Christmas Eve…a night filled with the magic of possibilities!
Nowhere is the magic more pronounced than the Christmas magic found at the Homestead on Christmas Eve.
Toby had the day off work so we packed up the car with sleeping bags and pillows, Christmas pajamas, bags of stocking stuffers, wrapped presents, and some very excited children, and headed out to Ohio.
We arrived and were greeted by the enthusiastic barking of Ranger and Rosie, the resident German Shepherds. After long-overdue hugs with Travis and Krista, our family from the Lone Star state, and Christmas greetings with Mimi and Pop Pop, we bid them good-bye as they left for early Christmas Eve mass.
While they were gone we began preparations for our Christmas Eve feast of appetizers and dips. The spread was as abundant as it was varied.
Everyone pitched in to help,
With breaks taken for sampling and checking out the action on Santa Tracker.
Despite knowing the truth about Christmas, Ozzie, my map loving kiddo, still loves watching Santa’s progress across the world on Christmas Eve.
When the rest of the family arrived home, the celebration began in full force.
We had Grace and Zach with us on Christmas Eve for a few hours, before they left for home to spend Christmas Day with Zach’s side of the family.
It was a joy to have them with us for our Christmas Eve traditions!
Our evening of fun began with our evening feast.
We enjoyed filling our bellies with delicious food while feeding our souls with family time as we chatted and laughed together.
After dinner it was time for games and our annual white elephant gift exchange. This is a tradition that began a decade ago and always leads to many laughs.
This is a tradition I have responsibility over, which means each year I shop for inexpensive, but ridiculous gifts, that I wrap up to look far more appealing than the gift within actually is. Dollar Tree is my usual shopping spot as it offers the weird and the unusual for as cheap as can be. After 10 years of my annual shopping trips to Dollar Tree I found I had exhausted all the possibilities for our white elephant game.
It was time to up the stakes!
Five Below, here I come!
The result of a slightly increased game budget and a new shopping venue paid dividends.
Everyone battled for gifts they were certain held treasures.
Once everyone had a gift in hand, we all took turns unwrapping and revealing our AWESOME wins!
And boy were they belly-laugh inducing!!
After our game we bundled up and headed to the barn for another Christmas Eve tradition…
Dad reading the Christmas story from Luke as we sat in the stillness of the barn.
It is always the highlight of my Christmas. There is something holy about the experience as we sit in the darkness of the barn, listening to the slow cadence of my father’s voice as he tells the story of Christ’s humble birth so many years ago…
Interrupted only by the occasional call from a goat.
Our time in the barn ended with the singing of a Christmas hymn and some donkey lovin’ on Georgie before we made our way back to the house.
Grace and Zack prepared to take their leave. They had a 2 1/2 hour drive ahead of them, made all the more arduous by the thick fog that had settled on the valley…
And the other kids unwrapped their gifts of new pajamas for Christmas Eve.
Warm and snuggly, they headed off for bed while the rest of us brought Christmas to life by filling the empty spaces around the tree with beautifully wrapped packages,
And filled the stockings with trinkets and treats.
Christmas could now arrive!
And then it was off to bed for a few stolen winks of sleep for the adults before the festive fun resumed.