Getting into the “mood” for Christmas was a bit challenging this year. Sunshine and warm temps. No snow. No Civic Theater performance with Grandpa and Grandma A. No Christmas tree or nativity figures. No extended family Christmas parties.
Because this was our first Christmas “away from home,” I knew we needed to be purposeful in keeping the traditions we could and adding new activities to the schedule.
Although our RV isn’t big enough for a Christmas tree, we did trim the Nature Center’s tree (after putting it up and untangling and testing the Christmas lights). We also bought white Christmas lights and put them up in our RV. We kept the Christmas music playing throughout the days of December.
We attended two holiday concerts. The first was put on by our local friends (Kevin and Allison) and their performance troupes. The first act was a singing and dancing performance that both friends were in. The second act was a student-written play entitled “Holly the Gila Monster and the Lost Reindeer” (Allison was the Reindeer). The final act was an improv troupe (Kevin was in this one). It was a fun night.
The second concert we attended was The Brian Setzer Orchestra‘s Christmas performance. The concert in the round was held at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. It was a very enjoyable evening, from the opening act (Totsy) through the two encores.
Early in December we attended a “Usery Mountain Regional Park family” Christmas party. Nothing says “party” like a potluck. The kids prepared our contributions: Miranda made pistachio salad (thanks for the recipe, Grandma A) and Harrison made his park-famous fudge. We also participated in Secret Santa. Can’t wait to use our gift card at the movie theater.
On the Sunday before Christmas, we went to Target and did our Christmas gift shopping for each other. It took 7 trips through the registers, but we managed to each buy a gift for the other three family members without being “caught” by the others. ;) We enjoyed keeping our tradition of exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve morning.
Our “meal/food” traditions were slightly adjusted this year. We did make cream cheese cookies and attempted to make golf balls (unfortunately we burnt the chocolate coating, so they were only “ping pong balls” this year) to share with friends. Our Christmas Eve lunch has traditionally been Chinese (mostly Chinese buffet). This year, Miranda requested that we keep the buffet aspect, but go to Golden Corral, instead. We did keep the tradition of Christmas Eve breakfast donuts (although the long johns that I selected did not have filling. I ask you, how can it be called a long john donut if it has no filling?). On Christmas day, we joined the other hosts for brunch (mimosas and yummy baked goods) and had one of the hosts over for a dinner of grilled steak, “bob casserole” and garlic potatoes. Yes, we ate well this holiday season. ;)
On Christmas Eve we attended a local church’s service. This has been our family tradition since the kids were born and we all looked forward to it. We missed Manna this year.
A tradition we were unable to keep this year was traveling over the river and through the woods.to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Instead we drove over the mountain and through the desert to Saguaro Lake. It wasn’t the same, but it was a beautiful drive, nonetheless.
We did miss spending time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins this holiday season (this was the kids’ first Christmas away from extended family and only my second). But, we did enjoy the Christmas holiday as it was.
Now to take down the (Nature Center) Christmas tree (and Mike thought he’d left that tradition behind when we sold the house) and get back to work.