Our holiday was quiet, which I think is the best time. Others might take issue with that, prefering hoopla and craziness in an effort to get enough holiday spirit in to last till next year. And I think Christmas should be celebrated like Jewish holidays - starting at sundown the day before. At least that's how it feels to me. My mom's entire family is Polish, and in Poland, Christmas Eve is almost the bigger holiday. We grew up having Polish food on Christmas Eve, which is a tradition I want to keep up with Natalie and whomever may come after her. It's also a good excuse to make pierogi, which I only ever eat if they are homemade, because I have yet to find store bought ones that compare to my family's recipe. So we had pierogi and gawumpki (stuffed cabbage) after Christmas Eve service at church, which was great. It was geared for families and was in the upper room instead of the sanctuary, so there was some space to move, comfy chairs instead of pews, they had bells and maracas and tambourines for the kids to play along with the carols, as well as families doing some Christmas readings and making a living nativity. And instead of ending the service with candlight while singing Silent Night like just about every single other Christmas Eve service I've ever been to anywhere, we sand it with glow sticks. GLOW STICKS. IN CHURCH. It was awesome.
After chuch was the Polish food fest, and it was good. Then Natalie got to open one present, her Olivia Helps with Christmas book and the Olivia pajamas I made her. Big hit. In the morning, we took our time getting up, opened presents, took a break to have french toast on home made honey whole wheat bread, opened more presents (I say "we" opened presents, it was really just Natalie), played in our jammies till after lunch time, then crashed. Natalie didn't want to nap, but I did, so she was forced against her will to have rest time in her room. Horrible, aren't I? I guess it wasn't so terrible because all was quiet from her end of the house in less than 20 minutes, and when I went in a little later to check on her, I couldn't get in the door. She had stopped mid-protestation to play with her blocks that are next to the door, and had laid herself down on the floor, with a blanket, and fallen asleep. When I got down on the floor and tried to reach around and move her out of the way so I could at least squeeze in and put her in her bed, she said "No, mamma, I sleeping here," pulled her blanket up and rolled over and was out again.
We ended our Christmas with more food followed by a walk around the block to look at lights. Ran into a neighbor who ducked into his house to get a gift for me (me!)...we had made cookies and banana bread for a bunch of neighbors and Bob is diabetic (must remember that for next year) so he gave them to his main squeeze as he called his girlfriend (he's in his late 60's). She loved them and gave him a pretty scarf to give me. Fun! And other neighbors left a little gift card to the toy store in our mailbox from Natalie. These are the somewhat new-ish neighbors who came from Long Island and are the types of people who give New Yorkers a bad name. They're just kind of cold, but maybe that is them being nice. Obviously they liked our cookies and Natalie is psyched to have her own "credit card" to go shopping with. And tomorrow we go to our other neighbor's house, the ones we love and do lots together with, for a Hannukah party. Can't wait for that one - latkes galore! All in all, it was a nice holiday, leaving me feeling calm, a little warm and fuzzy, and ready to take on the world. But not till next week.