3 Christmases

I'm beginning to feel that I am one of the lucky few who rarely have to split holidays and special occasions between some combination of extended family, divorced parents, remarried parents, in-laws, and friends who think they are your family. Porter's family is exceptionally small and thus far Trish has been happy to join in whatever chaos the Knudsons are stirring up, or host son, daughter-in-law (that's us) and a big chunk of my family from time-to-time as well.

This Christmas, my local fam was travelling to the far-away fam so we ended up splitting Christmas into three segments

1. Local Knudson

Because we can NOT be without a theme, and 5 days early is just too soon to reenact the Nativity, and since the Lunar calendar delightfully obliged us with overlapping multi-faith holidays, we opted for a Hanukkah dinner and dreidel-off. Brisket, challah bread, latkes, kugel (listed in order of familiarity)- it was as Jewish a dinner as we could get without setting a seat for Elijah (which we almost did last minute until someone remembered that was for Passover and Elijah's not invited to Hanukkah dinner).

Rees and Lucy and Rob loved the dreidel, but Porter easily had the best spin.

My favorite part of the evening, at least leading up to it, was that Porter picked out presents for Brian and Heather and was super excited about it because he did a great job. Porter isn't usually as crazy about the gift selection process as I am in general. Here's to hoping the high of finding the perfect gift at the right price becomes as addicting to him as it is to me.

Don't be deceived. This store is literally the worst.
2. Brattens in Boston

Went for snow. Got sunshine. Glad for it. I don't handle cold well.

I'll blog about the trip as a whole, but Christmassy to-do's included:
  • Getting episcopunked into a two and a half hour Christmas Eve Service. We were planning to attend midnight mass anyway, and the service was, indeed, uplifting and heartwearming and full of a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar hymns (as well as several familiar hymns with extra verses I've never heard before. More investigation into suspiciously missing verses needed.), but we braved the only bit of adverse weather we had all week to go to a Bach Cantata in a historic church. 
  • BLINK! A Light and Sound Extravaganza! at Faneuil Hall (and surrounding shopping center). Basically it was an enormous tree and all the normal size trees around blinking in time to the Boston Pops rendition of the Hallelujah chorus. An impressive feat of timing and electricity, to be sure. I'm happy with the twinkle lights on their own, no percussion needed.
  • The Knudson family's most successful Christmas day Skype session to date. That's not saying a lot, we've failed miserably most other attempts. This round we all got connected, but haven't quite yet Google Hangout's multi-video chat kinks
  • Gifts around the lamp. Nothing huge (one of my gifts for Porter consisted of a screenshot on my phone of something I'd purchased, wrapped as a gift), but what's Christmas morning without a little unwrapping? We made a little lamp and everything. It was surprisingly satisfying.
    Skyping at its best
    Surreptitious selfie at the Christmas service
Surreptitious priest photo at the Christmas Service
Cool old church

3. Leftovers
Does calling it leftovers make it sound less important? It isn't meant to. It gave us an excuse to leave up the Christmas tree with gift boxes around it until New Years' Day, which I am all for. (Thanks to my mom I will always sing the song I Cry The Day That I Take My Tree Down at the end of Christmas. Not in a nostalgic way, rather mostly reminiscing about how out of place the song is on an otherwise very religious Christmas CD. And how incredibly overwrought the song is [seriously, this YouTube slideshow captures it all].

New Years Day morning we'll be opening gifts from the rest of the extended family that doesn't live here, as well as some more local Brattens. Then we'll eat brunch and cry, since it will be the day we take the tree down, and I want the season to last all year rooooooound!
Dressing the tree
Fully dressed in all its splendor

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