Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Night of Nights...

Chicken cordon bleu over rice drizzled with a cream-of-chicken sauce, peas, salad, festive drinks....

After dinner it was time for the nativity. This year Connor produced a full show--including narration (by me) interspersed with Christmas hymns and carols. Connor played the piano and the rest of us made up the not-so-heavenly-but-certainly-trying-our-best choir. Emily was our official angel proclaiming peace and glad tidings to all. Jason was our Joseph, Natalie our Mary. One of Emily's stuffed-toy dogs swaddled in a blanket was our baby Jesus. Connor and Ryan were our two kings. Tanner had been banished to his room for a while so the angel's proclamation of "peace" might come true (Hey, he needed a little nap anyway....)

I even dusted off my guitar and brushed up on a 3/4 pick. Away in a Manger has certainly sounded better.

Jason left his drumset in the basement, shook some rust off his bygone piano-playing days and favored us with a piece. Natalie read a poem. Emily sang a solo.

The nativity complete, Connor then presented me with a special gift--an illustrated children's book by author Mauri Kunnas called Twelve Gifts for Santa Claus. This was an especially thoughtful gift because I had bought another Mauri Kunnas book, Santa Claus, exactly twenty years ago in Finland. Reading Santa Claus to the kids has become somewhat of a White family tradition--and finding a copy of the Twelve Gifts for Santa Claus was a feat that Connor pulled off using ingenuity, Google, and Ebay--all the while dodging book collectors who were willing to pay nearly a hundred bucks for it.

How could I resist reading it to them all?

Not long after that the jingle of sleigh bells and a hearty "ho, ho, ho" came from the porch...and in walked St. Nick. Little Tanner (recently freed from his bed) immediately rushed up for a hug--then decided that Santa might be a tad scary. Ryan had learned from his many past Christmases (three), that Santa was a great hugger and went at it with gusto.

There have been years when Santa was kind of quiet...but this wasn't one of them. Santa remarked that it looked like we already had "plenty of presents" under the tree--and perhaps he'd just take the ones he had in his bag back to the North Pole. Ryan was so giddy he didn't quite understand the implications and quickly agreed that we already had "plenty."

Other jokes followed--including Santa saying that, "As long as you never move from this house I'll always be able to find you...." Somehow we think that Santa may have heard that we've been talking to real estate agents....

After Santa left we began opening presents...and that's when the chaos truly began. Lots of fun and thoughtful gifts were given but nothing topped Lori's gift of a handmade blanket to each of us.

"Every time you snuggle in these blankets, just think of my arms around you...."

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