Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Eve, Part One

Perhaps you remember me mentioning that we are a Norwegian family?  Maybe once or twice?  Being of Norwegian heritage doesn't really mean that much on a day-to-day basis.  We don't celebrate Norwegian Independence Day (well, Elsie might, but she lives in a heavily-Norwegian-American-populated area and it might be required) or St. Olaf's Day.  I may know the names of the entire Norwegian Royal Family including my favorite, Crown Princess Mette-Merit, but I also know the names of most European royalty and I could probably pick most of them out of a line-up.  It's a strange hobby, but it's one of mine.  I always root for the Norwegian soccer team during the World Cup and my favorite place to visit at Epcot is Norway.  I know a few odd Norwegian words (butter, rocking (as in a chair), chubby girl) and I know a Norwegian dinner prayer, but other than that, the language is as mysterious to me as Russian or Chinese.  The only time Norway really enters my thoughts at all is at Christmas time.  Because, frankly, Norwegians do Christmas PERFECTLY.

Perfectly.

Norwegians celebrate Christmas Eve, so our family does too.  We get dressed for dinner and we eat wonderful cookies and desserts and we open presents.  When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was the first of three present-opening opportunities at Christmas time, but for our children who celebrate Home Christmas, it's their second. 

This year, we flew south to Southern Sister's House, arriving the night before Christmas Eve.  Everyone else was already there:  Southern Sister and Southern Brother in Law, the two Southern Cousins, my parents (Granny & Grandfather), Elsie and Elizabeth.  While others prepared meals and readied the table for dinner, Granny, Elizabeth and I took the girls to get manicures.


Avery got a beautiful red / gold sparkle combo.


Josie picked red with white polka dots and gold glitter on top.


Georgia did a traditional Christmas Blue and Green.  Wait - what?


Lily did not pose for a manicure photograph.  She has no interest being on this blog, thank you very much.  She did, however, allow Granny to take a photo of her finished nails.  They were very beautiful.  So was she, although you'll never know it.

After the manies, we went home to take showers and get ready for the big night.  Josie and Georgia were done first.  This year, Georgia picked the Christmas dresses that she and Josie wore.  Last year, Josie and I bought the dresses while Georgia was at school and while she LIKED the dress, she let it be known that she wanted a choice in all future Christmas dress decisions.  I think she chose a beautiful dress.  It was a red taffeta dress with a white organza overlay.  The girls will wear just the red dresses for the Father Daughter Dance in February.  They will, that is, if I remember to sign them up (note to self!).



Here are the girls, waiting patiently for the rest of us to get dressed already.


Here is a picture of our precious children, posing sweetly for the camera.  I deny ever threatening to take away their presents if they didn't smile and behave themselves. 


Sisters Elliot. 
(all my fellow Persuasion fans will have to wonder which is the sister who doesn't like to partake of a long walk)


The lone boy.


In three years, he will be taller than me.  Especially if I remove those three-inch heels I was wearing. 

Let us take a moment and think of one family member who did not join us this Christmas at Southern Sister's house.


Here is Elizabeth and sweet Tulip last year.

And here is Elizabeth and the memory of Tulip this year:


We were able to giggle, but it was sad nonetheless.  Tulip lived a long and dignified life as Queen Mum of New Hampshire and later of Philadelphia.  She was 17 when she died and that is testament to Elizabeth's love and care and Tulip's all-around stubbornness and refusal to join her cousin Nancy (our pug) for a game of Kong in Heaven. 


Josie really got into the whole dress-pull posing thing.


Here I am with the girls.  I am not pinching Josie in this picture, even though it looks like I am.


Avery was the first of Southern Sister's family to be ready and since she has never objected to appearing in this blog, I am including her photo as well. 


Christmas Auntie. 


At last it was time for group shots which means that dinner is almost here!



Granny & Grandfather by the tree.


The Sisters Grim.
Martha, Meredith & Elizabeth, in height rather than age order.  And for those of you who know how short I am, it's the heels again -- my sisters aren't actually shrinking.


Henry getting jazzy.


The Grandchildren.  (don't tell Lily!)
Josie (5), Georgia (8), Henry (10), Avery (12) and Lily (14)



Southern Sister and Southern Brother in Law


The Southerns


The entire clan (sadly, minus Elsie who was taking the picture).

It was finally time to eat, but you will have to wait another day to see those photos.  There are three children standing behind me whining about lunch.  sigh.

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