We had our tree and decorations up early this year. I thought this might spur the holiday spirit but it didn't do much really.
I did my shopping relatively late but managed to buy most of the Wife's gifts a week or so before Christmas. I usually start at the beginning of November but this year it wasn't until the beginning of December. I bought a Miracle Icon bracelet fro the Wife. When I went to the store, the artist was there hosting a special event. She saw me walking in with a print out of the bracelet and jumped up and walked over to me. She said when a man comes in holding a piece of paper, I know he needs my help (I think I may have been the only man there). She helped me pick out the bracelet, restrung it because "that bead isn't very pretty," and helped me find the appropriate medal from the heap she had in four untidy boxes. It was very nice and all, I just wish the Wife could've been there. She would have liked to meet the artist.
Things finally turned around when the Parents-in-Law arrived on Christmas eve. We opened our stockings and things started to feel more festive despite the crappy allergy attack that kept me up most of Christmas Eve night sniffling and snorting and wheezing for breath.
On Christmas Day the Wife's brother TE and family showed up. At the Wife's request I'd connected my laptop up to the big screen and ran a slide show of all my Flickr pictures. I have so many pictures (3,804 and increasing) that it took almost four hours to go through them all. For ambiance, I connected the 'puter to the stereo and played Christmas music. I received compliments on my picture taking which always makes me feel good. The pictures and the music set the atmosphere for a relaxing Christmas dinner that, despite the abundance of cooks in the kitchen, turned out pretty good. My Sugar Cookies seemed to have been a hit.
TE and family went home and the Wife and I took the Parents-In-Law down to see the million lights decorating Omaha'a old market area. It's pretty amazing down there.
All in all a pretty good Christmas. The visiting family lifted my spirits and I felt the holiday spirit more with them there. The house, now that every one has left, is quiet once more.
Now for the loot. I must have been good because I received some cool stuff:
- Snowshoes. Unfortunately it's 58°F (!!) outside as I type this and I expect most of the snow to be gone in a day or two. I'm sure there will be more soon.
- Camera Tripod. Now my night/low light shots won't be all wobbly.
- Light weight Backpack. I wanted this for my 2010 Spain Pilgrimage. I want to start training this spring on the Steamboat and Cowboy trails. The pack is versatile and very light - 2 lbs 7 oz.
- Balaclava. Now I can ride the bike in colder weather and, if the stock market really takes a dive, I can fashionably rob banks.
- Borders Gift Card. I transformed this into four books - reviews to follow sometime in the coming year. Thanks Mom!
- Amazon Gift Card. I will transform this one into music. I haven't chosen which music yet.
- Scheels Gift Card. Closest thing to an REI in these parts. I think some of it will go into some good walking shoes. I think they would be better for long distance hiking than boots, especially since the trail won't be that rugged.
- Pastry Wheel. I was looking for one of these when I made lasagna. Couldn't find one. The Matron of Honor comes through once again. Now I can make fancy ravioli. Thanks MoH!
- Twizzlers. A traditional gift from the Mom. Wouldn't be Christmas without them. Thanks Mom! (Yep, they are open but I haven't finished them yet.)
- A generous donation to the Wife's and my fun money from the Parents-In-Law. We will be sure to use it for fun stuff.