Friday, December 27, 2013

A Wonderful Christmastime

After careful consideration, I believe that Christmas 2013 was made up of: 1 part quiet meditation, 2 parts peaceful wonder, 4 parts snow, 6 parts sugar, 37 parts Nerf gun darts, 1 part zombie gnome.

Yep, that about covers it.
As usual, the present-opening melee was preceded by a "traditional" (for us) reading of the Christmas Story as acted out with the nativity set Gramma and Poppop made us many years ago.  It was all going reasonably well and none of our precious nativity folks had lost their heads (literally - fortunately, they're easily mended) up until Sam got to the story of the Wise Men and we needed a King Herod for the Wise Men to consult with. 

Our nativity set is sadly bereft of a King Herod, so WanYing's new panda bear from her stocking (purchased by Grammy at the Portland Japanese Garden) gamely stepped into the role.

That's where it got ugly.

Once WanYing figured out that King Herod wasn't a good guy, she erupted into tears over her poor panda being forced into a role so far beneath his sweet character.

So then Daddy and Mommy launched into a long and involved explanation about how actors sometimes play bad guys but that doesn't mean they're really bad, they're just acting.  The message was somewhat diluted by Ben chanting, "King Harold is killing Baby Jesus" (he gets confused between King Herod and Hark the Herald - it's complicated).


After all of that excitement, we were ready to start opening presents, if only to distract Ben from his taunting and WanYing from Panda's misery.

Ben is participating on the Sundance Ski Team this year and is always cold (he's his mother's child), so this year his gifts all incorporated a snuggly warm theme: electric heaters for his ski boots, an electric blanket for his bed (which he has been repeatedly warned about lest it catch fire and turn into a Tragic Tuesday post), and this beauty to keep his face nice and toasty.  I think you'll agree that it's a bold look.

Sam is saving up for his own Lego Mindstorm EV3 and got mostly gift cards for Christmas.  Very much appreciated.  Not the most interesing for photographing.

WanYing's gifts followed a strong Minnie Mouse theme.  She outgrew her former Minnie Mouse outfit and so, in keeping with her unique style, on Christmas she wore a short sleeve collared shirt over a turtleneck, pink pants, Christmas necklace, new Minnie Mouse outfit, and then capped it all off with every ribbon she could find.  It was very, very fancy.

Every kid also received a new Nerf Gun this year because, as Steve explained to me, the four million Nerf Guns we already own are clearly insufficient for our family's needs.  Plus they were on sale for a really good price at Target, so if he didn't purchase them it would be like he was throwing money away.  It's hard to argue with that logic.

Oh, and of course these Nerf Guns use different darts than our current Nerf Guns, so we had to buy ten million new darts in order for everybody to have sufficient ammunition since my children and husband are incapable of picking up the freaking darts they just shot to refill their guns and instead must have six extra clips in every pocket.  Don't worry, I'm informed that the Nerf ammunition was also on sale for unbelievably low prices.

Never you fear, seeing the look of unadulterated joy on my six-year-old daughter's face as she opened her very own Nerf Crossbow, well, that made it all worthwhile.

She is terrifyingly accurate with that thing.  I credit the Kaz blood.
And, see, I told you our Christmas had one part zombie gnome!

As has become our tradition, we opened gifts on Christmas Eve and saved Christmas day for some less hectic skiing and family time.  It's a tradition I love.  We still get the boisterous fun of opening presents, and on Christmas day itself we get to focus a little more on being together.

This year Sam had an awesome idea - he decided we should give out presents to everybody at Sundance who was working on Christmas Day.  Fabulous!

Sam's idea was to give everybody $20 bills.  We thought that was a lovely idea if he was going to fund it.  He quickly changed his mind and opted for a gift we could all get behind - candy bars.

It was so much fun seeing my kids hike up to lift shacks and run up to cashiers delighted to share some love and gratitude (and chocolate) with them.  And everybody was so sweetly appreciative of our little gift. It made an already fantastic day even cooler.

And before we knew it, the sun had set, the lifts had closed, and it was time to get our tired, happy legs home for a big Christmas dinner and another Morningstar Christmas tradition - family tie dye shirts! This year's were based on our love for the Muppets as distilled through the Which Muppet are You quiz.

Not to brag or anything, but our shirts totally rocked this year.

It was the perfect Christmas mix for us.  Maybe next year we'll get a 1/2 part more of quiet meditation and peaceful wonder.  But I'm not holding my breath.

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