving, let me explain. First of all, Thanksgiving was later than normal this year. It wasn't until the 27th--last year it was on the 22nd! So technically we put up our tree at just the right time. Secondly, Lewis and I made a promise that this would be the only year we would put up our tree early. It was just a novelty this year; doesn't everyone want to use new things as soon as you get them? That's why I'm wearing the sweater I got for Christmas right now, and why we had waffles for breakfast yesterday. It's just how it works. From here on out, though, the tree goes up on Black Friday, no exceptions.
But seriously... look at that tree and tell me it wasn't worth it to put it up a tad bit early. It's beautiful!
So the tree went up early, the world did not end, and the season of Christmas began. Beyond my need to continually rationalize putting the tree up early, this post is not really about the season, but about the holiday specifically. That picture of the tree was taken on Christmas day, so it's alright.
A few weeks ago, the MTC called Lewis and asked if he would translate for their Christmas devotional. Since he needed to be there at 9:45 to do that, we made sure to get up early enough to do that. I've had trouble sleeping in anticipation of Christmas since I was a little kid, and this year was no exception. It was not hard at all to wake up on time yesterday morning. We planned to have Rhode's Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast; we even had a test run on Sunday to make sure they were good enough to grace our kitchen table on that special day. Unfortunately, Macey's was out of the variety that come in a pan (which we had had before), and we figured the bagged selection worked the same way, so that's what we got. Turns out you have to let those ones rise for five hours, and then bake for another half an hour, putting breakfast at about 1 PM. Seeing as brunch can't even be justified at that hour, we canned the cinnamon rolls idea. Luckily, Lewis gave my a swank waffle iron for Christmas, and this crisis of the breakfast foods was the perfect opportunity to test it out.
Other gifts from Lewis include: a set of springform pans (I got that one early, so I could make a cheesecake for Christmas Eve), Rock Band (we bought that for each other), two new sweaters (one of which is 5% Angora rabbit hair [look out, PETA], both of which are very comfortable), and new tablespoons and measuring cups (the handles have broken off all of our old ones. That's what happens when they come with really cheap knives bought at Big Lots). My parents sent us food storage (desperately needed), a $100 gas card, and some papyrus from Egypt (I'm still jealous that you and Joseph got to go there, Mom).
After our aforementioned waffle breakfast, we bustled off to the MTC for Lewis to translate. Elder Holland was the speaker. Before his talk, he had a bunch of his grandkids sing "Away in a Manger" and "I Am a Child of God." I bet stuff like that just tickles grandparents. You could feel the love he has for all of them. I like Elder Holland a lot. He talked about Joseph, Mary's husband, and about what a great man he must have been. He kind of gets overlooked a lot when we think about men from the scriptures, but he must have been an incredible person. While not the actual father of Jesus, Joseph was given the responsibility of raising the Savior. Christ wasn't born knowing everything; he had to learn, so God must have ensured he had the best teachers possible in selecting Mary and Joseph. Elder Holland then talked about the many names of Christ. He challenged the missionaries to pick 12 of his names, and to study one of them a day for the next 12 days. This might not be a concept that translates so well into 0ther languages. There are over 200 names for Christ in English, and of the 12 Elder Holland picked for himself to study, at least three of them are the exact same word in Thai.
The MTC offered Christmas dinner to us, but we turned it down so we could get over the Lewis' parents' house sooner. Once everyone in the family had arrived, we opened all the presents. I thought all that was under the tree for Lewis and me was a couple of Wii games, since his mom gave us a new couch for our birthdays and Christmas, so I was very pleasantly surprised when we opened this:
My mother-in-law and my sister-in-law, Monica, put it together. I knew they had done something with the flowers from my wedding bouquet, and I just recently had wondered what had happened with that. I never imagined anything like this, though. It's an absolutely gorgeous keepsake to preserve the memories of that day. Thank you to both of them for making this for us. I love it.
Last year for Christmas, Lewis and his siblings got their dad the leg lamp from "A Christmas Story." They went all out, even building a crate and stenciling "Fragile" on to it. This year, they went with the same theme and got him the bunny pajamas from Aunt Clara. Please enjoy:
Once all the gifts under the tree has been opened, there was one last present for everyone to enjoy: brand new Nerf guns and darts. This was the second year running that Nerf guns were gifts for everyone, but I wasn't there last year, so basically it doesn't count. What followed was an epic battle. We had the works: suction cup darts, velcro darts, whistling darts. The velcro darts stuck particularly well to Guy's new cashmere sweater, and also Dallas' hat. It was a beautiful sight, sitting there among our Christmas wrappings, the air thick with flying orange tubes.
The rest of the day was spent playing Rock Band and enjoying each others' company, with a few more Nerf battles in the between times. The day ended with a Christmas miracle: the exact same song that was playing when we got to Lewis' parents' house was playing when we left.
I hope everyone else had as good a Christmas as we did. But I just don't know if it's possible.