Honestly, it gives me some joy to say “our last” here because we love and miss our family so much! You know how wonderful it is to be with all your loved ones for the holidays. We sent heaps of emails and spent hours video chatting with our family on Christmas Day, but it still isn’t the same as sitting around the dinner table or going to the candlelight service or enjoying Christmas morning together.
Therefore, in answer to my family’s requests that they see as much of our Christmas as I can, I took photos all day long! I know they’re going to love seeing them here. Elliott and I knew our children were getting gifts from their grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles, so we chose to keep things very simple and just gave them each a Sicilian Christmas ornament. We also spent our Christmas cooking, reading by the fire, and going on a wonderful hike into the valley below our house.
Here are a few photos from our Christmas!
Elliott has been tending fires in our fireplace almost every day that he’s home this winter. He often banks the fire at night and coaxes the still-warm coals to life in the morning. I totally love this about him.
Gil’s up and the fire’s lit, so Lena is choosing the first present to open!
Love how Gil is admiring Lena’s new-found destructive tendencies here. “Get it, sista.”
Reading the letters on the package before opening it up.
New books from Marmee and Grampa! My favorite is Extra Yarn, a beautifully illustrated picture book about a girl who knits and knits… so you know the knitter in me just loves it!
Speaking of knitting, this was my favorite present: a set of interchangeable knitting needles that I’ve been dreaming about for a year. Elliott and the kids, meanwhile, enjoy his new bath pillow. This man and his baths!
Thank you, GG and Great-Grampie!
The members of the nativity quake in their sandals once again…
Lena’s new lacing cards from Auntie Eden and Uncle Charlie were an immediate hit. I love to see her being crafty…
… so we’ll work on technique later!
He melts my heart about 492 times a day.
OK, 493 times a day!
While Gil napped, Lena and I made cinnamon rolls. I used Elliott’s mom’s recipe at his request, and thankfully they turned out fairly similar to the Christmas morning breakfast he grew up loving. As of 3pm on Dec 26th, all 25 rolls have been eaten, so I guess he liked them!
Taking a break to read some of our new books by the fireplace. While they read, I was enjoying this cookbook… just as delicious as it looks.
When Gil woke up from his morning nap, we took a walk into town, where we found our town’s nativity scene. Maybe it was made by local school children? The sign says, “Christ is born for us. Come, let us adore.”
We hiked down into the valley and came across our farmer friend’s dogs. They’re all so sweet… and there are so many of them…
Our children and our Sicilian town on Christmas Day.
We returned home to video chat with family (which was unfortunately right after the kids’ naps and they cried the whole time… sigh) and open a few more more presents. Gil eats wrapping paper as Lena plays her current favorite game while wearing my new Weekender bag like a “packpack”: “So… I’m gonna go to fool [school]. I gotta catch da bus. Oh no… da pigeon is driving da bus!!!”
She completely fell in love with this learning game from Auntie Em while I made our Christmas dinner.
And our Christmas dinner was the infamous lamb, of course. Elliott declared it “a triumph, my dear”… whew! I had a harder time eating the lamb that I’d expected. There were not very many steps in between seeing that lamb hanging in the butcher shop and eating it myself!
We burned slim beeswax candles that we bought three Christmases ago in Jerusalem; we met there for our first married Christmas when Elliott was on a yearlong solo assignment in Egypt. So much to be thankful for this Christmas, including the fact that we are together, even if our extended family is far away.
After the kids were in bed, Elliott and I spent awhile reading the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke and praying by the fire. I have been thinking a great deal this Advent season about how Jesus became poor, humbling himself to a fragile human embryo, a messy birth process, a cold and rustic world. For us these days, Christmas is all about comfort — family, gifts, food, firelight — but there was very little comfort that first Christmas. I am so grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made so that we have both immediate and eternal comfort to enjoy.
What are you most grateful for this Christmas?