On Saturday, the 17th, we started the day with Mia's Christmas Dance recital:
It really put us in the Christmas spirit!
And then we went back to the house to celebrate 'Jansson Christmas' (I don't know why we call it 'Jansson Christmas' because a lot of my side of the family attends too!)
It was LOTS of family! LOTS of food! LOTS of fun!
And we had our 'Secret Santa' gift-exchange (on Thanksgiving we all pick one name out of a hat and we buy only for that one person):
I had Jackie this year and I bought her some maternity clothes and also because she kept complimenting the necklace I wore to Eóghan's Christening I got one just like it for her. I love 'Secret Santa' because we get to concentrate on just one person. And Jackie is a very sweet person to be able to concentrate on, and she's so easy to shop for! (We have much the same taste in many areas.)
She sent me a picture of herself wearing the dress I got for her:
And Diane had me for Secret Santa and I LOVED what she got for me! She gave me a beautiful little icon of St. Anne and St. Joachim (they are the Patron Saints of grandparents), and she got me a book by Diane Keaton (Then Again), and she gave me a CD by Alfie Boe (Bring Him Home), and best of all, she gave me a walk down memory lane when she gave me a game that I loved when we were little ~ "Mystery Date" (and Jayden was very anxious to play it, and so was Ray's sister Susie, she said she always wanted one but never got it ~ I guess I know what I'll be buying her if I ever get her in Secret Santa)!
I think everyone was happy with their 'Secret Santas' ~ I know I was!
And the next day we went to the Family Mass at church and then a few of us went out to brunch at our favorite restaurant:
(Jayden & Mia were having fun taking pictures of each other!)
Then on Christmas Day we celebrated with a much smaller crowd, with just salads and sandwiches for lunch, but it was a wonderful celebration too. And we sang 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus. And, my sister Marybeth gave me 'the Chinese people'! Each year one of us girls gets to keep them for a year before we pass them on to the next sister as a Christmas gift. "The Chinese People" (which I actually think are Japanese as they were made in Japan, but we always called them the Chinese people) were one of the first knick-knacks we remember my Mom having. I love every little detail about them, I love their poses and their sweet expressions, almost as if they are reflective and wise, and mostly I love that they are a beautiful reminder of family, and love, and childhood:
And then on New Year's Day we had another Christmas celebration! Since we weren't able to celebrate with Erik, Lori, Mia, & Sophie on Christmas due to illness, we kept their gifts under the tree until we could all be together:
All three celebrations were lots of fun! And I'm happy to report that everyone is well on the road to recovery!